Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (September 2023 – Weeks: 35 and 36)

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.



Trusted launch as default for VMs deployed through the Azure portal

Azure has introduced “Trusted launch” as a default feature for virtual machines deployed through the Azure portal. Trusted launch hardens Azure virtual machines with security features, ensuring that administrators deploy VMs with verified and signed bootloaders, OS kernels, and a boot policy. The feature encompasses secure boot, vTPM, and boot integrity monitoring, offering protection against boot kits, rootkits, and kernel-level malware. Secure Boot ensures that only signed OSes and drivers boot, while the Virtual TPM (vTPM) safeguards keys, certificates, and secrets within the virtual machine. Additionally, Boot integrity monitoring, in conjunction with Microsoft Azure Attestation and Azure Security Center, provides integrity alerts, recommendations, and remediation actions if remote attestation fails.


Azure Firewall Single-Click Upgrade and Downgrade Now in General Availability

Azure has introduced a new capability for its Firewall service, allowing users to seamlessly upgrade from the Standard SKU to the Premium SKU, and vice versa. This enhancement simplifies the upgrade and downgrade process, ensuring that users can make these changes without any service interruptions. With just a single click, Azure customers can now easily transition between the two firewall versions. This feature is especially beneficial for those looking to leverage the advanced functionalities of the Premium SKU or revert to the Standard SKU based on their requirements. The Azure Firewall Single-Click Upgrade and Downgrade feature was officially made available on August 31, 2023.

Azure Container Apps support for UDR, NAT Gateway, and smaller subnets

Azure has announced the general availability of Azure Container Apps support for User Defined Routes (UDR), NAT Gateway, and smaller subnets. This enhancement provides users with more flexibility and control over their networking configurations, allowing for more customized and optimized network setups. Azure Container Apps is a fully managed platform for building and running microservices and APIs. With this update, users can now leverage UDR to define custom routes, utilize NAT Gateway for outbound connectivity, and deploy in smaller subnets for more granular network segmentation.

Azure Firewall: Explicit Proxy (preview)

Microsoft Azure has recently introduced a public preview of the Azure Firewall Explicit Proxy. This new feature is designed to enhance the security and performance of Azure’s firewall services. As it is currently in public preview, users can explore its functionalities and provide feedback to help improve the service before its general release. For more details and to stay updated on further developments, you can visit the official announcement page.

Azure Firewall: Auto-Learn SNAT Routes Feature Now in Public Preview (preview)

Azure has introduced a new feature in public preview, named “Auto-Learn SNAT Routes”, promising to simplify and expedite network configurations. This feature allows the Azure Firewall to automatically learn address ranges and configure them to be excluded from SNAT, thereby reducing the time and complexity spent on manually defining private SNAT ranges. To utilize this feature, the Azure Route Server needs to be deployed in the same virtual network as the Azure Firewall. Released on August 31, 2023, this feature promises to be a valuable tool for network administrators seeking to optimize their processes. For more information, you can visit the official page.


Azure Premium SSD v2 Disk Storage Now Available in Select Regions

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Azure Premium SSD v2 Disk Storage in several regions, including Australia East, France Central, Norway East, and UAE North. This new offering promises to deliver high-quality storage performance while ensuring security and reliability. Users in these regions can now benefit from the advanced storage features offered by Azure, helping to enhance the efficiency and resilience of their systems. For further details, you can visit the official page.

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