Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2018 – Weeks: 48 and 49)

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 Dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM)

The Microsoft Azure Dedicated Hardware Security Module (HSM) service provides cryptographic key storage in Azure and meets the most stringent customer security and compliance requirements. This service is the ideal solution for customers requiring FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated devices with complete and exclusive control of the HSM appliance. Azure Dedicated HSM addresses a unique set of customer needs for secure key storage scenarios in Azure.

The Dedicated HSM service is available in eight Azure regions, namely East US, West US, South Central US, East US 2, Southeast Asia, East Asia, West Europe, and North Europe

Improving Azure Virtual Machine resiliency with predictive ML and live migration

Since early 2018, Azure has been using live migration in response to a variety of failure scenarios such as hardware faults, as well as regular fleet operations like rack maintenance and software/BIOS updates. The use of live migration to handle failures gracefully allowed us to reduce the impact of failures on availability by 50 percent. Using the deep fleet telemetry, Microsoft enabled machine learning (ML)-based failure predictions and tied them to automatic live migration for several hardware failure cases, including disk failures, IO latency, and CPU frequency anomalies. Azure team partnered with Microsoft Research (MSR) on building the ML models that predict failures with a high degree of accuracy before they occur. As a result, Microsoft is able to live migrate workloads off “at-risk” machines before they ever show any signs of failing. This means VMs running on Azure can be more reliable than the underlying hardware.

Update rollup for Azure File Sync Agent: December 2018

An update rollup for the Azure File Sync agent was released which addresses the following issues:

  • A Stop error 0x3B or Stop error 0x1E may occur when a VSS snapshot is created.
  • The server may become unresponsive because of a cloud-tiering memory leak.
  • Agent installation fails with the following error: Error 1921. Service ‘Storage Sync Agent’ (FileSyncSvc) could not be stopped. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to stop system services.
  • The Storage Sync Agent (FileSyncSvc) service may crash when memory usage is high.
  • Miscellaneous reliability improvements for cloud tiering and sync.

More information about this update rollup:

  • This update is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019 installations that have Azure File Sync agent version or a later version installed.
  • The agent version of this update rollup is
  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the update rollup installation.

Installation instructions are documented in KB4459988.

Virtual network service endpoints for Azure Database for MariaDB (preview)

Virtual network service endpoints for Azure Database for MariaDB are accessible in preview in all available regions. Virtual network service endpoints allow you to isolate connectivity to your logical server from only a given subnet or set of subnets within your virtual network. Traffic to Azure Database for MariaDB from the virtual network service endpoints stays within the Azure network, preferring this direct route over any specific routes that take internet traffic through virtual appliances or on-premises.

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