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Microsoft Updating Azure Log Analytics with New Query Language

Microsoft started rolling out an update this week to its Azure Log Analytics service that promises to bring improved search, plus a new query language.

The update adds improved integration with the Power BI for data visualizations as well. Users also get the ability to integrate with Microsoft Flow and Azure Logic Apps, which are Microsoft's workflow automation solutions. Lastly, the update is delivering "Advanced Analytics Portal" support for "writing interactive ad hoc queries" with multiple-line editing, "context-aware syntax highlighting" and "built-in visualizations," plus the ability to export data to Excel, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The new SQL-like query language that will be arriving with the Azure Log Analytics update is said to be easier to understand than the existing one. It has extensive piping capabilities to create more complex queries. Microsoft has created a site for users to learn about the new query language at this page.

The update to Azure Log Analytics will add the following benefits, per Microsoft's announcement:

  • Powerful search
  • Query-time field extractions
  • Calculated fields
  • Joins and unions
  • Rich date/time operators
  • String operators
  • Let statements
  • Lambda expressions
  • Comments in queries
  • Native JSON support

Microsoft sees Azure Log Analytics as a tool for both developers working on applications and IT pros monitoring operations. Azure Log Analytics is a service that can be used on its own, or it integrates with System Center Operations Manager via a management pack, according to a Microsoft Log Analytics FAQ.

Azure Log Analytics users will see a banner prompt to click when the upgrade is available. Clicking it will automatically convert "all your artifacts, such as saved searches, views, alerts, and computer groups" to the new query language, which happens in "seconds," according to Microsoft.

Organizations don't have to upgrade right away. The upgrade is described as "optional" by Microsoft. However, systems will be "automatically converted at a later date" if the upgrade isn't performed, Microsoft's upgrade document explained, without indicating when it might happen. The upgrade performs a "complete backup of your workspace," permitting the old workspace to be restored later, if wanted.

The upgrade is "the biggest" one since the launch of Azure Log Analytics product, according to Microsoft. It's rolling out to existing customers this week, but just to the following Azure regions initially: "West Central US, East US, South East Australia, West Europe, and South-East Asia," per a Microsoft Operations Management Suite blog post. It's not clear when it'll be available elsewhere.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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