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Microsoft Releases Azure App Service on Linux

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the "general availability" of the Azure App Service on Linux, adding infrastructure support for Linux Web and mobile application developers.

Azure App Service on Linux is billed by Microsoft as providing a continuous integration-continuous development (CI/CD) capability for developers where Microsoft takes care of the underlying infrastructure for hosting applications. Developers can then scale up infrastructure support, or scale it down, for their applications, as needed. The service integrates with "GitHub, Docker Hub or Azure Container Registry." Application deployment is supported using Jenkins, Maven or Visual Studio Team Services.

A "Deployment Slots" feature of Azure App Service on Linux can be used to stage apps for testing or for deploying them into production. It also permits developers to go back to a previous application version "with zero downtime," according to Microsoft's announcement. In addition, it's possible to automate when applications get scaled up or down, such as based on access demand.

Azure App Service on Linux has built-in images for different platforms that can be used by developers, including support for "ASP.NET Core, Node.js, PHP and Ruby on Linux." Developers can also use "their own Docker-formatted container images supporting Java, Python, Go and more," the announcement noted.

Containers are a form of operating system virtualization. Developers typically might use containers to spin up apps without conflicts. Microsoft plans to talk about how that's done using the Azure App Service in an Oct. 4 Web presentation. The sign-up for the event is located here.

Web App for Containers
Web App for Containers is a new extension to the Azure App Service that permits developers to deploy containerized apps by pushing a "container image to Docker Hub, Azure Container Registry or your private registry." The Web App for Containers feature is based on Docker containers. Microsoft maintains the underlying infrastructure and delivers the "built-in runtime images" for developers, according to a second Microsoft announcement on Wednesday.

The Web App for Containers feature is designed for developers who want greater control over their containers' "packages, runtime framework and tooling," the announcement explained. In the near future, Microsoft plans to add support for other open source frameworks, such as Java and Python.

Azure IoT Device Provisioning
In other Azure news, Microsoft this week announced a preview of its Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service. It's now available in Azure regions "East US, West Europe, and Southeast Asia."

The service is designed to automate the provisioning of Internet of Things devices, avoiding the tedium of having to manually process them. With the Internet of Things, organizations may be tasked with putting "connection credentials on each of millions of devices," Microsoft's announcement explained.

The service offers a "zero-touch" process. The provisioning information added to devices can be modified later "without having to unbox and re-flash the device," Microsoft claimed.

The devices optimally need to have hardware security modules in place to store security keys. However, the provisioning service can still be used with devices lacking them. A Windows TPM [trusted platform module] simulator can be used instead, according to an Azure document.

In general, the Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service is conceived as simplifying the lifecycle management of IoT devices. Microsoft is promising that the service will get new capabilities as well.

"Next year, we plan to add support for ownership transfer and end-of-life management," Microsoft claimed, in this announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.