Azure Management services: what’s new in December 2023

This month, Microsoft introduced a series of significant updates to the Azure management services. Through this series of monthly articles, the aim is to offer an overview of the most relevant news. The goal is to keep you constantly informed about these developments, providing you with the essential information to further explore these topics.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles:

Figure 1 – Overview of Management Services in Azure


Azure Automation

Retirement of Azure Automation Services – August 31, 2024

Microsoft has announced that on August 31, 2024, two services in Azure Automation will be retired: the Update Management service and the Change Tracking and Inventory service, both using the Log Analytics agent.

  1. Retirement of the Azure Automation Update Management service: This service, currently used for update management and system maintenance, will no longer be available after August 31, 2024. Users are encouraged to migrate to alternative solutions offered by Azure to maintain effectiveness in managing their system updates.
  2. Retirement of the Change Tracking and Inventory service with Log Analytics Agent: Similarly, the Change Tracking and Inventory service, which utilizes the Log Analytics agent in Azure Automation, will end its operations on the same date. Customers are invited to explore and adopt other solutions provided by Azure to effectively manage change tracking and inventory management of IT resources.

Microsoft urges its users to take timely action to ensure a smooth transition to the new proposed solutions, thus ensuring continuity and efficiency in managing their IT infrastructures.


Azure Cost Management

Updates related to Microsoft Cost Management

Microsoft is constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance Microsoft Cost Management, their solution designed to provide greater transparency on cloud costs, identify and prevent inefficient spending patterns, and optimize overall costs. During 2023, numerous improvements and significant updates have been implemented to this solution. These updates aim to make Microsoft Cost Management even more effective in providing its users with the information and tools necessary to manage cloud expenses more efficiently and consciously.


Microsoft Defender for Cloud

New features, bug fixes, and deprecated features of Microsoft Defender for Cloud

The development of Microsoft Defender for Cloud is constantly evolving, and improvements are introduced on an ongoing basis. To stay up-to-date on the most recent developments, Microsoft updates this page, which provides information on new features, bug fixes, and deprecated features. Specifically, this month’s main news includes:

  • Defender for Servers at the resource level: it is now possible to manage Defender for Servers on specific resources within one’s subscription, allowing full control over the protection strategy. This capability allows for configuring specific resources with custom settings different from those configured at the subscription level.
  • Retirement of the classic multi-cloud connectors: the experience of the classic multi-cloud connectors has been retired, and data is no longer transmitted to connectors created through that mechanism. The new native multi-cloud connectors, available for AWS and GCP since March 2022 without additional costs, completely replace the value of these classic connectors.
  • Release of the coverage workbook: this tool allows monitoring which Defender for Cloud plans are active on which parts of the environment, helping to ensure complete protection of environments and subscriptions.
  • Vulnerability assessment for Container Images in Azure Government and Azure managed by 21Vianet: vulnerability assessment for Linux container images in Azure is now also available in Azure Government and Azure managed by 21Vianet.
  • Support for Windows in the Container Vulnerability Assessment (preview): support for Windows images has been released in public preview as part of the vulnerability assessment for Azure and Azure Kubernetes Services container registries.
  • Agentless container security posture for AWS in Defender for Containers and Defender CSPM (preview): the new agentless capabilities of container security posture are now available for AWS.
  • Support for PostgreSQL Flexible Server in the Defender plan for open-source relational databases: Microsoft has announced support for PostgreSQL Flexible Server in the Microsoft Defender plan for open-source relational databases.


Azure Backup

Crash Consistent Multi-Disk VM Restore Points

Microsoft recently announced the introduction of support for the ‘Crash Consistent’ multi-disk mode in virtual machine (VM) restore points. This feature provides an agentless solution that captures and preserves both the VM configuration and write- and timing-consistent snapshots for all managed disks connected to the VM. The captured state is equivalent to that of the data present in the VM in the event of a power outage or system crash. This innovation aims to significantly improve reliability and data management in Azure infrastructures.

Azure Site Recovery

New Update Rollup

Update Rollup 70 has been released for Azure Site Recovery. This update brings significant improvements in terms of functionality and service stability, consolidating Azure Site Recovery’s position as a reliable solution for disaster recovery. The related details and the procedure to follow for installation can be found in the specific KB.


Azure Migrate

‘As on-premises’ in Azure Migrate SQL Discovery and Assessment (preview)

Azure Migrate has introduced the new ‘As on-premises’ sizing policy for SQL instance assessments. This feature allows for quick and accurate analysis of SQL instances identified by the Azure Migrate appliance. The ‘As on-premises’ policy is based on the source SQL instance configuration to provide appropriate sizing recommendations for the target Azure SQL service. Additionally, if performance data is available, an assessment can be carried out based on these performances to obtain customized SKU recommendations for the source workload on Azure. In cases where performance data is not available for some specific instances, the ‘As on-premises’ sizing is employed to ensure precise and reliable target sizing.

New releases and features of Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate is the service in Azure that includes a broad portfolio of tools that can be used, through a guided user experience, to effectively address the most common migration scenarios. To stay updated on the latest developments of the solution, you can consult this page, which provides information on new releases and new features.

Azure Evaluation

For those who wish to explore and personally evaluate the services offered by Azure, a unique opportunity is available: by accessing this page, you can test various features and services for free. This will allow you to better understand how Azure can adapt and improve your IT operations, while ensuring security and innovation.

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