Azure Insights: Functions vs. Lambda; VM images; DevOps hosted agents; Key Vault access

April 25 2021

Azure pros discuss the difference between Azure Functions and AWS Lambda, VM images, DevOps hosted agents, and Key Vault access.

Comparing Azure Functions and AWS Lambda

Vidya, writing on WhizLabs, wondered about the Azure equivalent of AWS Lambda. The Lambda code execution platform serves to reduce the scope of containerization and is used to execute multiple Amazon Machine instances. Vidya argues that Azure Automation is a rough equivalent together with Azure Functions.

Both Functions and Lambda support Node.js, Python and C#, while Functions offers PHP and F# and Lambda provides Python and Java. Vidya explained the difference in hosting plans, configuration, extensibility, and programming. In contrast to Lambda, Functions supports input/output binding, HTTP functions out of the box, automatic package restore and supports five more languages than Lambda, but Lambda offers features like multiple trigger sources and deep integration with other services.

Building VM images

Aidan Finn discussed how users can build Azure VM images with Packer and Azure Files. Users commonly need rapidly deployable VM images, such as for a Citrix or Windows Virtual Desktop worker pool. While some choose Marketplace images, a classic alternative is to build a golden image and install. Currently, Azure Image Builder remains merely a preview and can fail often due to complexity.

Instead, users can turn to Packer, a free tool from Hashicorp. Users can develop VM images for a variety of different platforms, including Azure ARM. He wrote:

I wanted to build a golden image, a template, for a Citrix worker pool, running in Azure and managed by Citrix Cloud. The build needs to be monthly, receiving the latest Windows Updates and application upgrades. The solution should be independent of the network and not require any file servers… I put the application packages into Azure Files. Each installation is wrapped in a simple PowerShell script. That means I can enable a PowerShell provisioner to run multiple scripts.

Pulling public IP addresses for Azure DevOps hosted agents

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