Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (August 2023 – Weeks: 31 and 32)

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.



Cloud Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) by Palo Alto Networks – an Azure Native ISV Service

Cloud NGFW by Palo Alto Networks is the first ISV next-generation firewall service natively integrated in Azure. Developed through a collaboration between Microsoft and Palo Alto Networks, this service delivers the cutting-edge security features of Palo Alto Network’s NGFW technology while also offering the simplicity and convenience of cloud-native scaling and management.
NGFWs provide superior network security by offering enhanced capabilities compared to traditional firewalls. These include deep packet inspection, advanced visibility and control features, and the use of AI to improve threat detection and response. The service is now more broadly available in the following 12 regions: US (Central, East, East 2, West, West 3), Australia (East, Southeast), UK (South, West), Canada Central, East Asia and West Europe.

Route Server hub routing preference (preview)

Azure Route Server now supports hub routing preference in public preview. When branch-to-branch is enabled and Route Server learns multiple routes across site-to-site (S2S) VPN, ExpressRoute, and SD-WAN NVAs, for the same on-premises destination route prefix, users can now configure connection preferences to influence Route Server route selection.

Support for new custom error pages in Application Gateway (preview)

In addition to the response codes 403 and 502, the Azure Application Gateway now lets you configure company-branded error pages for more response codes: 400, 405, 408, 500, 503, and 504. You can configure these error pages at a global level to apply to all the listeners on your gateway or individually for each listener. The custom error pages you set are displayed to the clients when the Application Gateway generates these response codes. You can host these error page files at any publicly accessible URLs.


Azure NetApp Files: SMB Continuous Availability (CA) shares

To enhance resiliency during storage service maintenance operations, SMB volumes used by Citrix App Layering, FSLogix user profile containers and Microsoft SQL Server on Microsoft Windows Server can be enabled with Continuous Availability. Continuous Availability enables SMB Transparent Failover to eliminate disruptions as a result of service maintenance events and improves reliability and user experience. This feature is now Generally Available. It can be enabled on new or existing SMB volumes.

Zone Redundant Storage for Azure Disks is now available in East Asia

Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) for Azure Disk Storage is now generally available on Azure Premium SSDs and Standard SSDs in East Asia region.

Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier

Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier is now generally available. It is a new online access tier that is the most cost-effective Azure Blob offering for storing infrequently accessed data with long-term retention requirements, while providing instant access. Azure Blob Storage is optimized for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. With blob access tiers, you can store your data most cost-effectively based on how frequently it will be accessed and how long it will be retained. The pricing of the cold tier storage option lies between the cool and archive tiers, and it follows a 90-day early deletion policy. You can seamlessly utilize the cold tier in the same way as the hot and cool tiers, through REST API, SDKs, tools, and lifecycle management policies.

Azure Premium SSD v2 Disk Storage is available in more regions

Azure Premium SSD v2 Disk Storage is now available in Brazil South, East Asia and Central India regions. This next-generation storage solution offers advanced general-purpose block storage with the best price performance, delivering sub-millisecond disk latencies for demanding IO-intensive workloads at a low cost. It is well-suited for a wide range of enterprise production workloads, including SQL Server, Oracle, MariaDB, SAP, Cassandra, MongoDB, big data analytics, gaming on virtual machines, and stateful containers.

Azure Storage Mover support for SMB and Azure Files (preview)

Azure Storage Mover can now migrate your SMB shares to Azure file shares. Storage Mover is a fully managed migration service that enables you to migrate on-premises files and folders to Azure Storage while minimizing downtime for your workload. Besides the existing general available capability to migrate from an on-premises NFS share to an Azure blob container, Storage Mover will support many additional source and target combinations in the near future.

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