Azure Deployment Environments optimizes developer experience and adds new enterprise capabilities
Published Nov 15 2023 08:00 AM 9,609 Views

Over the last 15 years, DevOps practices and new cloud technologies have streamlined and standardized operational processes to help developers focus on what really matters - their code. Yet as applications become more complex, so does the corresponding infrastructure, requiring a new approach. Platform Engineering is an evolution of DevOps practices that provides developers with self-service access to the infrastructure they need within guardrails set by central IT teams. At Microsoft, we’ve been working on several new services that can act as building blocks for implementing platform engineering.

Earlier this year, at Build, we announced the general availability of Azure Deployment Environments, an Azure service that enables developers to self-serve their own environments from curated, project-based infrastructure-as-code templates. Since then, we’ve heard great community feedback and are excited by the buzz around the service.

Today, we’re excited to announce several new features that make it even easier to fit Deployment Environments into your existing workflows, along with new cost management features to help keep costs under control. Read on to learn more.


Expanding developer self-service capabilities 


Azure Deployment Environments represents one of our biggest steps towards enabling Platform Engineering. A core part of this comes from the self-service access that Deployment Environments grants to developers. Today, developers can use the service to self-serve environments through a specialized developer portal, via their IDE command line, or as part of a CI/CD workflow. But once app infrastructure is provisioned, deploying source code onto the environment can still be difficult and cumbersome.


That’s why we’re excited to announce new integrations between Deployment Environments and the Azure Developer CLI (azd), an open-source command line tool that provides developer-friendly commands to help you build, deploy and manage your application on Azure. With the integration of azd and Deployment Environments, developers can now use streamlined commands such as “azd up,” “azd provision,” and “azd deploy” to spin up their app infrastructure from project-specific and curated Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates and deploy their code on the newly created environment.


Integration between Deployment Environments and azd make it easier to deploy your code onto a newly provisioned environment or an existing environment—enabling you to test code changes in real-time, identify and fix issues, and ultimately ship higher-quality apps faster. Better yet, thanks to azd extensions available in tools like Visual Studio Code, developers can use streamlined commands to provision and deploy their apps directly from their IDE. These integrations are available in public preview - check out our docs page to get started today.


Broadening support for infrastructure-as-code templates


As per Forrester, enterprises are using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to “go to market faster and optimize return on investment; improve productivity; and ensure large-scale compliance.” Currently, Deployment Environments supports Azure Resource Management (ARM) templates. While ARM offers a powerful form of IaC applicable across many Azure services, it’s not always the easiest to learn or most efficient way for platform engineers to build IaC templates.

That’s why we’re happy to announce that Deployment Environments now provides native support for Bicep, a domain-specific language (DSL) that helps platform engineers more efficiently deploy their Azure resources. Bicep also enables admins to drive even more consistency with their IaC templates, and notably, offers a first-class authoring experience when creating Bicep files in VS Code. Bicep support is in private preview, and we invite you to sign up for early access today!


Helping enterprises reduce cloud resource costs


The new features we’ve already talked about provide a significant boost to developer productivity. However, developer productivity is only one part of the equation. While it’s great that Deployment Environments provides developers with self-service access to their environments, platform engineers and dev teams also need to be able to track and manage cloud resource costs. This is especially important at large enterprise organizations with developer teams in the hundreds or thousands, where costs can rise rapidly if not actively monitored.




To help make cost management easier, we’re introducing scheduled auto-deletion to Deployment Environments. Now, when developers are setting up an environment, they can set their resources to auto-delete once they’re done using them. Platform engineers can also configure auto-delete on environments created by developers to maintain centralized control over resources created by dev teams. This capability is now generally available.


Tracking and securing Deployment Environments


Also, generally available today is a new integration between Azure Deployment Environments and Azure Advisor recommendations, which provides actionable suggestions to help you optimize resources provisioned through Deployment Environments. This provides another way that enterprises can track and improve the performance, security, and reliability of their resources.




Get started with Azure Deployment Environments today


The response to Deployment Environments has already been great, and we’re excited to see how the new features available today will further improve the experience for devs and platform engineers alike.


You can get started with Azure Deployment Environments today, for free and pay only for the Azure resources you create as part of your environments, such as compute, storage, and networking. Visit our docs pages to learn more about the integration with azd today, you can also sign up to gain early access to Bicep support.

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‎Nov 15 2023 07:55 AM
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