Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (June 2023 – Weeks: 21 and 22)

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.



Generation 2 VM for Windows

Generation 2 VMs support key features that aren’t supported in generation 1 VMs. These features include increased memory, Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX), and virtualized persistent memory (vPMEM). You can now run Windows workloads on Generation 2 VMs in production to take advantage of these Generation 2 features.

Azure HX Virtual Machines for HPC

HX-series Virtual Machines (VMs) are optimized for large memory HPC workloads such as backend EDA, finite element analysis, computational geoscience, and big data analytics.

These VMs feature:

  • Up to 176 AMD EPYC™ 9004-series CPU cores with AMD 3D V-Cache (Genoa-X), 1.4 TB of RAM, clock frequencies up to 3.7 GHz, and no simultaneous multithreading.
  • Up to 1.4 TB/s of effective memory bandwidth and 2.3 GB L3 cache per VM, up to 12 GB/s (reads) and 7 GB/s (writes) of block device SSD performance.
  • 400 Gb/s NDR InfiniBand from NVIDIA Networking to enable supercomputer-scale MPI workloads.


Azure Files geo-redundancy for standard large file shares (preview)

Azure Files geo-redundancy for large file shares is now in public preview for standard SMB file shares. Azure Files has supported large file shares for several years which not only provides file share capacity up to 100TiB but improved IO operations per second (IOPS) and throughput as well. Large file shares are widely adopted by customers using locally redundant storage (LRS) and zone-redundant storage (ZRS) but has not been available for geo-redundant storage (GRS) and geo-zone redundant storage (GZRS) until now. Geo-redundancy is critical for meeting various compliance and regulatory requirements. Geo-redundant storage asynchronously replicates to a secondary region and if the primary region becomes unavailable, you can initiate a failover to the secondary region.

New features in Azure Container Storage (preview)

Azure Container Storage, a unique storage service built natively for containers, is introducing several new features in preview to enhance the performance, reliability, and backup experience for its customers. Among the new features are volume snapshot, which allows you to capture the point-in-time state of persistent volumes, enabling you to back up data before applying changes. Additionally, the scalability target of Persistent Volumes has increased, empowering you to easily scale up your storage footprint. This means you can focus on building data services without worrying about the limitations of the underlying infrastructure.

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