Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (March 2024 – Weeks: 09 and 10)

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.



Retirement of Cloud Services (classic) Deployment Model

Azure has announced the retirement of the Cloud Services (classic) deployment model on August 31, 2024. Users are encouraged to migrate their services to Cloud Services (extended support) within Azure Resource Manager before this date to avoid service disruption. This transition enables access to new capabilities such as deployment templates, role-based access control, and regional resiliency.

Change Actor in Azure Resource Graph (preview)

Azure introduces the public preview of Change Actor in Azure Resource Graph, a tool that enhances audit, troubleshooting, and governance capabilities. This feature allows users to identify who made changes to resources, the client used for the change, and the operation called. By integrating Change Actor functionality, Azure offers improved visibility and control over resource changes, facilitating better management across tenants and subscriptions.


New Generation AMD VMs – Dasv6/Easv6/Fasv6 (preview)

Azure announces the public preview of the new generation AMD-based VMs, leveraging the 4th Generation AMD EPYC™ 9004 (Genoa) CPU. These VMs, available in Dasv6, Easv6, and Fasv6 series, offer enhanced performance and reliability. They support various memory to core ratios, catering to general-purpose, memory-optimized, and compute-optimized needs. Equipped with Azure Boost and NVMe interfaces, these VMs promise up to 80% better remote storage performance, faster local storage speeds, and improved networking bandwidth. Initially available in the East US 2 region, these VMs represent a significant expansion in Azure’s AMD VM offerings.


Azure Route Server Now Available in ItalyNorth Azure Region

Azure Route Server has been introduced to the ItalyNorth Azure Region, offering simplified dynamic routing between network virtual appliances (NVAs) and Azure virtual networks. This service facilitates the direct exchange of routing information via the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) without the manual configuration of route tables. Azure Route Server, as a fully managed service, ensures high availability and seamless integration with the Azure Software Defined Network (SDN), enhancing network management and efficiency.

Azure Virtual Network Encryption Expanded to Additional Regions

Azure has extended its Virtual Network encryption feature to additional regions, including West US, East US, Europe, and more. This enhancement allows for the encryption of traffic within the same virtual network and across peered networks, bolstering security for data in transit. The expansion of this feature underscores Azure’s commitment to providing robust security options for its users.

Application Gateway for Containers

Microsoft Azure has announced the general availability of Application Gateway for Containers, marking a significant evolution in application load balancing technology. This service enhances the capabilities of the traditional Application Gateway and its Ingress Controller by offering advanced layer 7 load balancing and dynamic traffic management for Kubernetes workloads. With features like Custom Health Probes, URL Redirect, and URL/Header Rewrite, the service ensures near-to-real-time updates in response to changes within the Kubernetes environment. The general availability version also introduces Controller High Availability, Gateway API v1 integration, additional regional availability, and a service level agreement (SLA) to support production workloads confidently.

Azure Application Gateway introduces support for TLS and TCP protocols (preview)

Azure Application Gateway expands its functionality by introducing support for TLS and TCP protocols in public preview. This enhancement allows for the utilization of Application Gateway in non-HTTP applications, catering to protocols such as SQL, MQTT, and AMQP. It facilitates the use of custom domains with Application Gateway’s TLS certificate management, ensuring secure connections for clients and access to any backend service. Moreover, this feature provides a unified endpoint for client access, as a single Application Gateway resource can now support both Layer 7 (HTTP/S) and Layer 4 (TCP and TLS) protocols. Available for Standard V2 and Web Application Firewall V2 SKUs, this update broadens the scope of Application Gateway’s capabilities.

Internet inbound for Network Virtual Appliances in Virtual WAN Hubs (preview)

The introduction of Internet inbound (Destination NAT) for Next-Generation Firewall Network Virtual Appliances (NVAs) in Virtual WAN hubs is now in public preview. This feature enables network administrators to publish applications to a wider internet audience without directly exposing the application or server’s public IP. Instead, users access applications through a public IP address assigned to a Firewall NVA, which is configured to filter, translate, and control access to backend applications. With the ability to associate public IP addresses to Firewall NVAs deployed in Virtual WAN Hubs and utilize NVA management and orchestration software, Virtual WAN customers can now seamlessly program both the Virtual WAN infrastructure and the NVAs to accept and forward inbound traffic, enhancing security and accessibility.


Azure File Sync Agent v17.2 Release

The Azure File Sync Agent v17.2 has been officially released, consolidating improvements and fixes from its predecessors, versions 17.0 and 17.1. This update is crucial for users with the Azure File Sync agent version 16 or below, as both versions 16.2 and 17.2 are now available for update. This version marks the final planned release for Windows Server 2012 R2, with support for this server ending on March 4th, 2025. The agent is compatible with Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, and 2022, providing enhanced functionality and stability.

Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier SLA

As of August 10th, 2023, Azure Blob Storage Cold Tier is generally available, providing a cost-effective solution for long-term storage of infrequently accessed data. The service level agreement (SLA) for Azure Blob Storage now includes this new online access tier, ensuring Microsoft’s commitment to uptime and connectivity.

Encryption at Host for Premium SSD v2 and Ultra Disks Expanded

Encryption at host for Premium SSD v2 and Ultra Disks is now generally available in additional regions including Canada East, West Europe, South Central US, and West US 3. This feature enhances security by starting encryption at the VM host level, ensuring data is encrypted at rest and in transit to the Storage service. The expansion of this feature demonstrates Azure’s ongoing commitment to providing secure and reliable cloud storage options.

Azure NetApp Files Volume Enhancement (preview)

Azure NetApp Files introduces a significant enhancement in public preview, allowing volumes in different availability zones within the same region to share the same volume mount path. This feature supports highly available architectures through cross-zone replication, simplifying automation and minimizing manual intervention during disaster recovery failovers. It is applicable to SMB, NFS, and dual-protocol volumes, facilitating improved recovery times and data availability across various scenarios, including host-based replication and test/dev environments.


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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