Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (January 2024 – Weeks: 03 and 04)

This blog post series highlights the key announcements and major updates related to Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Azure Stack, as officially released by Microsoft in the past two weeks.



Azure Cloud Services (Classic) Retirement

Microsoft has announced the retirement of its Azure Cloud Services (Classic) deployment model, effective August 31, 2024. This decision marks a significant shift towards more advanced and modern cloud solutions. Users of Azure Cloud Services (Classic) are encouraged to migrate their services to Cloud Services (Extended Support) in Azure Resource Manager, which offers new capabilities and improved efficiency. This transition is vital for maintaining service continuity and accessing enhanced features.


Automatic Image Creation

Azure has announced the general availability of its Automatic Image Creation service. This feature simplifies the process of creating and managing virtual machine images, allowing for automation and streamlining of deployments. The general availability of this service underscores Azure’s commitment to providing efficient and user-friendly solutions in cloud computing.

Upgrade of Azure Gen1 VMs to Gen2-Trusted Launch (private preview)

Microsoft has announced a private preview that allows users to upgrade their existing Azure Generation 1 (Gen1) virtual machines (VMs) to Generation 2 (Gen2) with Trusted Launch support. This upgrade enhances the foundational security of existing Azure VMs by enabling features like Secure Boot and vTPM capabilities, integral to the Trusted Launch service. Trusted Launch provides a robust security framework for Azure VMs, ensuring boot integrity and protection against advanced threats. The service works by ensuring that only signed operating systems and drivers can boot, establishing a root of trust for the VM software stack. It supports a wide range of compute-optimized, memory-optimized, and storage-optimized VM sizes, as well as multiple operating systems including various versions of Linux and Windows. Notably, this upgrade doesn’t increase existing VM pricing, making it an attractive option for users seeking enhanced security without additional costs.


Azure Virtual Network Encryption

Microsoft has released the general availability of Azure Virtual Network Encryption, providing an additional layer of security for data in transit. This new feature ensures that data moving within a virtual network is encrypted, enhancing protection against potential threats and unauthorized access. The availability of this feature signifies Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to offering robust security solutions in its cloud services.

Load Balancer in Azure API Management (preview)

Microsoft has introduced a public preview of the Load Balancer in Azure API Management. This feature aims to optimize the distribution of user requests across various servers, ensuring efficient resource utilization and improved response times. The introduction of this load balancer in the preview phase allows users to test and provide feedback, helping Microsoft enhance the feature before its full-scale release.


Over the past two weeks, Microsoft has introduced a slew of updates and announcements pertaining to Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Azure Stack. These developments underscore the tech giant’s unwavering commitment to enhancing its cloud offerings and adapting to the ever-evolving needs of businesses and developers. Users of Azure can anticipate improved functionalities, streamlined services, and enriched features as a result of these changes. Stay tuned for more insights as I continue to monitor and report on Azure’s progression in the cloud sphere.

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