Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (February 2020 – Weeks: 07 and 08)

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 Firewall Manager now supports virtual networks

Azure Firewall Manager Preview now supports Azure Firewall deployments in virtual networks (also known as hub virtual networks) in addition to its support for Azure Firewall deployments in virtual WAN hubs (also known as secured virtual hubs).

New Azure Firewall certification and features

New Azure Firewall capabilities are available:

  • ICSA Labs Corporate Firewall Certification.
  • Forced tunneling support now in preview.
  • IP Groups now in preview.
  • Customer configured SNAT private IP address ranges now generally available.
  • High ports restriction relaxation now generally available.

Form more detrails you can read this document.

Azure Virtual Network: Network address translation in preview

Azure Virtual Network now offers network address translation (NAT) (in preview) to simplify outbound-only internet connectivity for virtual networks. All outbound connectivity uses the public IP address and/or public IP prefix resources connected to the virtual network NAT. Outbound connectivity is possible without a load balancer or public IP addresses directly attached to virtual machines. Virtual Network NAT Preview is fully managed, highly resilient, and is currently available in the following regions:

  • Europe West
  • Japan East
  • US East 2
  • US West
  • US West 2
  • US West Central 

Preview of Azure Shared Disks for clustered applications

The limited preview of Azure Shared Disks, the industry’s first shared cloud block storage, is available. Azure Shared Disks enables the next wave of block storage workloads migrating to the cloud including the most demanding enterprise applications, currently running on-premises on Storage Area Networks (SANs). These include clustered databases, parallel file systems, persistent containers, and machine learning applications. This unique capability enables customers to run latency-sensitive workloads, without compromising on well-known deployment patterns for fast failover and high availability. This includes applications built for Windows or Linux-based clustered filesystems like Global File System 2 (GFS2). With Azure Shared Disks, customers now have the flexibility to migrate clustered environments running on Windows Server, including Windows Server 2008 (which has reached End-of-Support), to Azure. This capability is designed to support SQL Server Failover Cluster Instances (FCI)Scale-out File Servers (SoFS)Remote Desktop Servers (RDS), and SAP ASCS/SCS running on Windows Server.

Azure Private Link is generally available

Azure Private Link is now generally available. Azure Private Link is a secure and scalable way for you to consume services (such as Azure PaaS,  Partner Service, BYOS) on the Azure platform privately from within your virtual network. Private Link also enables you to create and render your own services on Azure. It enables a true private connectivity experience between services and virtual networks.

Azure Resource Manager template support for NSG flow logs

Now, Azure Resource Manage, the native and powerful way to manage your infrastructure as code, supports the deployment of network security group (NSG) flow logs through templates. NSG flow logs are now an Azure Resource Manager resource so you have the ability to deploy flow logs programmatically and set up Azure Governance policies to verify that flow logs are enabled. 

Azure Network Watcher is generally available in four new regions

Azure Network Watcher is now generally available in UAE North, Switzerland North, Norway West, and Germany West Central regions.

Native Azure Active Directory authentication support and Azure VPN Client 

Native Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication support for OpenVPN protocol, and Azure VPN Client for Windows are generally available for Azure point-to-site (P2S) VPN. Native Azure AD authentication support enables user-based policies, conditional access, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for P2S VPN. Native Azure AD authentication requires both Azure VPN Gateway integration and a new Azure VPN client to obtain and validate an Azure AD token.

Unified network monitoring with connection monitor in preview

Azure Network Watcher now has a new and improved connection monitor feature. Connection monitor provides unified end-to-end connection monitoring capabilities for hybrid and Azure deployments. Some of the new capabilities include:

  • A single console for configuring and monitoring connectivity and network quality from Azure and on-premises VMs/hosts. 
  • The ability to monitor endpoints within and across Azure regions, on-premises sites, and global service locations. 
  • Higher and configurable probing frequencies and support for more protocols.
  • Faster time to detect and diagnose issues in Azure and hybrid networks.
  • Access to historical monitoring data retained in Log Analytics. 

Azure Bastion is available in 20 new regions

Azure Bastion, the managed PaaS service that provides secure and seamless RDP/SSH connectivity to your virtual machines directly in the Azure portal over SSL and without any public IP on your virtual machines, is now generally available in 20 new regions.

Active Directory authentication support on Azure Files (preview)

You can now mount your Azure Files using AD credentials with the exact same access control experience as on-premises. You may leverage an Active Directory domain service either hosted on-premises or on Azure for authenticating user access to Azure Files for both premium and standard tiers. Managing file permissions is also simple. As long as your Active Directory identities are synced to Azure AD, you can continue to manage the share level permission through standard role-based access control (RBAC). For directory and file level permission, you simply configure Windows ACLs (NTFS DACLs) using Windows File Explorer just like any regular file share. 

Azure Stack

Kubernetes on Azure Stack 

Microsoft now supports Kubernetes cluster deployment on Azure Stack, a certified Kubernetes Cloud Provider. Install Kubernetes using Azure Resource Manager templates generated by ACS-Engine on Azure Stack.

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