Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (August 2021 – Weeks: 33 and 34)

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.



Placement polices for Azure VMware Solution (preview)

Placement policies are used to define constraints for running virtual machines in the Azure VMware Solution software-defined data center (SDDC). These constraints allow you to decide where and how the virtual machines should run within the SDDC clusters. Placement polices are used to support performance optimization of virtual Machines (VMs) through policy, and help mitigate the impact of maintenance operations to policies within the SDDC cluster. When you create a placement policy, it creates a vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) rule in the specified vSphere cluster. It also includes additional logic for interoperability with Azure VMware Solution operations.

New VM series supported by Azure Batch

The selection of VMs that can be used by Azure Batch has been expanded, allowing newer Azure VM series to be used. The following additional VM series can now be specified when Batch pools are created:

Azure Virtual Machines: retired series

Microsoft is retiring:

  • H-series Azure Virtual Machine sizes (H8, H8m, H16, H16r, H16m, H16mr, H8 Promo, H8m Promo, H16 Promo, H16r Promo, H16m Promo, and H16mr Promo) on 31 August 2022.
  • ND-series virtual machine sizes on 31 August 2022.
  • Basic and Standard A-series VMs on 31 August 2024.

Azure Government Top Secret now generally available for US national security missions

Azure Government Top Secret is available for US and this is a significant milestone in Microsoft commitment to bringing unmatched commercial innovation to US government customers across all data classifications. This announcement, together with new services and functionality in Azure Government Secret, provides further evidence of Microsoft’s relentless commitment to the mission of national security, enabling customers and partners to realize the vision of a multi-cloud strategy and achieve greater agility, interoperability, cost savings, and speed to innovation.


Azure Blob storage inventory

Inventory provides an easy way to gain insights into the containers and all block, append, and page blobs stored within an account.  Blob Inventory can be selected to provide a full listing of all blobs and containers on a daily or weekly basis. Prior to Inventory, either a separate catalog system or, listing of all blobs and analyzing added complexity and cost to solutions that used blob storage. With inventory, all blobs and containers that match an optional filter will be listed on a daily or weekly basis to a CSV or Parquet file that can then be processed for insights.  

Azure Archive Storage events for easy rehydration of archived blobs

The Azure Archive Storage provides a secure, low-cost means for retaining cold data including backups and archival storage. When your data is stored in Archive Storage, the data is offline and not available for read until it is moved to the hot or cool tier. Previously, the only way to determine when blob rehydration was complete and available to be read was to repeatedly poll the status of the rehydration operation, increasing complexity and cost. Azure Event Grid now supports events that fire when a blob is rehydrated from the archive tier. The Microsoft.Storage.BlobCreated event fires when a blob is copied from the archive tier to a new destination blob in the hot or cool tier. The Microsoft.Storage.BlobTierChanged event fires when the archived blob’s tier is changed to hot or cool. Your application can handle these events in order to respond to blob rehydration.

Azure Blob storage: last access time tracking

Last access time tracking integrates with lifecycle management to allow the automatic tiering and deletion of data based on when individual blobs are last accessed. This allows greater cost control as well as an automatic workflow including deletion of data after it is no longer used. Last access time can also be used without lifecycle management by any solution that needs to understand when individual blobs are last read and then take action. Lifecycle management with last access time tracking is available in all public regions for accounts with flat namespace used.  Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 will be supported later this year.


Network Insights: enhanced troubleshooting experiences for additional resources

You now have access to rich insights and enhanced troubleshooting experiences for four additional networking resources in Network Insights: Private Link, NAT Gateway, Public IP, and NIC.

With the onboarding of these resources, customers can access:

  • A resource topology showing resource health and connected resources
  • A pre-built workbook showing all key metrics along multiple
  • Direct links to documentation and troubleshooting help

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