Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (November 2021 – Weeks: 45 and 46)

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.



Virtual machines selector now generally available

Microsoft want to simplify the process required for you to identify the right VM based on your needs and budget. To that end, virtual machines selector is a web-based tool localized in 26 languages and available worldwide. Using the virtual machines selector you can specify your requirements, such as the category of workload you plan to run in Azure, and the technical specifications of your VM (e.g., OS disks storage options, data disks storage performance, Operating System, deployment region, etc.). After a few simple steps, the tool identifies the best VM and disk storage combination based on the information you enter. You will then be able to view the details of the recommended VMs and their prices. You can then add the selected VMs to the pricing calculator to perform a more comprehensive cost analysis.

New cloud region in Sweden

The new sustainable datacenter region in Sweden, with presence in Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp is available. It includes Azure Availability Zones, which offer you additional resiliency for your applications by designing the region with unique physical datacenter locations with independent power, network, and cooling for additional tolerance to datacenter failures.

Azure VMware Solution now generally available in the France Central Azure Region and in Japan West Azure Region

Azure VMware Solution has expanded availability to Japan West and to France Central. With this release Japan West is now the second region within the Japan sovereign area to become available (joining Japan East).

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines: Multi subnet high availability

You can now simplify your SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines high availability and disaster recovery configuration by deploying virtual machines in multiple subnets, eliminating the need for an Azure Load Balancer. Multi subnet configuration natively helps you match on-premises experience for connecting to your availability group listener or SQL Server failover cluster instance. Additionally, this feature doesn’t have any limitations on unique port or feature interoperability considerations like distributed network name (DNN) for availability group and failover cluster instance. Multi subnet configuration is natively supported by all versions of SQL Server and Windows Server Failover Cluster to simplify deployment, maintenance and improve failover time.

Azure Virtual Machines DCv3-series now available in Europe West and North (preview)

Announcing public preview expansion of the DCv3-series VMs to Europe West and North.


SFTP support for Azure Blob Storage (preview)

Starting today, SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) support for Azure Blob Storage is available for public preview in select regions. Azure Blob Storage is the only storage platform that supports SFTP over object storage natively in a serverless fashion, enabling you to leverage object storage economics and features. With multi-protocol support, you can run your applications on a single storage platform with no application rewrites necessary, therefore eliminating data silos.

NFSv4.1 support on Azure Files

Azure Files support for NFS v4.1 on premium tier for both locally-redundant storage and zone-redundant storage is available. Now you can deploy these fully POSIX compliant, distributed NFS file shares in your production environments for a wide variety of Linux and container based workloads. Some example workloads include: highly available SAP application layer, enterprise messaging, user home directories, custom line-of-business applications, database backups, database replication, and devops pipelines. NFS 4.1 is available in all regions where the premium tier of Azure Files exists.

Azure Archive rehydration priority update

Azure Archive Storage provides a secure, low-cost means for retaining cold data, including backups and archival storage. Data stored in Archive Storage is offline and unavailable for read access until it is rehydrated to the hot or cool tier. You can choose to rehydrate data with standard or high priority, depending on the urgency of the retrieval request. Previously, it was not possible to change the retrieval priority after initiating a rehydration operation; priority had to be determined in advance, and there was no flexibility to update the priority if the retrieval urgency subsequently changed.

Archive Storage now supports updating the retrieval priority from standard to high while a rehydration operation is pending. You can simplify rehydration management and improve cost efficiency by initiating the rehydration operation with standard priority for a set of blobs, then updating the priority to high for any blobs that require faster retrieval.


VPN Gateways: increased connection limit

The max number of Site-to-Site/VNet-to-VNet connections on a VPN Gateway has been increased from 30 to 100 tunnels for SKUs VpnGw4, VpnGw5, VpnGw4AZ, and VpnGw5AZ.
This change does not affect legacy gateways with the High Performance SKU.

Azure Bastion: new features available with Standard SKU (preview)

With the new Azure Bastion native client support you can:

  • Connect to your target Azure virtual machine via Azure Bastion using Azure CLI and a native client on your local Windows machine
  • Log into Azure Active Directory-joined virtual machines using your Azure Active Directory credentials

Also, with the new Azure Bastion IP based connection capability you can now connect to any target resource reachable from your Bastion using its private IP address. This includes any reachable resources hosted on-premises or in other clouds, allowing you to achieve more secure global remote connectivity with Azure Bastion.

ExpressRoute now supports Azure Virtual Desktop Shortpath RDP over Private Peering

ExpressRoute Private Peering now supports Azure Virtual Desktop RDP Shortpath. After establishing the reverse connect transport, the client and session host starts the RDP connection. With RDP Shortpath configured, the client will require a direct connectivity with the session host to establish a secure TLS connection. You can leverage ExpressRoute Private peering to setup the direct connection to support RDP Shortpath. 

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