Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (July 2019 – Weeks: 27 and 28)

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

Pubic preview for large file shares (100 TiB) on standard tier

Announced the public preview of large file shares for Azure Files standard tier. Azure File Sync, until now, scaling cloud file shares beyond 5 TiB required changing the paradigm for accessing data. The preview of a larger and higher scale standard tier for Azure Files, is available to all Azure customers. This preview significantly improves your experience by increasing standard file shares’ capacity and performance limits. In select regions, standard file shares in general purpose accounts can support the following larger limits:

Azure Files Before (standard tier) New (standard tier)
Capacity per share 5 TiB 100 TiB (20x increase)
Max IOPS per share 1,000 IOPS 10,000 IOPS (10x increase)
Max throughput per share Up to 60 MiB/s Up to 300 MiB/s (5x increase)

Performance limits for a single file remain the same at 1 TiB, 1000 IOPS, and 60 MiB/s. Standard file shares are backed by hard disk drives. If the workload is latency sensitive, you should consider Azure Files premium tier, that is backed by solid-state drives.

New larger B-series VM sizes with flexible CPU usage

Microsoft has released three new B-series sizes: B12ms, B16ms and B20ms. These are lower cost VMs with flexible CPU usage.

Azure Data Box Heavy is generally available

Azure Data Box Heavy has reached general availability in the US and EU. Data Box Heavy is designed for a much larger scale than the original Data Box. Data Box Heavy’s one petabyte of raw capacity and multiple 40 Gbps connectors mean that a datacenter’s worth of data can be moved into Azure in just a few weeks.

Network Watcher is Generally Available in South Africa

Network Watcher is a cloud based solution for troubleshooting and monitoring networks in Azure. Azure Network Watcher is generally available in South Africa North region. 

Azure Ephemeral OS Disk is Generally Available

Ephemeral OS disks are created on the local virtual machine (VM) storage and not saved to the remote Azure Storage. Ephemeral OS disks work well for stateless workloads, where applications are tolerant of individual VM failures, but are more affected by VM deployment time or reimaging the individual VM instances. With Ephemeral OS disk, you get lower read/write latency to the OS disk and faster VM reimage. Ephemeral OS disk is free i.e., you incur no storage cost for the OS disk. You can still be charged for any data disks attached to the VM. You can use either the Marketplace or Custom or Gallery Images to deploy VM/VM Scale Set (VMSS) with Ephemeral OS Disk. This functionality is available in all Azure regions.

Azure Monitor for VMs is available in East and South East Australia regions

Azure Monitor for VMs is now available in East Australia and South East Australia. Azure Monitor for VMs monitors your Azure virtual machines and virtual machine scale sets. The service analyzes the performance and health of your Windows and Linux VMs, monitoring their processes and their dependencies on other resources and external processes.

Azure Migrate is enhanced

Azure Migrate is now enhanced and can help you discover, assess, and migrate applications, infrastructure, and data from your on-premises environments to Azure. You can centrally track progress of your migration journey across multiple Microsoft and Independent Software Vendor (ISV) tools in Azure Migrate.

This release includes the following functionality:

  • Extensible approach with choice across Microsoft and popular ISV assessment and migration tools

  • Integrated experience for discovery, assessment, and migration with end-to-end progress tracking for servers and databases

  • Server Assessment and Server Migration for large-scale VMware, Hyper-V, and physical server migrations

  • Database Assessment and Database Migration across various database targets including Azure SQL Database and Managed Instance