Azure Event Grid: An Overview


What is an Event Grid?

At the core of the majority of modern applications is a chromosomal makeup composed of a patchwork of events.  Events can come in an endless variety of incarnations and forms, be they clicks produced by users on an app or business processes activated by customer requests.  Upon their arrival, they must either be interpreted manually, or they can be sorted and digested by an automated event grid, such as the Azure Event Grid.

How Can Azure Event Grid Help Me or My Company?

Event grids offer a multitude of functions, but their primary purpose is to assist with the orchestration of serverless workflow and to unite data sources with event handlers.

One of the leading managed, event-routing platforms is the Azure Event Grid service.  It allows users to react quickly and responsively to events occurring in Azure resources or in the depths of their proprietary applications.  Moreover, it frees up the resources in computational power that are needlessly expended during scheduled polling.  By providing applications with a repository to which to submit state changes whenever they occur, Event Grid leverages push semantics in a manner similar to push notifications in order to submit exclusively actionable information to pre-enrolled, interested parties. This protocol, in turn, allows it to preserve the network and computational resources that would have been consumed during the traditional polling process.

Scalability is Key

Users can depend on Event Grid to help manage events that occur both within Azure resources, as well as within unrelated, third-party apps.  Because different users have different magnitudes of necessity, it’s able to dynamically scale in order to adapt to varying task payloads.  From a few events to millions per second, Event Grid is capable of adjusting its capacity intelligently in order to render the most CPU-efficient assistance.  Reductions in CPU efficiency can lead to the purchasing of costly and unnecessary extra hardware, which, in turn, can drive up a company’s operating costs and overhead expenses.

Event handlers are used to assist with the triggering of programmatic actions.  Some of the most commonly-employed event handlers include logic apps, event hubs, or webhooks. 

Is An Event Grid an Island?

For those wondering how Event Grid integrates with other apps or services, the simple answer is that, yes, it does play well with others!  It’s HTTP foundation allows it to integrate seamlessly with apps, web-based services and more.  This ability to integrate with an endless succession of apps broadens the possibilities of what can be accomplished with Azure Event Grid to infinite dimensions.

But how do these qualities help you or your business, you might ask?  By helping to surmount important challenges that individuals and businesses confront on a daily basis, such as simplifying security automation and apps through more tenable policy enforcement, Event Grid makes it easier to negotiate the integration process for new services and apps.  This will streamline what would ordinarily be a time and labor-intensive effort, and allows the resources recaptured to be allocated to other areas of need.

In their showcase of the software, Microsoft demonstrates a list populated by events that are set up to serve as the catalysts for programmatic actions.  This allows for the simplification of automation specific tasks as well as policy enforcement, all while dispensing with the need for polling.

Automation can be accomplished painlessly, with a script being written that ensures that when a specific event is fired, it is responded to by a corresponding, specific action.  This could be done for a variety of common, daily occurrences and tasks (though they need not be numerous in their frequency, either), such as tagging every new VM and sending a notification to one’s team or scanning for open ports and OS versions.

In Microsoft’s video demonstration, a script was made that automatically checks for the aforementioned properties whenever a VM is spun up.  Upon the host requesting that a new VM be spun off for him, Azure resources set into motion a new VM to create a job.  Upon finalization, it published in Event Grid a detailed, analytic synopsis of what exactly happened, where it happened, and which resources were utilized.  This simultaneously allows users to benefit from both the conservation of computational resources, as well as the lucidity of knowing the exact trajectory of events within the system.

During the process, Event Grid searches for all event subscriptions that are filtering to match the information involved, and assists with the efficient routing and delivering of the information to its final destination in order to correctly trigger the script.

The video goes on to demonstrate that upon the initiation of the automated process, the host received a notification on Microsoft Teams, informing him that the new VM had been generated.  This indicated that the automation script ran, tagged the VM, and informed the users that the deployment had happened.

However, beyond operations, Event Grid is also improving serverless and integration scenarios.  Event Grid increases the amount of events that can be reacted to, while reducing the reaction time.  Additionally, custom apps can be interacted with without having to pull.

This process unfolds in the following way: Event Grid connects a data source (one example of this could be an application) to specific event handlers.  This facilitates the integration of systems and trigger sans server functions.

How could something like this be used in practice?  The event management platform allows for the triggering of programmable events that are supposed to happen in sequence, freeing up the time spent on carrying out procedural cadences and allowing it to be spent on more generative matters.  In real life, this might materialize in the form of an application that triggers the automatic generation of postage stamps after an order is placed through an online portal, or the emailing of all relevant parties once a high-profile client agrees to discuss a potential partnership opportunity.

What’s particularly useful about Event Grid is that it’s able to show users in a consolidated, easy-to-interpret interface the sequence of events associated with a particular action, and gives them the liberty to customize, alter, cancel, and manage this sequence at will.

Most importantly, the distinguishing hallmark of event grid is that it is able to carry out a strategic population of information with zero pulling, minimizing the amount of CPU capacity involved in the production of the task.

What Do I Need to Know?

Truly, Event Grid is as ground-breaking as it is useful.  It allows for the subscription to any event that might transpire throughout one’s network of Azure products and resources and equips with the ability to react employing exclusively server-free options such as Logic Apps or Functions.  Moreover, it provides integrated publishing assistance using the properties of essential services such as Resource Groups and Blob Storage that allow you to generate customized events that culminate in direct publication to the service.

Additionally, the wide array of proprietary services equipped with built-in event handlers proffered by Azure such as Logic Apps, Azure Automation, and Functions imbue Event Grid with the trademark flexibility its users have come to rely on and expect.  This flexibility allows users to gain control of the helm regarding how they manage events and gives them the freedom to use custom webhooks when publishing an event to services of their choosing — Even those outside of the Azure family of products!

As a consequence, the spectrum of application options is truly infinite and elevates Azure Event Grid to a truly stellar position amongst services in the public cloud.

Some of the additional product specifications that make Azure Event Grid truly unique are the following:

  • More Intelligent Filtration – Azure Event Grid uses events as first-class objects and optimizes the filtration process by making it more intelligent. This enables users to employ direct filtering of events by markers such as prefix, suffix, or type in order to ensure that they only receive the events with which they are concerned.  Irrespective of whether a user wants to handle events that are pre-populated within Azure’s internal repertoire, such as the addition of a file to storage, or they desire to produce custom-made event handlers and events, Event Grid’s core model enables these options.  As a result, regardless of the service or its purpose, the smart routing and filtration capacities of Event Grid can be leveraged to ensure that a user’s apps can focus their output on central business concerns instead of the routing of events.
  • Scalable – One of the most salient features of Event Grid is that it is designed to adapt to scaling dynamically, guaranteeing consistency of performance and the sustained dependability of essential services. Whether your event cadence consists of twenty events or ten million, Event Grid can scale instantly and intelligently to handle them all.
  • Serverless is More – In opening up a new world of serverless endpoints that react to new apps and event sources, Event Grid liberates event-based functions to traverse new services without regard or concern. This amplifies the world of options for a user’s serverless inventory.  Whether a user’s applications are code-based in Functions or visual representations of workflow in Logic Apps, both can significantly benefit from Event Grid.
  • Barriers to Automation – The use of a centralized, interface for event management simplifies both security and operational automation through its built-in support for Azure Automation. This reacts to changes in infrastructure or VM creations.
  • Efficient Pricing Structures – The guiding principle of Azure Event Grid is efficiency and ensuring that unnecessary services are not invested in. In the same way that the event manager reduces unnecessary pulling that results in the wasteful allocation of system resources, Event Grid’s pricing structure also seeks to prevent users from incurring fees for services they don’t need or use.  Consequently, their model is a pay-per-use one, and to expedite the initiation process, the first 100,000 operations every month are free of charge.  After the initial 100,000 operations have transpired, then the fee is a nominal thirty cents per million operations.  This pricing schedule allows for generous usage of the platform with minimal out-of-pocket expenses. 

Simply stated, Azure Event Grid is the response to the missing portion of serverless applications.  The possibilities that arise with its flexible, simplified event handling and routing are limitless!

API Management Platforms to Modernize Applications

In addition to a viable event management platform, an API management platform is an invaluable tool for evolving and ameliorating the utility of applications.

Through the analytics provided by an API management platform, a developer can get a window into specifically which API’s are getting more traffic, and allocate resources to them accordingly.  Moreover, the fingerprint of functionality that gets gleaned from an API management platform can furnish developers with a blueprint to better serve the unique needs of their customer base.  This allows the developer to gain a bird’s eye view of how their application gets used, and how to adjust the moving parts in order to make them march to the beat of their clientele base’s drum beat.

As a result of API management platforms, app developers can learn how to reduce the unnecessary use of computational power for elements that are lightly trafficked or not used at all.

What’s the Take-Away?

Azure Event Manager provides intelligent, scalable, serverless event management that requires no pulling and drastically reduces the consumption of computational resources.  It’s able to integrate apps through the assistance of event handlers that are triggered via programmable events, and its both able to interact with pre-installed, proprietary services, as well as custom-built, third-party applications and data sources.

A well-honed digital ecosystem containing both a serverless event manager and an API management platform is critical to both the intelligent use of CPU resources, as well their strategic application for customer needs.  In today’s rapidly evolving market paradigm, it’s essential that companies leverage all of the tools available for them to increase efficiency and intuitiveness, as focusing on these elements today will ensure a company’s continued presence tomorrow.