For a technology that was born on Azure, beginning life as a derivative of its original platform WebJobs, Azure Functions has come a long way. It’s not just a cloud service, as it can be hosted in containers and run anywhere you’ve got Docker support: from your own dev hardware, to IoT devices at the edge of your network, to on-premises, and even to other cloud platforms. And Azure Functions is still evolving, adding new features and new hosting models.
One key new feature is a premium plan for Azure-hosted Functions. If you’re using Azure Functions to process a lot of data, it’s an essential upgrade. Not only do functions get to run longer—up to 25 minutes—they’re now able to use more compute and more memory: a maximum of 4 cores and 12GB of memory. With Functions-based apps able to work with more, there’s a need to manage budgets more effectively, especially if you’re using them as part of an event-driven programming model, using technologies such as Azure EventGrid to trigger Functions.
Giving Azure Functions a warm start
A new billing model is part of the premium plan. Here you can set a minimum plan size, for example, ensuring that one or multiple Azure Function hosts are always warmed up and ready to go. Similarly, at the other end of the scale, there’s the option to choose a maximum plan size, limiting the number of Functions that can run at a time and helping give you predictable bills.