10. PowerShell cmdlets
Whether you want to clean up a deployment where you have some extra VHDs and VMs lying around, provision VMs, set up cross-premises networks, or other production tasks, you’ll enjoy the Unix-like scripting power of PowerShell and the new PowerShell cmdlets. As of the November 2015 update of the Azure SDK 2.8 for Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015, the PowerShell script for deploying Azure Resource Manager templates now works with PowerShell cmdlets. Find scripting solutions already crafted for you in the PowerShell Gallery.
11. Service fabric
Riding the microservices revolution, Service Fabric is Azure’s platform for assembling cloud applications from a large collection of services. “Service fabric offers a platform that runs on Azure but also on-premises,” said Sanders. “This is a platform for deploying, managing and maintaining microservices. Discovery is handled for you, and it supports stateful and stateless microservices.”
The explosion of ways you can tinker with cloud resources, from remote desktops and SSH to portal shortcuts, has only just begun. According to Hanselman, the microservices revolution means there will soon be even more options to choose from.
“Simply stated, if I’ve got a tiny little 10MB PHP app sitting inside of a 5GB VHD, that’s a lot of VHD, a lot of virtual machine for a small Web application,” he said. “Does it really need that weight? That much security and isolation? It just needs to be in a container, and it needs to be deployable in a reliable way. Docker will provide that.”
“The excitement around Docker is very real. It makes it incredibly easy to deploy in ways that have never been possible,” said Sanders, who notes new integration of Docker support into Visual Studio and the Azure marketplace.
“My biggest tip and trick with Docker containers is just to deploy one. If you’ve never done anything with Docker, there’s a way to quickly deploy with a fully packaged VM and Docker in the Azure marketplace. No bringing down of the Docker engine, no pulling down the hub.”
13. Azure DevTest Labs
How do you avoid using up all your MSDN credit while testing on Azure? The preview of Azure DevTest Labs lets you spin up Windows and Linux environments to deploy and test applications while avoiding cost overruns.
“With Azure Dev/Test labs, the idea is that a lot of times developers have to wait for someone to spin up labs for them,” said Nebbia’s Garcia. “This allows you to spin up environments much quicker. You can choose for it to run a maximum eight hours, and after that it gets shut down. It’s a quick way to provision environments but avoid the problem of leaving it up and running. You can push a button and have whole sandbox.”
14. Application Insights
“Application Insights allows you to dig down and find the root cause of any application issues and understand how people are using the application,” said Garcia. “I’ve been using it for a year and half…as a Microsoft MVP.” For example, he uses it for availability testing from different geographic locations, either as a static test that checks a single page, or as a test of dynamic application flow.