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Azure Functions – An Introduction

Azure Functions is a service from Azure that allows developers to create serverless code. The idea is that you can build apps more quickly with this approach than you’d be able to otherwise.

Azure Functions Overview

A major part of Azure Service Functions includes the fact that it can process events for you. Essentially, it has native support for this kind of event trigger action that many other services external to Microsoft also have. The difference here is that you can do this natively through Azure. The example often given is how you can transfer files for test logs and use this and other parts of the service to create databases.

Additionally, Azure Functions will work with the native cloud storage service OneDrive. You can actually get free storage this way on a personal level, and on a business level there are also a number of packages available for storage. The relevancy here is that you can cut down on a lot of repetitive tasks that you have to do on a regular basis with the Functions service with another popular example being when you upload something to your OneDrive account. So, for example, if you find during the course of your regular work with OneDrive and data you’re storing there, that you often have to make a bar chart, pie chart, or any other kind of chart or even other kind of analysis repetitively at some regular interval, you can instead make it so that these processes happen automatically when the trigger event occurs.

You will likely save a significant amount of time and money this way, not to mention anxiety and frustration from having to do the same thing over and over again. After all, some things are best left to computers. These automated processes are much easier for computers to do than for humans since it’s a specialty for computers. The key is to make sure that you notice what processes you’re doing over and over, that way you can use Azure Services to get them all done for you, thus freeing you up to do work that is more suited for humans.

Customization

This is the sort of freedom that Azure Functions can give you. This freedom is also only possible due to the possibility of using the service in a way that can be highly customized. In other words, you don’t have to deal with prepacked approaches that only work in a limited number of scenarios. Instead, you can get into the guts of the service and make sure that it interfaces with your infrastructure properly to output the results that work for your specific situation.

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Plus, you can do all this with Microsoft, which is advantageous due to their reputation and security. There are a lot of different options for creating the functions you want as well. This includes specifying what language you’re most familiar with, or the one that simply works the best given the situation that you need it for generally. The listed options for this include JavaScript as well as some script languages including PowerShell and PHP. There are options here for troubleshooting as well.

The native tools will make it easier to make sure that all of your code is written properly and it integrates properly with your system, including operating the way that you need it to with the best outputs.

Outsourcing Server Work So You Don’t Need Them

One of the issues with developing apps is that you have to connect them to servers in order to get the full functionality that you want.  The result of this is that you have to worry about purchasing the servers and then maintaining them. You have to worry about set up, you have to worry about making sure that you get all of the firmware going, you have to worry about potential upgrades, and everything else related to doing it yourself.

The reason that Azure Functions works well as an alternative to trying to do this is because it handles all of this for you. The service can also scale up based on whatever you need as well. It also comes with reliability that comes with the Microsoft brand, If you were to try to handle the server side of things completely by yourself, you would have the issue of not knowing what kind of uptime you’re going to get, and this piece is absolutely critical when it comes to making sure that everything with your project works out.

Azure Compatibility

You want the resources to be there when you need them, in other words. And, many people find that Azure Functions gives you this kind of resilience. This is because you have the ability not just to work with other Azure services such as Storage and Cosmos DB, but with other services not part of the Microsoft package. It’s this combination that can be highly advantageous when working in this field.

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Azure Functions and the Internet of Things

When it comes to the Internet of Things, the Azure Function Services can also be of some significant help. The operative service here is Azure Stream Analytics. According to the site, it’s possible to set it up so that any devices that fall under the Internet of Things category can send information to the Analytics service, which can then use the Function service to create databases that you can read in the format. That way you don’t have to worry about trying to manually track down what all of your devices are doing.

After all, analyzing Internet of Things devices is often going to be a critical part of your business. You have to make sure that they are all operating efficiently and that there are no problems with them or with anything that they do. This is especially important given the fact that you’re likely going to end up with more and more IoT devices in the coming years due to the Internet of Things being a megatrend that both consumers and companies are stressing.

You can end up ahead of the game by using Azure services to make sure that you understand how the devices are helping you and how they aren’t before there are billions of them everywhere.

Other General Azure Function Advantages

It’s also common to use Azure functions to govern the use of chatbots and other bots. So, if chatbots are important to your business, you can use Azure Functions to handle various processing. An example of this includes Cortana Analytics, for example. You can have this answer questions for you using these services.

For more information about this approach with Azure, including not only Azure Functions but many other Azure services as well as how they can help you with your business, please make sure you go ahead and contact us today. There are so many Azure services available that chances are reasonably good that one of them will give you what you’re looking for to enhance or build your business. Plus, since they all generally work with one another, you also have the possibility of finding the right option through the use of a combination of services or simply through compatibility with Azure services and those from outside of Microsoft.

About Jeff Collins

Experience and Expertise make the difference when searching for top cloud providers. Appliedi has provided managed cloud services since 1999.