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Azure Command Line Extends Its Cloud Services Reach

By Pedro Hernandez (Send Email)
Posted February 28, 2017


Azure Command Line (CLI) 2.0 is now generally available, bringing with it an extended set of commands and support for more Microsoft cloud services. The upgraded tool runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.

"This new version of Azure CLI should feel much more native to developers who are familiar with command line experiences in the bash environment for Linux and macOS with simple commands that have smart defaults for most common operations and that support tab completion and pipe-able outputs for interacting with other text-parsing tools like grep, cut, jq and the popular JMESpath query syntax," said Microsoft principal program manager Kamaljit Bath, in a Feb. 27 announcement. Other new commands include vm, acs, storage and network, he added.

In addition, Azure CLI 2.0 enables users to combine Bash and native commands, a time-saving feature for IT professionals who are already well-versed in Linux command-line tools, said Bath.

The new release also contains support for many Azure services, with new command modules for SQL Server, the DocumentDB NoSQL solution and Redis Cache, the distributed cache offering for cloud applications based on the popular open-source Apache Redis in-memory database technology, and others. On the application container front, the tool can be used to spin up and scale Azure Container Service clusters and Azure Managed Disks support allows users to manage and scale their virtual machines.

Elsewhere in Microsoft's sprawling cloud services ecosystem, the company announced a preview of the company's cloud-based big data solution, Azure HDInsight 3.6 with Apache Spark 2.1. Another preview, Azure Data Sync, which supplies bidirectional data synchronization services between multiple SQL databases in Azure and/or on-premises, now offers PowerShell and REST API (application programming interface) support.

"Previously in Data Sync, creating sync groups and making changes had to be done manually through the UI. This could be a tedious, time consuming process, especially in complex sync topologies with many member databases or sync groups," explained Joshua Gnanayutham, a program Manager at Microsoft Azure SQL Database, in a blog post today. "We now have support for PowerShell and REST APIs which developers can leverage to make these tasks faster and easier."

In a security-enhancing move, Microsoft has switched from a shared databases approach for Azure Data Sync to a dedicated implementation for each customer. Each sync database is now customer-owned and resides within the same Azure data center region that houses each sync group, said Gnanayutham.

Finally, Azure Data Sync is branching out to more data center regions, he added. As general availability nears, the service will be available beyond the U.S., and spread to China, Germany, and Microsoft's Government cloud, among other regions. In preparation for migrating existing customers to the new Azure portal, Gnanayutham cautioned that those users that have any on-premises databases will be required to download and configure a new software agent to complete their migrations.

Originally published on eWeek.
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