As of this writing, there are just over 3,000 products listed in the Marketplace, with some of them being Microsoft offerings, but many more being third-party offerings from companies from Cloudera to Barracuda.
As ISVs think about their own technology and how they can benefit from the scale and the self-service aspect of the Azure Marketplace, we will see more and more innovative implementations. For example, FileBridge’s data tiering technology has won over many customers with its ability to have multiple configurations easily selectable. In this way a customer can configure based on how many terabytes they expect to push up to Azure. To that end, there are options for 10-, 20- and 50-terabyte-capacity virtual machines.
Not everything Azure does is findable in the Azure Marketplace search. One of these is Orleans, which Wilder describes as “a really interesting additional PaaS model, which is actor-based, for low latency, highly reliable and scalable services.”
It is difficult to have a serious discussion about cloud systems without addressing DevOps.
DevOps is the comingling of tasks that used to be segregated between developers and network admins thanks to the unification driven by the cloud. It enables powerful automation and empowers those who do not shy away from it and rightly scares those who like the world the way it used to be. PowerShell is the language of DevOps in the Microsoft world, with tasks on Windows that used to be scriptable via VBScript now much better served by PowerShell. Learning how to use PowerShell is becoming a requirement rather than a nice-to-have for network admins as much as for developers.
Finomial’s Wilder pointed out that “the PowerShell tool set has matured over the years.” He went on to explain that “a couple of years ago, Azure added PowerShell cmdlets for management operations, and now we have Runbooks, which provides a hosted, highly available PowerShell scripting environment with built-in affordances to help make interacting with your Azure resources as simple as you could want.”
Virtually every task using a user interface documented by Microsoft is popping up with a PowerShell variant. When summing up Runbooks, Wilder said, “All of this is backed by auditing, a scheduler, credential management, and more. And, of course, Runbooks themselves can be managed with PowerShell.”
PowerShell is not the whole story of DevOps on Azure. There are also powerful tools built into the developer tools. Bustamante pointed out, “You can start really lean with your development process and DevOps story, and move at your own pace to a more automated process. This in particular helps small teams be productive quickly.“
She went on to relate the following story about how the publish and swap feature saved her from a big problem. “I was boarding a plane, had checked in and published a fix, but I forgot something,” she said.