Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (October 2018 – Weeks: 40 and 41)

This series of blog posts includes the most important announcements and major updates regarding Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Azure Stack, officialized by Microsoft in the last two weeks.

Azure

Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage (public preview)

Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage, available in public preview, detects anomalous activities indicating unusual and potentially harmful attempts to access or exploit storage accounts. This feature helps customers detect and respond to potential threats on their storage account as they occur.

 

Ephemeral OS Disk (limited preview)

Limited preview of Ephemeral OS Disk, a new type of OS disk created directly on the host node, providing local disk performance and faster boot/reset time. Ephemeral OS Disk is supported for all virtual machines (VM) and virtual machine scale sets (VMSS). Ephemeral OS Disk is ideal for stateless workloads that require consistent read/write latency to OS disk, as well as frequent reimage operations to reset the VM(s) to the original state. This includes workloads such as website applications, game server hosting services, VM pools, computation, jobs and more. Ephemeral OS Disk also works well for workloads that are leveraging low-priority VM scale sets.

Azure confidential computing (public preview)

Azure confidential computing protects your data while it’s in use. It is the final piece to enable data protection through its lifecycle whether at rest, in transit, or in use. It is the cornerstone of Microsoft ‘Confidential Cloud’ vision, which aims to make data and code opaque to the cloud provider. DC-series of virtual machines in US East and Europe West are in public preview. While these virtual machines may ‘look and feel’ like standard VM sizes from the control plane, they are backed by hardware-based Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), specifically the latest generation of Intel Xeon Processors with Intel SGX technology. You can now build, deploy, and run applications that protect data confidentiality and integrity in the cloud. The DC-series of VMs are the first set of Generation 2 virtual machines. As such, Microsoft has specially configured operating images that are required with these virtual machines (Generation 2 support for Ubuntu Server 16.04 and Windows Server 2016 Datacenter). These images are automatically used when deploying through the portal. Custom images are not yet supported. DC-series VMs will not show up in the size selector for arbitrary marketplace images, as not all images have been updated yet.

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