Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (March 2020 – Weeks: 09 and 10)

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

New datacenter region in Spain

Microsoft will open a datacenter region in Spain to help accelerate digital transformation of public and private entities of all sizes, helping them to innovate, scale and migrate their businesses to the cloud in a secure way.

Microsoft will retire classic IaaS VMs

Because Azure Resource Manager now has all the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) capabilities of Azure Service Management and new advancements, Microsoft will retire classic IaaS VMs on March 1, 2023. Beginning March 1, 2023, customers who are using classic IaaS VMs will no longer be able to start any classic IaaS VMs using ASM. Any remaining VMs in a running or stopped-allocated state will be moved to a stopped-deallocated state. The following Azure services and functionality will not be impacted by this retirement: Cloud Services, storage accounts not used by classic VMs, and virtual networks (VNets) not used by classic VMs.

Azure Virtual Network service endpoint policies feature 

Azure Virtual Network service endpoint policies enable you to prevent unauthorized access to Azure Storage accounts from your virtual network. It enables you to limit access to only specific whitelisted Azure Storage resources by applying endpoint policies over the service endpoint configuration.

Azure Load Balancer TCP resets on idle timeout is available

Azure Load Balancer now supports sending bidirectional TCP resets on idle timeout for load balancing rules, inbound NAT rules, and outbound rules. This is available in all regions. Use this ability to help applications gain visibility into when Standard Load Balancer terminates connections due to idle timeout. When enabled, Standard Load Balancer will generate a TCP reset packet to both the client and server side of a TCP connection on idle timeout. This allows applications to behave more predictably, as well as to detect the termination of a connection, remove expired connections, and initiate new connections.  CP resets can be enabled on standard load balancers using the Azure portal, Resource Manager templates, CLI, and PowerShell.

Web Application Firewall with Azure Front Door service supports exclusion lists

Web Application Firewall exclusion lists allow you to omit certain request attributes from a rule evaluation. You can use them to fine tune Web Application Firewall policies for your applications.

Azure StorSimple 8000/1200 series will no longer be supported starting December 31, 2022

Microsoft has been expanding the portfolio of Azure Hybrid storage capabilities with new services for data tiering and cloud ingestion, providing more options to customers for storing data in Azure in native formats. In conjunction with this, support for the following StorSimple versions will end December 31, 2022.

Active Directory for authentication on SMB access to Azure File in preview

Azure Files Active Directory (Azure AD) Authentication is in preview. You can use it to mount your Azure Files using Azure AD credentials with the exact same access control experience as on-premises.

HPC-optimized virtual machines are available

Azure HBv2-series Virtual Machines (VMs) are generally available in the South Central US region. HBv2 VMs will also be available in West Europe, East US, West US 2, North Central US, Japan East soon. HBv2 VMs deliver supercomputer-class performance, message passing interface (MPI) scalability, and cost efficiency for a variety of real-world high performance computing (HPC) workloads, such as CFD, explicit finite element analysis, seismic processing, reservoir modeling, rendering, and weather simulation.

A8 – A11 Azure Virtual Machine sizes will be retired on March 1, 2021

Microsoft is retiring A8 – A11 Azure Virtual Machine sizes on March 1, 2021. Starting today, customers with existing A8 – A11 size virtual machines will be able to deploy more of the same size, but new customers will no longer be able to create A8 – A11 VMs. After March 1, 2021, any remaining A8 – A11 size virtual machines remaining in your subscription will be set to a deallocated state. These virtual machines will be stopped and removed from the host. These virtual machines will no longer be billed in the deallocated state.

NDv2-Series VMs are Generally Available

NDv2 GPU VMs for high-end deep learning training and HPC workloads are going GA in East US, South Central US, and West Europe.

NVv4-Series VMs are Generally Available

Microsoft announced general availability of NVv4 Virtual Machines. NVv4 VMs are designed to provide you unprecedented GPU resourcing flexibility. You can now choose VMs with a whole GPU all the way down to 1/8th of a GPU.

Virtual machine scale sets now simpler to manage

Three new capabilities that simplify the overall management of virtual machine scale sets in Azure are now available. New custom scale-in policies for virtual machine scale sets let you specify the order in which virtual machines (VMs) within a scale set are deleted during a scale-in operation based on a set of criteria (such as the newest VM that was added to a scale set).  New instance protection policies enable you to protect one or more individual VMs in a scale set. Two new capabilities are provided:

  • Protect from scale-in  blocks instance deletion during scale-in operations.
  • Protect from scale set actions blocks all scale set operations including upgrades and reimage.

It’s also now possible to receive notifications about instance deletions and to set up a predefined delay timeout for the deletion operation. Notifications are sent through Azure Metadata Service Scheduled Events. Delay timeouts can range between 5 and 15 minutes.