The future of Azure Deprecation Notices

The future of Azure Deprecation Notices
Photo by Jason Wong / Unsplash

In the past, I have been very curious about the cloud and have been working with Microsoft Azure since I was at university. It has evolved so much over the past years, and I've noticed a  general theme - We need to embrace change and design for it, because change is coming. Over time I've gotten passionate about a few things - Autoscaling, open-source and deprecations and how to do them well; because that is not a walk in the park.

Before I joined Microsoft in 2021, I was an Azure Architect working with various companies using a plathora of Azure services. I've had the pleasure of testing new services (some which never saw the light), use public previews and use production-proven services that have gone away.

If you are using Azure, you must be aware of what is happening to the infrastructure you depending on and sometimes make the hard decision of moving away - Either because you think it's best, or because it is going away.

Why I started Azure Deprecation Notices

The main struggle was that Microsoft provides Azure Updates, a centralized place to stay up-to-date on what's new and what retirements are happening.

However, there were a few points of improvement:

  • Unfortunately, though, not all Azure services announced them there and I saw a lot of deprecations pop up in documentation, blog posts, GitHub repos and more.
  • Deprecations are very often communicated to customers that are impacted, but only to subscription owners without an option to subscribe
  • There is no single-pane-of-glass that shows all active deprecations for Azure so you can plan accordingly

That is why, almost 4 years ago, I started Azure Deprecation Notices in my spare time to help create awareness around deprecations in Azure to ensure everyone can plan accordingly and becomes aware of them.

It allows you to use a dashboard with all deprecations, subscribe to CloudEvents, subscribe to a monthly newsletter or follow @AzureEndOfLife on Twitter.

Over the years, I have fully automated and open-sourced the serverless infrastructure that powers this - All I had to do was gather deprecations, enrich them with context/guidance and queue them to be processed.

In 2021, we were even lucky to be one of the first open-source projects that received sponsorship from Microsoft in the form of Azure credits!

Fast forward to today where I have already published 285 deprecation notices, 1650+ followers on Twitter  and 260+ monthly subscribers for the email summary which rapidly growing over time.

So, what's next? Well...

At the end of last year, I have been collaborating with some colleagues during our annual Microsoft Hackaton to leverage the stored deprecation notices through API so that the Azure community could integrate and automate their own internal processes.

While I was planning to write a new blog post to announce this, I also received some bad news - Because I am a Microsoft employee, I can no longer benefit from the "Azure credits for open source projects" program and will lose my Azure subscription by the end of March.

In addition, my life has changed as well - During the pandemic I became a father twice, which means I have less spare time (read: almost none) and I am also the sole maintainer of Promitor which is used by 180+ enterprises.

As an example, there are 12 new deprecations that I have not even had the time to process and publish yet.

Due to these facts, I have unfortunately decided that I will be sunsetting Azure Deprecation Notices by end of this month and no new deprecations will be published anymore.

So... What is my alternative?

First of all - I'm sorry for this bad news, but I'm sure you'll do fine!

The good news, though, is that I have seen very few/no Azure services announce deprecations outside of Azure Updates anymore. If you are looking for an alternative, then I highly recommend to regularly check it. The ideal approach, however, is to subscribe to the RSS feed and use that instead.

I have seen people just automatically process the RSS feed and post/use that, but I've found it very useful to have a human read, interpret, enrich and follow-up on them as not all deprecations are straightforward/clear; but that takes time of course.

As an alternative, the wonderful Azure Charts provides an Azure Deprecations Dashboard which you can use to get an overview.

If somebody wants to, they can even take the underlying infrastructure and just spin it up themselves! If somebody is interested in doing so, feel free to reach out and we can have a chat.

This was not an easy decision to make, but you can be sure of one thing - I never stop caring about deprecation and am still actively working to make deprecation in Azure an even better place.