Microsoft Launches Cloud Service for Event-Based Applications

The new Azure Event Grid service enables developers to build serverless applications that react to events triggered by IoT devices, mobile users and more.

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Microsoft took the wraps off a new service called Azure Event Grid that enables developers to build event-based and serverless applications on the Redmond, Wash. tech titan's cloud.

Enterprises are warming to the agility and modularity offered by serverless architectures like Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda. Rather than unpacking big and monolithic business applications when an update is required, developers can use serverless architectures to swap in the component parts of their business applications, which take the form of micro services that run in memory—hence the term "serverless".

Corey Sanders, director of compute at Microsoft Azure, announced the company's new Azure Event Grid service on Aug. 16, which the company says will make it easier to build and deploy event-based applications using a serverless approach. Those events can be triggered by changes detected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices, mobile app inputs and a variety of other actions taken by users and their connected devices.

"Azure Event Grid is a fully-managed event routing service and the first of its kind. Azure Event Grid greatly simplifies the development of event-based applications and simplifies the creation of serverless workflows," explained Sanders in a blog post. "Using a single service, Azure Event Grid manages all routing of events from any source, to any destination, for any application."

Currently, the service features built-in publishing support for a number of Azure services, namely Blog Storage, Resource Groups, Azure Subscriptions, Event Hubs and Custom Topics. Event-handler support boils down to Azure Functions, Logic Apps, Azure Automation and WebHooks.

For developers that prefer more custom implementations, the service "provides flexibility and allows you to create your own custom events to publish directly to the service," assured Sanders. Similarly, the service supports custom web hooks that can be used to publish events to third-party services.

Looking ahead, Microsoft is expanding Azure Event Grid's reach with more integrations. Planned event sources and destinations for later this year include Azure Active Directory, IoT Hub, Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Cosmos DB, among several others. Technical information and a quick-start guide are available here.

Amazon, meanwhile, is busily getting the developer community accustomed to the serverless cloud application future.

Last week, the company released AWS SAM (Serverless Application Model) Local, a beta tool that enables users to locally build and test serverless applications. "SAM Local takes all the good parts of SAM and brings them to your local machine," said Randall Hunt, senior technical evangelist at AWS, in an Aug. 11 announcement.

Among the tool's many capabilities, SAM Local, allows developers to test AWS Lamda functions on Docker and "simulate function invocations from known event sources like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)," he added.

In March, Google unveiled its own serverless environment called Google Cloud Functions. The service allows developers to build and connect cloud services, spinning up cloud resources as required and winding them down after they've served their purpose. Its usage-based pricing model can calculate costs down to the nearest hundredth millisecond.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...