Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (July 2021 – Weeks: 29 and 30)

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.



Shared disks on Azure Disk Storage are now generally available on all Premium SSD and Standard SSD sizes

Shared disks can now be leveraged on smaller Premium SSDs from 4GiB to 128 GiB and all Standard SSDs from 4 GiB to 32 TiB. This expands shared disk support to Ultra Disk, Premium SSD, and Standard SSD enabling you to optimize for different price and performance options based on your workload needs.

Immutable storage with versioning for Blob Storage (preview)

Immutable storage with versioning for Blob Storage is now available in preview. Immutable storage provides the capability to store data in a write once, read many (WORM) state. Once data is written, the data becomes non-erasable and non-modifiable, and you can set a retention period so that files can’t be deleted until after that period has elapsed. Additionally, legal holds can be placed on data to make that data non-erasable and non-modifiable until the hold is removed. Immutable storage with versioning adds the capability to set an immutable policy on the container or object level. It also allows for the immutable protection of all past and current versions of any blob. 


Next-generation firewall capabilities with Azure Firewall Premium

Microsoft Azure Firewall Premium is now available with this key features:

  • TLS inspection: Azure Firewall Premium terminates outbound and east-west transport layer security (TLS) connections. Inbound TLS inspection is supported in conjunction with Azure Application Gateway allowing end-to-end encryption. Azure Firewall performs the required value-added security functions and re-encrypts the traffic which is sent to the original destination.
  • IDPS: Azure Firewall Premium provides signature-based intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) to allow rapid detection of attacks by looking for specific patterns, such as byte sequences in network traffic or known malicious instruction sequences used by malware.
  • Web categories: Allows administrators to filter outbound user access to the internet based on categories (for example, social networking, search engines, gambling, and so on), reducing the time spent on managing individual fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) and URLs. This capability is also available for Azure Firewall Standard based on FQDNs only.
  • URL filtering: Allow administrators to filter outbound access to specific URLs, not just FQDNs. This capability works for both plain text and encrypted traffic if TLS inspection is enabled.

Application Gateway: new features for Web Application Firewall (WAF)

  • Bot protection: Web Application Firewall (WAF) bot protection feature on Application Gateway allows users to enable a managed bot protection rule set for their WAF to block or log requests from known malicious IP addresses. The IP addresses are sourced from the Microsoft Threat Intelligence feed. This rule set can be used alongside the OWASP core rule sets (CRS) to provide additional protection. 

  • Geomatch custom rules: Web Application Firewall (WAF) geomatch custom rule feature on Application Gateway allows users to restrict access to their web applications by country/region. As with all custom rules, this logic can be compounded with other rules to suit the needs of your application. 

Azure ExpressRoute: 3 New Peering Locations Available

Three new peering locations are available for ExpressRoute:

  • Campinas
  • Sao Paulo2
  • Dublin2

With this announcement, ExpressRoute is now available across 79 global commercial Azure peering locations.

New insights in Traffic Analytics

Azure Network Watcher Traffic Analytics solutions is used to monitor network traffic. It now provides WHOIS and Geographic data for all Public IPs interacting with your deployments and further adds DNS domain, threat type & threat description for Malicious IPs. Now, it also supports inter-zone traffic and VMSS level traffic insights.

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