Keep Up to Date with New Azure Features

It’s extremely important when working with Azure to keep up to date with new features. Today I’ll share with you how I have been doing this during the past few years. 

First of all, you need to define what’s important for you. You cannot track all the new features for every service (more than 600). For example, I try to be aware of recently released features for Azure Data Services like Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Factory. 

This post focuses on 3 main options where Microsoft directly provides information. I understand that there are many other community-maintained blogs (like this one), but today I’ll share information provided by official Microsoft channels. 

Why keep up to date?  

To begin, there are a few key reasons to keep up to date with technology: 

  1. Awareness – be prepared. Do you prefer your competitors to be ahead of the game? This applies at both the individual and organizational level. You want to be aware of what the latest features are on the market. Then, take the lead and innovate. 
  1. A new feature could decrease the implementation and ongoing costs of new or existing solutions. This includes security considerations. 
  1. A new feature could help you solve an existing or upcoming business problem. 
  1. It allows your Team to be aware of the same features by subscribing to RSS feeds directly with Teams (or your preferred communication tool) 

How to stay up to date 

I highly suggest using RSS feeds and subscriptions to receive updates directly in your inbox or Teams to save time. 

Azure Blogs 

This link is a true treasure trove. Most feature updates (if not all) are available at the following URL. 

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-au/blog/

Azure blogs
  1. Use the RSS feed.  
  1. Filter by specific topics and technologies. 

First, connect the RSS feed to Teams: 

Connect RSS feed to teams

Then, select the RSS connector: 

Select RSS connector

For the topics that you want to track, copy the URL. 

Save the connection. 

Save the RSS connection

Done! Now you’ll receive updates in the Teams project. Any member can see the updates. 

You can add multiple RSS feeds, but remember to keep it specific.  

Azure Ideas (feedback) 

Did you know that you can ask for new features? Submit your ideas at: 

https://feedback.azure.com/

This portal helps you understand some of the items that different product teams are developing.  

Why do I really like this portal? 

You can easily learn about some of the limitations of the products because there are features that are simply not available yet. 

Feedback portal

How can you be notified about new features? Vote for them and get updates when the status of the feature is changed. 

Vote for new features in Azure

Channel 9 and Azure YouTube Channels 

If you are looking for something more visual or to listen to while working, check Channel 9 or YouTube channels. Use the RSS feeds to send communications to Microsoft Teams. 

Channel 9 

https://channel9.msdn.com/Browse/AllShows

Subscribe to official Azure YouTube Channels that are of your interest. 

I like Microsoft Mechanics a lot: https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficeGarageSeries 

Others 

There are many other ways to keep up to date, for example: 

  • Attend Microsoft Events like Microsoft Ignite or Microsoft Business Applications Summit – A lot of important announcements are always released. These announcements are immediately available on blogs as well. Track these blogs to say informed. 
  • Follow LinkedIn or Twitter accounts from Microsoft 
  • Some services have an embedded notification experience, for example, Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Factory. 

Summary 

In summary, you’ve learned that there are many ways to stay informed and take the lead. There are many different ways to do this, so choose the ones that work best for you. 

Which other channels am I missing? Leave a comment below. 

Check out these other blog posts

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  • Steven
    27 . 01 . 2021

    I’m a fan of the embedded notification experience as I’m in the product everyday anyway – seems to be the easiest way to keep up to date with targeted information

    • David Alzamendi
      28 . 01 . 2021

      Thank you for your feedback Steven! That option definitely helps.

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