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Microsoft's Next Serverless Computing Bid: Azure Event Grid

Microsoft on Wednesday launched a technical preview of a new service called Azure Event Grid, touting it as the next piece of its serverless computing platform.

Azure Event Grid is aimed at developers who are increasingly building event-based, responsive applications that require event routing and handling. It joins Microsoft's existing serverless offerings such as the Azure Functions compute engine and Azure Logic Apps, which provides serverless workflow orchestration.

The addition of Azure Event Grid addresses the growth of the responsive applications appearing on Web sites and mobile apps, as well as data streams generated from sensors, embedded systems and other IoT devices, according to Corey Sanders, director of Azure compute, who announced the new service in a blog post. The new service is Microsoft's latest bid to address a growing shift toward serverless computing that is allowing developers to build their applications without having to focus on infrastructure, provisioning or scaling.

Sanders said Azure Event Grid is a single service that manages the routing of programmed events from any source to any endpoint and with any application.

"Azure Event Grid completes the missing half of serverless applications. It simplifies event routing and event handling with unparalleled flexibility," he said in the blog.

"With Azure Event Grid, you can subscribe to any event that is happening across your Azure resources and react using serverless platforms like Functions or Logic Apps," he added. "In addition to having built-in publishing support for events with services like Blob Storage and Resource Groups, Event Grid provides flexibility and allows you to create your own custom events to publish directly to the service."

It also supports various Azure services with built-in handlers for events such as Functions, Logic Apps and Azure Automation, Sanders noted, adding it also provides flexibility in handling events, supporting custom Web hooks to publish events to any service, including third-party services outside of Azure.  

Azure Event Grid allows for direct event filtering, is designed to scale "massively" and eases the move toward ops automation with a common event management interface for addressing operational and security automation, including policy enforcement, enabled by Azure Automation's ability to respond to the creation of virtual machines or changes within the infrastructure.

In the current preview, Azure Event Grid can integrate with five event publishers (Blob Storage, Resource Groups, Azure Subscriptions, Event Hubs and Custom Topics), as well as and four event handlers (Azure Functions, Logic Apps, Azure Automation and WebHooks).

Additional event sources that Microsoft plans to add include Azure Active Directory, API Management, IoT Hub, Service Bus, Azure Data Lake Store, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Factory and Storage Queues.

Pricing for Azure Event Grid is usage-based and is detailed on Microsoft's pricing page. During the preview Microsoft is offering the first 100,000 operations at no charge, and the cost thereafter is $0.30 per million operations.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.