Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (April 2019 – Weeks: 17 and 18)

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

Azure VMware Solutions

Microsoft Corp.  and Dell Technologies announced they are expanding their partnership to address a wider range of customer needs and help accelerate digital transformations. Through this collaboration, the companies will deliver a fully native, supported, and certified VMware cloud infrastructure on Microsoft Azure.

Azure VMware Solutions are built on VMware Cloud Foundation, a comprehensive offering of software defined compute, storage, networking and management, deployed in Azure. With these solutions, customers can capitalize on VMware’s broadly deployed and trusted cloud infrastructure while experiencing the power of Microsoft Azure.

Azure VMware Solutions give customers the power to seamlessly migrate, extend and run existing VMware workloads from on-premises environments to Azure without the need to re-architect applications or retool operations. Customers will be able to build, run, manage, and secure new and existing applications across VMware environments and Microsoft Azure while extending a single model for operations based on established tools, skills and processes as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.  Some of the more popular customer scenarios Azure VMware Solutions will support are app migration and datacenter expansion, disaster recovery, and business continuity and modern application development.

Azure Firewall – Price Reduction

Azure Firewall pricing includes a fixed hourly cost ($1.25/firewall/hour) and a variable per GB processed cost to support auto scaling. Microsoft are announcing a price reduction, effective 01/05/2019, for the firewall per GB cost to $0.016/GB (-46.6%) to ensure that high throughput customers maintain cost effectiveness. There is no change to the fixed hourly cost.

Azure Application Gateway Standard v2 and WAF v2 SKUs

Application Gateway is Azure’s Application Delivery Controller as-a-service offering which provides customers with layer 7 load balancing, security and WAF functionality.

Azure Application Gateway Standard v2 and WAF v2 SKUs are generally available and fully supported with a 99.95 SLA. The v2 SKUs also offer the following additional capabilities to Application Gateway and WAF:

  • Faster provisioning and configuration update time.
  • Static VIPs ensure that the Application Gateway VIP will not change over its lifecycle.
  • Autoscaling allows elasticity to your application enabling it to scale up or down based on application traffic pattern. This also eliminates the need to run Application Gateway at peak provisioned capacity, thus significantly saving cost.
  • Improved performance offers better application performance and also helps reduce overall cost.
  • Zone redundancy enables your Application Gateway to survive zonal failures, thereby offering better resilience to your applications.
  • Header Rewrite allows you to add, remove, or update HTTP request and response headers allowing applications to enable various scenarios like HSTS support, securing cookies, changing cache controls, etc. without changing application code.

For more information about the capabilities available, please visit the Application Gateway documentation webpage.

Azure File Sync v6 

Azure File Sync Agent v6 is available.

Improvements and issues that are fixed

  • Agent auto-update support
  • Support for Azure file share ACLs
  • Parallel upload and download sync sessions for a server endpoint
  • New Cloud Tiering cmdlets to get volume and tiering status
  • Support for FIPS mode
  • Miscellaneous reliability improvements for cloud tiering and sync

For more details, see KB4489736.

Agent installation notes

  • This update is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 installations.
  • Azure File Sync agent version 4.0.1.0 or a later version is required to upgrade existing agent installations.
  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the update rollup installation.
  • The agent version for the v6 release is 6.0.0.0.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB4489736.