5MinuteBI Azure Newsletter

Azure Data & AI Newsletter (May 2021)

This article is a summary newsletter covering some of the news, announcements, new resources, and things I find interesting published by Microsoft this month in the Azure Data & AI space. This month there are a number of Azure Dev Ops and Synapse integrations walkthroughs which have been a hot topic.


Cosmos DB

Sometimes the NoSQL side of the Azure data offerings gets left out of the discussions; Tim Sander, the Program Manager on the Azure Cosmos DB engineering team, has recently written several announcements on the Cosmos DB team blog. Azure Cosmos DB is a fully managed NoSQL database for modern app development.

New ways to use composite indexes in Azure Cosmos DB
Introducing the LIKE keyword in Azure Cosmos DB
Understanding how to query arrays in Azure Cosmos DB
Understanding the difference between null and undefined in Azure Cosmos DB
Understanding the difference between point reads and queries in Azure Cosmos DB
New date and time system functions in Azure Cosmos DB

Oracle on Azure

New solutions for Oracle WebLogic on Azure Virtual Machines – There was an announcement of a major release for Oracle WebLogic Server (WLS) on Azure Virtual Machines. The release is jointly developed with the WebLogic team as part of a broad-ranging partnership between Microsoft and Oracle.

Functions-as-a Service

Microsoft named a Leader in Forrester Wave: Function-as-a-Service Platforms – There are some use cases of serverless that need to be stateful—such as long-running workflows, human approved processes, and e-commerce shopping cart applications. Durable Functions, an extension to the Azure Functions runtime that brings stateful and orchestration capabilities to serverless functions. Durable Functions stands alone in the serverless space, providing stateful functions and a way to define serverless workflows programmatically.

Azure Migrations

Enable resilience and accelerate growth with your Azure migration – In response to the global health and macroeconomic crisis that began last year, customers have been accelerating their digital transformation efforts at an unprecedented pace to help bolster organizational resilience.

Azure AI New Capabilities

Apply AI to your most critical business needs with new Azure AI capabilities – Tens of thousands of customers, such as Pepsi, Amway, Airbus, BBC, and Progressive Insurance are using Azure AI to deliver immersive customer experiences, identify new business opportunities, and drive impact.
These features Include;

  • Train machine learning (ML) models on-premises and in multi-cloud environments with Azure Arc support for Azure Machine Learning. Build machine learning models anywhere with Azure Machine Learning.
  • Deliver cutting-edge search experience in your applications with the semantic search capability in Azure Cognitive Search. Deliver a highly relevant search experience with Azure Cognitive Search.
  • Extract information from invoices and identification documents with new capabilities and expanded language support in Form Recognizer. Extract information with new capabilities and expanded language support in Form Recognizer.

Harness the power of data with Azure Data and AI – For any organization to succeed in a world of unprecedented uncertainty, a new level of agility is required. This post gives a quick overview of the Data & AI positioning.

Tutorials, Quick Starts, Hands on Labs

Azure Synapse CI CD

Continuous integration and delivery for Azure Synapse workspaces have been a hot topic over the past few weeks. Continuous Integration (CI) is the process of automating the build and testing of code. The key is to do this each time a team member commits changes to version control. Continuous Deployment (CD) helps drive the build, test, configure, and deploy from multiple testing or staging environments to a production environment.

In an Azure Synapse Analytics workspace, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) moves all entities from one environment (development, test, production) to another. Using Azure DevOps, to control the release pipelines and automation. The following technical walkthroughs help getting a handle on and introduction to the process.

CI CD in Azure Synapse Analytics Part 1 Bradley Ball has written a series of posts in the Data Architecture Blog. An introductory series to using Azure Synapse Studio CI / CD integration. He goes quite deep and is a good detailed overview. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 – The Release Pipeline.

Some more resources on the topic;

Source control in Synapse Studio – Azure Synapse Analytics | Microsoft Docs – By default, Azure Synapse Studio authors directly against the Synapse service. For collaboration, Git for source control, Synapse Studio allows you to associate your workspace with a Git repository, Azure DevOps, or GitHub. This article will outline how to configure and work in a Synapse workspace with git repository enabled. And we also highlight some best practices and a troubleshooting guide.

Tutorial: Source Control Integration – Azure Synapse Analytics | Microsoft Docs – This tutorial outlines how to integrate your SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) database project with source control. Source control integration is the first step in building your continuous integration and deployment pipeline with the dedicated SQL pool resource in Azure Synapse Analytics.

Azure Purview Learning Path

Learning Path: Introduction to Azure Purview – With the announcement of Azure Purview, it is a great time to review some of the key features and provide a learning path made up of free online resources to help you get up to speed. This article will take you through an overview of Azure Purview by setting the stage focusing on Data Governance and providing links to the next steps.

Azure Purview – Microsoft Tech Community – Questions and discussions around Azure Purview.

GitHub Actions

Demo Video: Deploy packages with GitHub Actions – Learn how to create a smooth workflow that will publish new versions of packages directly from GitHub.


May 4 – Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Microsoft Business Applications Summit Learn from industry experts, explore Power Platform and Dynamics 365, connect with peers, and get a sneak peek at what’s to come. Digital event | Register now

MAY 5, 12, 19 – Webinar: Modernize, Grow, and Sell Your Application

Webinar: Modernize, Grow, and Sell Your Application Do you build commercial applications? Join this 3-part webinar series to learn how you can migrate to Azure, modernize your applications, and leverage programs and resources to accelerate growth and development with Microsoft. Register today. Webinar | Register now

May 25-27, 2021 – Microsoft Build

MyBuild – Your home for Microsoft Build– Learn. Connect. Code. Explore what’s next in tech and the future of hybrid work. Join us May 25-27, 2021 at Microsoft Build.


Announcements | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft Azure – Various announcements can be found in the Azure Blog and Updates feed. This covers a wide variety of topics and services in the Azure platform.

Azure_Synapse_Toolbox: Repository of queries that are helpful for managing your workload on an Azure SQL Data Warehouse instance. (github.com) – Repository of queries that are helpful for managing your workload on an Azure SQL Data Warehouse instance.

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