Archivi categoria: Announcements and updates

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (January 2020 – Weeks: 01 and 02)

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.

Azure

Azure Lab Services updates

Azure DevTest Labs recently released different updates:

  • Enables multiple owners to manage a lab.
  • Added the ability to automatically shut down virtual machines when a users’ remote desktop (RDP) session is disconnected (Windows).
  • Integration with Azure Bastion, enabling you to connect to your lab virtual machines through a web browser.
  • It automatically installs the necessary GPU drivers for you when you create a lab with GPU machines. You no longer have to figure out which GPU driver to use on your own.

Azure File Sync agent version 5.x will expire on February 12th

To continuously improve Azure File Sync, Microsoft can only support old versions of the agent for a limited time. On February 12, 2020, Azure File Sync agent version 5.x will be expired and stop syncing. If you have servers with agent version 5.x, update to a supported agent version (6.x or later). If you don’t update your servers before February 12, 2020, they will stop syncing. To resume syncing, the agent must be updated to a supported version.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2019 – Weeks: 51 and 52)

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.

Azure

Serial console for Azure Virual Machines available in US Government Cloud

Serial console is available in preview in the Azure US Government Cloud, allowing customers in the government-only clouds to access the serial console of their VMs or virtual machine scale set instances.

Azure Data Box Disk is available in the East Asia

Data Box Disk is an SSD-disk-based option for offline data transfer to Azure. It’s ideal for a recurring or one-time data migration of up to 40 TB to Azure and is especially well suited for data migration from multiple remote or branch offices. Azure Data Box Disk is now available in the East Asia (Hong Kong) region. This is in addition to the other Azure regions where Data Box Disk is already available: US, EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Azure Government (US).

Azure Bastion generally available in East US 2 and West US 2

Azure Bastion is generally available in two more Azure public cloud regions, East US 2 and West US 2. Azure Bastion is a managed PaaS service that provides secure and seamless RDP/SSH connectivity to your virtual machines directly in the Azure portal over SSL and without any public IPs on your virtual machines.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2019 – Weeks: 49 and 50)

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.

Azure

Azure Dedicated Hosts now generally available

Azure Dedicated Host provides a single-tenant physical server to host your Azure virtual machines for Windows and Linux. The server capacity is not shared with other customers. As a result, you can run general purpose, memory intensive or compute intensive workloads in a hardware-isolated and virtualized server environment dedicated to your organization. With Azure Dedicated Host, you can address specific compliance requirements while increasing visibility and control over your underlying infrastructure.

General Availability of Proximity Placement Groups

Azure proximity placement groups, now in General Availability,  enable customers to achieve co-location of Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) resources with low network latency.

Azure Spot VMs in Preview

Azure Spot VMs let you access unused Azure compute capacity at deep discounts compared to pay-as-you-go VM prices. Spot VMs are ideal for workloads that can be interrupted, providing scalability while reducing costs. You get unique Azure pricing and benefits when running Windows Server workloads on Spot VMs.
You can take advantage of Spot VM pricing for Azure VMs or VM scale sets (VMSS). Select the right deployment model based on your preferences and the characteristics of your application. Like their low-priority VMs predecessors, Spot VMs are engineered to run workloads that don’t need to be completed within a specific timeframe.

New bot protection rule in preview for Web Application Firewall with Azure Front Door service

A new bot protection ruleset is in preview for Azure Web Application Firewall with Azure Front Door service. Adding to this updated ruleset are three bot categories: good, bad, and unknown. There are multiple bot groups within each category. Bot signatures are managed and dynamically updated by Web Application Firewall service. The default action for bad bot groups is set to Block, for the verified search engine crawlers group it’s set to Allow, and for the unknown bot category it’s set to Log. Customers may overwrite the default action with Allow, Block, Log, or Redirect for any type of bot groups. 

Maintenance control for platform updates in preview

The preview of a maintenance control feature for Azure Virtual Machines gives more control to customers with highly sensitive workloads for platform maintenance, running on an Azure Dedicated Host or an Isolated VM, where the underlying physical server runs a single customer’s workload. This feature is not supported for VMs deployed in hosts shared with other customers. Using this feature, customers can control all impactful host updates, including rebootless updates, for up to 35 days.

Azure Private Link support in AKS is in preview

AKS now supports Azure Private Link in public preview. With Azure Private Link in AKS, customers can interact with the Kubernetes API server as a private endpoint in their virtual network, ensuring that all Kubernetes management operations remain completely isolated. Because Private Link provides private connectivity from the customer’s virtual network to the Azure-managed Kubernetes control plane, customers can still get all the benefits of AKS but in an even more secure configuration.

Application Gateway Ingress Controller for Azure Kubernetes Service

A new solution to bind Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Application Gateway. This new solution provides an open source Application Gateway Ingress Controller (AGIC) for Kubernetes, which makes it possible for AKS customers to leverage Application Gateway to expose their cloud software to the Internet. Bringing together the benefits of the Azure Kubernetes Service, our managed Kubernetes service, which makes it easy to operate advanced Kubernetes environments and Azure Application Gateway, our native, scalable, and highly available, L7 load balancer has been highly requested by our customers.

HC-Series VMs are now available in South Central US

HC-Series Hi Performance Computing VMs now available in South Central US

Azure Cost Management updates

New updates to Azure Cost Management help you manage costs for cloud solution provider (CSP) subscriptions, build better dashboards by customizing tile names, save money with Azure reservations for 16 different services, along with additional enhancements.

Azure Migrate: Agentless dependency analysis is now available in preview

Azure Migrate now supports agentless dependency analysis in a limited preview. The dependency data is discovered remotely by the Azure Migrate appliance without the installation of any agent or script on virtual machines. This feature is currently available only for VMware servers.

Microsoft plans to establish new cloud datacenter region in Qatar

Microsoft recently announced plans to establish a new cloud datacenter region in Qatar to deliver its intelligent, trusted cloud services and expand the Microsoft global cloud infrastructure to 55 cloud regions in 20 countries. he new region is anticipated to be available starting with Microsoft Azure in 2021, and Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to follow.

Azure File Sync agent v9.1

Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • Self-service restore support: users can now restore their files by using the previous version feature. Prior to the v9 release, the previous version feature was not supported on volumes that had cloud tiering enabled. This feature must be enabled for each volume separately, on which an endpoint with cloud tiering enabled exists. 
  • Support for larger file share sizes: Azure File Sync now supports up to 64TiB and 100 million files in a single, syncing namespace.
  • Data Deduplication support on Server 2019: Data Deduplication is now supported with cloud tiering enabled on Windows Server 2019. To support Data Deduplication on volumes with cloud tiering, Windows update KB4520062 must be installed.
  • Improved minimum file size for a file to tier: The minimum file size for a file to tier is now based on the file system cluster size (double the file system cluster size). For example, by default, the NTFS file system cluster size is 4KB, the resulting minimum file size for a file to tier is 8KB.
  • Network connectivity test cmdlet: As part of Azure File Sync configuration, multiple service endpoints must be contacted. They each have their own DNS name that needs to be accessible to the server. These URLs are also specific to the region a server is registered to. Once a server is registered, the connectivity test cmdlet (PowerShell and Server Registration Utility) can be used to test communications with all URLs specific to this server. This cmdlet can help troubleshoot when incomplete communication prevents the server from fully working with Azure File Sync and it can be used to fine tune proxy and firewall configurations.
    • To run the network connectivity test, run the following PowerShell commands:
      • Import-Module “<SyncAgentInstallPath>\StorageSync.Management.ServerCmdlets.dll”
      • Test-StorageSyncNetworkConnectivity
  • Remove server endpoint improvement when cloud tiering is enabled: As before, removing a server endpoint does not result in removing files in the Azure file share. However, behavior for reparse points on the local server has changed. Reparse points (pointers to files that are not local on the server) are now deleted when removing a server endpoint. The fully cached files will remain on the server. This improvement was made to prevent orphaned tiered files when removing a server endpoint. If the server endpoint is recreated, the reparse points for the tiered files will be recreated on the server.
  • Performance and reliability improvements
    • Reduced recall failures. Recall size is now automatically adjusted based on network bandwidth.
    • Improved download performance when adding a new server to a sync group.
    • Reduced files not syncing due to constraint conflicts.

Installation instructions are documented in KB4522360.

Azure Stack

Microsoft has validated the Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 edge server for Azure Stack HCI

Microsoft and Lenovo have teamed up to validate the Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 for Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI program. The ThinkSystem SE350 was designed and built with the unique requirements of edge servers in mind. It is versatile enough to stretch the limitations of server locations, providing a variety of connectivity and security options and can be easily managed with Lenovo XClarity Controller. The ThinkSystem SE350 solution has a focus on smart connectivity, business security, and manageability for the harsh environment.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2019 – Weeks: 47 and 48)

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.

Azure

Microsoft cloud in Norway opens with availability of Microsoft Azure

Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Azure from the new cloud datacenter regions in Norway, marking a major milestone as the first global cloud provider to deliver enterprise-grade services in country. The new cloud regions in Norway are targeted to expand in 2020 with Office 365, one of the world’s leading cloud-based productivity solutions, and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, the next generation of intelligent business applications and tools.

Azure Migrate now supports assessment of physical servers

Support to assess physical servers is now available in Azure preview, in addition to existing support for VMware and Hyper-V servers. The appliance for physical servers can be installed on an existing Windows server. This feature can be used to assess virtual machines where there is no access to the hypervisor, as well as virtual machines on any cloud.

Azure Migrate: assessment of imported servers is supported in preview

Azure Migrate now supports the assessment of server inventories imported using a CSV file. Import the servers into Azure Migrate server assessment by adding server details in a CSV file as per the available template, deploying an appliance isn’t required. This is useful if you’re looking for a quick assessment using CMDB inventory or if you’re waiting for approvals to deploy the Azure Migrate appliance. Performance-based assessments can be run as well by specifying utilization values in the CSV.

Azure DevTest Labs: Azure managed identities to deploy lab environments

Azure managed identities to deploy lab environments As a lab owner, you can now use a user assigned managed identity to deploy environments in a lab. This feature is helpful in scenarios where the environment contains or has references to Azure resources such as key vaults, shared image galleries, and networks that are external to the environment’s resource group. It enables creation of sandbox environments that aren’t limited to the resource group of that environment only.

Azure DevTest Labs: New Dashboard with Cost Estimator

Azure Lab Services added a dashboard view enabling instructors to view the summary of the lab. On the dashboard, you will be able to see cost estimate for the lab based on size of the virtual machine picked, number of students, quota hours and scheduled hours.

HPC Specialized VMs (GPU) – NVv4-Series in preview

NVv4 offers unprecedented GPU resourcing flexibility, giving customers more choice than ever before. Customers can select from VMs with a whole GPU all the way down to 1/8th of a GPU. This makes entry-level and low-intensity GPU workloads more cost-effective than ever before, while still giving customers the option to scale up to powerful full-GPU processing power. NVv4 Virtual Machines support up to 32 vCPUs, 112GB of RAM, and 16 GB of GPU memory.

Kubernetes cluster health with Azure Monitor for containers

Azure Monitor for containers can now monitor and report health status of Kubernetes cluster infrastructure components and all nodes running on any Kubernetes cluster.

Azure private endpoint support for Azure Cosmos DB in preview

Azure private endpoint for Azure Cosmos DB is a network interface that connects you privately and securely to a service powered by Azure Private Link. Private Endpoint uses a private IP address from your virtual network, effectively bringing the service into your virtual network.

 

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (November 2019 – Weeks: 45 and 46)

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.

In this dedicated post you can find the most important announcements and major updates officialized last week during Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference.

Azure

Save more on Azure usage: reservations for six more services

With reserved capacity, you get significant discounts over your on-demand costs by committing to long-term usage of a service. Microsoft is pleased to share reserved capacity offerings for the following additional services:

  • Blob Storage (GPv2) and Azure Data Lake Storage (Gen2).
  • Azure Database for MySQL.
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
  • Azure Database for MariaDB.
  • Azure Data Explorer.
  • Premium SSD Managed Disks.

With the addition of these services, Microsoft supports reservations for 16 services, giving you more options to save and get better cost predictability across more workloads.

Azure Key Vault Virtual Machine extension generally available

The Azure Key Vault Virtual Machine extension makes it easier for apps running on virtual machines to use certificates from a key vault, by abstracting the common tasks as well as best practices.

Azure Disk Encryption

Azure Disk Encryption enables you to encrypt your Azure Virtual Machine disks with your keys safeguarded in Azure Key Vault. Previously this capability was available through PowerShell and CLI, now this capability is also available in the Azure portal, which makes it very easy to use. Microsoft has also added support for the latest versions of the common Linux distros on Azure, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 and 7.7 as well as CentOS Linux 7.6 and 7.7.

HB and HC Virtual Machines in additional regions

The HB-series VMs are optimized for HPC applications driven by memory bandwidth, such as fluid dynamics, explicit finite element analysis, and weather modeling. The HB-Series VM is now available in East US. HC-series VMs are optimized for HPC applications driven by intensive computation, such as implicit finite element analysis, reservoir simulation, and computational chemistry. The HC-Series VM is now available in Japan East. 

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (Microsoft Ignite 2019 – Special Edition)

This special edition includes the most important announcements and major updates regarding Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Azure Stack, officialized by Microsoft this week during Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference. Microsoft announced several important additions to its Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) portfolio and the Microsoft infrastructure services continue to evolve to optimize the experience of running business-critical workloads.

Azure

Azure Arc: Extended Azure management and security to any infrastructure

Azure Arc enables Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure for unified management, governance and control across clouds, datacenters and edge. They look and feel just like Azure resources, and they provide unified auditing, compliance, and role based access control across multiple environments and at scale.
As a result, customers can modernize any infrastructure with cloud management and security protection. With cloud practices that work anywhere, Microsoft is delivering these resources, from cloud to datacenter to edge, and enabling cloud security anywhere.
With Azure Arc, customers can now take advantage of Azure’s robust cloud management experience for their own servers (Linux and Windows Server) and Kubernetes clusters by extending Azure management across environments.
Customers can seamlessly inventory, organize, and govern their own resources at scale through a consistent and unified experience through the Azure Portal.

Virtual Machines

Azure generation 2 virtual machines generally available

Generation 2 virtual machines are now generally available on Azure. Generation 2 VMs provide support for Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX), UEFI boot architecture, and the ability to provision large VMs (up to 12TB) and OS Disks sizes that exceed 2TB. 

Proximity placement groups generally available

A proximity placement group is a logical grouping capability for Azure Virtual Machines that you can use to decrease the network latency between a set of virtual machines. When you assign your virtual machines to a proximity placement group, their placement is optimized to deliver lower latency for your latency-sensitive workloads. Now this feature is generally available in most Azure regions.

Azure VMware Solutions available in West Europe

Azure VMware Solutions are available in the West Europe Azure region. Azure VMware Solutions delivers the ability to run your VMware environment natively on Azure. This gives you the option to leverage your existing VMware skills and investments while taking full advantage of the scale and automation Azure offers. Azure VMware Solutions is now supported in East US, West US, and West Europe regions.

Azure Spot VMs

Azure Spot Virtual Machines, give you access to unused Azure compute capacity at deep discounts, will be available soon (we expect to preview this by early 2020). Spot Virtual Machines will be ideal for workloads that can be interrupted, providing scalability while reducing costs. You will be able to take advantage of Spot Virtual Machine pricing for Azure Virtual Machines or Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS) to deploy opportunistic workloads of all sizes.

New virtual machine scale sets capabilities in preview

New virtual machine scale sets features simplify the management of virtual machines while improving their runtime and performance capabilities.

Vulnerability assessment in Azure Security Center

Applications that are installed in virtual machines could often have vulnerabilities that could lead to a breach of the virtual machine. Microsoft announced that the Security Center Standard tier includes built-in vulnerability assessment for virtual machines for no additional fee.

Advanced data security for SQL servers on Azure Virtual Machines

Azure Security Center’s support for threat protection and vulnerability assessment for SQL DBs running on IaaS virtual machines (VMs) is in preview.

New Azure Dav4-series and Eav4-series virtual machines

New Azure Dav4-series and Eav4-series virtual machines (VMs) based on AMD EPYC™ are available. They are ideal for general purpose (Dav4-series) and memory intensive workloads (Eav4-series).

New NVv4 series Azure Virtual Machines in preview 

NVv4 (currently in preview) offers, for Windows Virtual Desktops and high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, enhanced GPU resourcing flexibility, giving customers more choice by offering partitioned GPUs built using industry-standard SR-IOV technology. Customers can select the right size of GPU Virtual Machines with as little as 2GB of dedicated GPU frame buffer for an entry-level desktop in the cloud, and up to the whole GPU with 16GB of frame buffer to provide powerful engineering workstations.

Updated NDv2 Azure Virtual Machines preview

The NDv2-series Virtual Machines, currently in preview, are the latest, fastest, and most powerful addition to the GPU family, specifically designed for the cutting edge demands of distributed HPC, AI, and machine learning workloads.

HBv2 Azure Virtual Machines for HPC workloads coming soon

HBv2 VMs are designed to deliver supercomputer-class performance, message passing interface (MPI) scalability, and cost efficiency for a variety of real-world HPC workloads. HBv2 Virtual Machines support up to 80,000 cores for single MPI jobs to deliver performance that rivals some of the world’s largest and most powerful bare metal supercomputers.

Networking

Azure Bastion is generally available

Microsoft announced the general availability (GA) of Azure Bastion, a fully managed platform as a service (PaaS) service that provides more secure and seamless RDP and SSH access to virtual machines directly through the Azure portal.

 

Azure Firewall Manager is now in preview

Azure Firewall Manager Preview is a security management service that provides central security policy and route management for cloud-based security perimeters. It works with Azure Virtual WAN Hub, a Microsoft-managed resource that lets you easily create hub and spoke architectures. When security and routing policies are associated with such a hub, it is referred to as a Secured Virtual Hub.

Native Azure Active Directory authentication support in point-to-site VPN

Native Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication support for OpenVPN protocol, and Azure VPN Client for Windows are now available. Native Azure AD authentication support was widely requested by enterprise customers because Azure AD integration enables user-based policies, conditional access, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for P2S VPN. Native Azure AD authentication requires both Azure VPN gateway integration and a new Azure VPN Client to obtain and validate an Azure AD token.

Azure Private Link is now available in all regions

Azure Private Link, which provides private connectivity to Azure services, is now available in all regions.

Azure Peering Service in managed preview

Azure Peering Service is a partnership with service providers to provide highly reliable and optimized internet connectivity to Microsoft services. It also provides internet latency telemetry and route monitoring with alerting against hijacks, leaks, and any other BGP mal configurations.  Azure Peering Service is targeting customers with an internet-first network strategy for accessing Azure and SaaS services such as Office 365. Through partnering with internet service providers, customers are able to take advantage of optimized routing of their internet traffic to the Microsoft cloud.

Enhancements to Azure Virtual WAN

Significant enhancements include the preview of hub-to-hub and any-to-any connectivity. Virtual WAN users can connect multiple hubs for full mesh connectivity to further simplify their network architecture. Additionally, ExpressRoute and Point to Site are now Generally Available with Virtual WAN.

IPv6 for Azure Virtual Network is generally available

IPv6 support within the virtual network and to the internet enables you to expand into the growing mobile and IoT markets with Azure-based applications and to address IPv4 depletion in your own corporate networks.

Azure ExpressRoute for satellites is available

ExpressRoute, with one of the largest networking ecosystems in the public cloud, now includes satellite connectivity partners, bringing new options and coverage.

Storage

Azure Data Share is available

Azure Data Share enables organizations to easily and securely share data with other organizations to expand analytics datasets for enhanced insights.

Azure Stack 

Azure Stack, the extension of Azure that brings the innovation of cloud computing to build and deploy hybrid applications anywhere, is being renamed “Azure Stack Hub“. Also, Azure Data Box Edge, the Microsoft data-transfer devices, is being renamed as “Azure Stack Edge“.  

So, Azure Stack will expand to include a portfolio of products consisting of:

  • Azure Stack HCI
  • Azure Stack Hub (previously Azure Stack)
  • Azure Stack Edge (previously Azure Data Box Edge):
    • It is an Azure managed appliance that brings the compute, storage, and intelligence of Azure to the edge.
    • It is a first party Microsoft appliance, delivered to customers’ sites to run Azure services with no upfront costs (you pay monthly in your Azure bill).
    • Customers can use the Azure portal to order and provision Azure Stack Edge; Azure management tools are used for monitoring and running updates. 

Azure Stack Hub

Microsoft is sharing some new updates for Azure Stack Hub roadmap, including N-Series virtual machines enabled by NVIDIA V100 GPUs. It’s also announcing the general availability of Kubernetes on Azure Stack Hub. You can now easily provision Kubernetes clusters on Azure Stack Hub using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) engine to automate the creation, update, and scaling of Kubernetes clusters. In the first half of 2020, Event Hubs and Azure Stream Analytics will also be available for public preview.

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge will soon support new compute and AI capabilities including virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, NVIDIA GPU support and high-availability support. With these capabilities, Azure Stack Edge is quickly evolving to the forefront of edge computing in the market. Microsoft is also enabling private cellular networks as a service by adding the tech preview of multi-access edge compute (MEC) on Azure Stack Edge.

Azure Stack portfolio and Azure Arc

Azure Arc and Azure Stack portfolio are complementary, so you can combine the benefits of Azure Arc with Azure Stack portfolio, where Azure Arc can manage virtual machines, containers, and run Azure Data Services on Azure Stack portfolio of validated and integrated systems while leveraging the compute and cloud capabilities of Azure Stack.

Conclusions

The most important announcement from Microsoft Ignite 2019 for me is Azure Arc, the Microsoft’s new approach to hybrid. Enterprises rely on a hybrid technology approach to take advantage of their on-premises investment and, at the same time, utilize cloud innovation. As more business operations and applications expand to include edge devices and multiple clouds, hybrid capabilities must enable apps to run seamlessly across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge devices, while providing consistent management and security across all distributed locations. Hybrid cloud capabilities in Microsoft is evolving to enable innovation anywhere, while providing a seamless development, deployment and ongoing management experience.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (November 2019 – Weeks: 43 and 44)

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.

Azure

New Cost Management features

Here are the Cost Management features that are generally available as of October 2019.

Azure Mv2-series VMs with 12TB memory now GA in new regions

Azure Mv2-series Virtual Machines with 12TB memory are generally available for the US West 2, US East, US East 2, Southeast Asia, EU West and EU North regions. Azure Mv2-series virtual machines are hyper-threaded and feature Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180M 2.5GHz (Skylake) processors, offering up to 416 vCPU in 3TB, 6 TB and 12 TB memory configurations. This is by far the largest-memory virtual machine offered on Azure. Mv2-series virtual machines provide unparalleled computational performance to support large in-memory databases and workloads such as SAP HANA and SQL Hekaton.

Azure Monitor’s Service Map is available in new regions

The Service Map feature of Azure Monitor is now available in South Central US, West US, Central US, North Central US, East Asia, and Central India.  Around the world is it available in eighteen public regions. Service map automatically discovers application components on Windows and Linux systems and maps the communication between services. With service map, you can view your servers in the way that you think of them—as interconnected systems that deliver critical services. Service map shows connections between servers, processes, inbound and outbound connection latency, and ports across any TCP-connected architecture, with no configuration required other than the installation of an agent.

Server-side encryption with customer-managed keys for Azure Managed Disks (preview)

The preview for server-side encryption (SSE) with customer-managed keys (CMK) for Azure Managed Disks is available. Azure customers already benefit from server-side encryption with platform managed keys (PMK) for Azure Managed Disks enabled by default. Customers also benefit from Azure disk encryption (ADE) that leverages the BitLocker feature of Windows and the DM-Crypt feature of Linux to encrypt Managed Disks with customer managed keys within the guest virtual machine. Server-side encryption with customer-managed keys improves on platform managed keys by giving you control of the encryption keys to meet your compliance needs. It improves on Azure disk encryption by enabling you to use any OS types and images for your virtual machines by encrypting data in the storage service. Server-side encryption with customer-managed keys is integrated with Azure Key Vault (AKV) that provides highly available and scalable, secure storage for RSA cryptographic keys backed by hardware security modules (HSMs). You can either import your RSA keys to Azure Key Vault or generate new RSA keys in Azure Key Vault.

Azure File Sync is available in new regions

Azure File Sync is available in South Africa and UAE regions. To get the latest list of supported regions, see this document.

Azure File Sync agent v8 release

Azure File Sync is now on Microsoft Update and Microsoft Download Center. Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • Restore performance improvements
    • Faster recovery times for recovery done through Azure Backup.Restored files will sync back down to Azure File Sync servers much faster.
  • Improved cloud tiering portal experience
    • If you have tiered files that are failing to recall, you can now view the recall errors in the server endpoint properties. Also, the server endpoint health will now show an error and mitigation steps if the cloud tiering filter driver is not loaded on the server.
  • Simpler agent installation
    • The Az\AzureRM PowerShell module is no longer required to register the server making installation simpler and fast.
  • Miscellaneous performance and reliability improvements

More information about this release:

  • This update is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 installations that have Azure File Sync agent version 4.0.1.0 or later installed.
  • The agent version of this update rollup is 8.0.0.0.
  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the update rollup installation.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB4511224.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (October 2019 – Weeks: 41 and 42)

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.

Azure

Azure DNS private zones is now generally available

Azure DNS private zones is now production ready and backed by Azure DNS SLA. Azure DNS private zones provide reliable, secure DNS service to host, resolve and manage domain names from a virtual network without the need to add a custom DNS solution.  Azure DNS private zones enables you to effortlessly tailor your DNS namespace design to best suit your organization’s needs without having to worry about scalability, security and performance issues that arise from operating a custom DNS solution. Unlike public DNS zone, private DNS zones are not accessible over internet. DNS queries made against a private DNS zones can be resolved only from the virtual networks linked to the zone.

Customer Provided Keys with Azure Storage Service Encryption

Microsoft presents enhancement to storage service encryption to support granular encryption settings on storage account with keys hosted in any key store. Customer provided keys (CPK) enables you to store and manage keys in on-premises or key stores other than Azure Key Vault to meet corporate, contractual, and regulatory compliance requirements for data security.

New Azure Active Directory roles to reduce the number of Global administrators

Microsoft introduces 16 new roles in Azure AD designed to help you reduce the number of Global administrators by delegating administration tasks and assigning lower-privileged roles.

New Azure Resource Graph functionality

An update to Azure Resource Graph API now allows you to see further details about the changes to your Azure resources. For each change record, an overall changeType is returned indicating if the overall change to the resource was a Create, Update, or Delete action. When you set the fetchPropertyChanges flag to true in your request, the response body will contain a new section called propertyChanges that contains the list of property changes made, including the property name, the before value, the after value, and the change type for that property change (Insert, Update, or Remove).

Large file shares (100 TiB) for Azure Files standard tier

Microsoft announces the general availability of larger, more powerful files shares (100TiB) for Azure Files on standard tier. Large file shares on standard shares significantly improves customers’ experience on standard shares by increasing not only the capacity limits to 100 TiB (20x increase), but also the performance limits up to 10,000 IOPS (10x increase) and 300 MiB/s (5x increase). Large file shares for standard tier is now live in 13 Azure regions with support to enable large file shares on existing accounts.

SR-IOV availability schedule on NCv3 Virtual Machines SKU

As part of Azure’s ongoing commitment to providing industry-leading performance, Microsoft is enabling support for all MPI types and versions, and RDMA verbs for InfiniBand-equipped virtual machines, beginning with NCv3 coming in early November 2019.

Azure Monitor updates

  • Azure Monitor for VMs is available in South Central US, West US, Central US, North Central US, East Asia, and Central India. It’s available around the world in eighteen public regions.
  • In April 2019 Microsoft added support for Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) in China regions. As part of this support, multi-cluster view is now available in the table of contents so you can monitor multiple clusters at once. Also, AKS-Engine is now supported for China regions. 
  • Azure Monitor for containers has updated the agent to support pod annotation settings. This supports Prometheus metrics scrapping per namespace configurations via config map. Also supports descriptive error outputs to troubleshoot scrape settings.
  • Grafana dashboard template is now available for out-of-the-box metrics collected by Azure Monitor for containers.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (October 2019 – Weeks: 39 and 40)

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.

Azure

Large file shares (100 TiB) Azure FIles standard preview available in new regions

Azure Files standard large file shares (LFS) preview in available in two more regions: North Europe and East Asia. Please see the full region list at this page.

New version of Azure Storage Explorer

This month Microsoft released a new version of Azure Storage Explorer, 1.10.0. This latest version of Storage Explorer introduces several new features and delivers significant updates to existing functionality. These features and changes are all designed to make users more efficient and productive when working with Azure Storage, CosmosDB, ADLS Gen2, and, starting with 1.10.0, managed disks. You can download Storage Explorer 1.10.0 to take advantage of all of these new features.

Increment snapshots of Azure managed disks in preview

The preview of incremental snapshots of Azure managed disks is now available. Incremental snapshots are a cost-effective point-in-time backup of managed disks. Unlike current snapshots, which are billed for the full size, incremental snapshots are billed for the delta changes to disks since the last snapshot. They are always stored on the most cost-effective storage i.e., standard HDD irrespective of the storage type of the parent disks. Additionally, for increased reliability, they are stored on Zone redundant storage (ZRS) by default in regions that support ZRS. They cannot be stored on premium storage. 

Windows Virtual Desktop is generally available

Windows Virtual Desktop is generally available worldwide. It is the only service that delivers simplified management, a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktops and apps. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes. It is available in all geographies, customers will be able to deploy scalable Azure-based virtualization solutions with a number of operating systems, including Windows 10 multi-session, Windows Server, and Windows 7 desktops with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years for customers still completing their move to Windows 10.

Azure Lab Service Updates

Azure Lab Services added this new features:

  • Adjust quota per user, enabling instructors to give additional hours to students as needed.
  • An option to install GPU drivers automatically if a GPU size is picked. 
  • An updated and improved UI experience.

Private Link for Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse is in preview

Private Link enables you to connect to Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse via a private endpoint. Use it to establish cross-premises access to the private endpoint using ExpressRoute, private peering, or VPN tunneling, or you can choose to disable all access via public endpoint.

Preview of direct-upload to Azure managed disks

You can directly upload your VHD do Azure Managed disks without converting them. The direct-upload is in preview.

Azure File Sync agent version 4.x will expire

On November 5, 2019, Azure File Sync agent version 4.x will be expired and stop syncing. If you have servers with agent version 4.x, update to a supported agent version (5.x or later). If you don’t update your servers before November 5, 2019, they will stop syncing. To resume syncing, the agent must be updated to a support version.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (September 2019 – Weeks: 37 and 38)

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.

Azure

New cloud regions in Germany

Microsoft Azure is available from new cloud regions in Germany. Azure is available in new cloud datacenter regions in Germany, Germany West Central (located in Frankfurt) and Germany North (located in Berlin), to provide greater flexibility, the latest intelligent cloud services, full connectivity to the global cloud network, and data residency within Germany. The new regions with German-specific compliance, including Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalogue (C5) attestation, and will remove barriers so in-country companies can benefit from the latest solutions such as containers, IoT, and AI.

Azure Firewall is ISO compliant

Azure Firewall is Payment Card Industry (PCI), Service Organization Controls (SOC), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) compliant. It currently supports SOC 1 Type 2, SOC 2 Type 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001, 27018, 20000-1, 22301, 9001, 27017. For more information, see the Microsoft Compliance Guide.

New Azure ExpressRoute sites

The following new ExpressRoute meet-me sites are now live:

  • Copenhagen
  • Stockholm
  • Munich

Azure Private Link in preview

Private Link simplifies the network architecture and secures the connection between endpoints in Azure by keeping data on the Azure network, thus eliminating exposure to the internet. Private Link also enables you to create and render your own services on Azure. During public preview, Private Link supports Azure Storage, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen 2, Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and customer-owned services.

Monitor bandwidth for all peered Azure virtual networks with ExpressRoute

Azure network monitoring solutions including Network Performance Monitor and Network Watcher help monitor your networks in the cloud and in hybrid environments. ExpressRoute Monitoring enables you to monitor network performance over ExpressRoute circuits that are configured to use private peering or Microsoft peering.

Azure Monitor for Azure Virtual Machines is available in additional regions

Monitor for Virtual Machines monitors and analyzes the performance and health of your Windows and Linux virtual machines hosted in Azure, on-premises, or with another cloud provider. Azure Monitor for Azure Virtual Machines is now available in Japan East, North Europe, and East US2. 

Service Map feature of Azure Monitor is available in additional regions

Service Map automatically discovers application components on Windows and Linux systems and maps communication between services. The feature enables you to view your servers, processes, inbound and outbound connection latency, and ports as interconnected systems. The Service Map feature of Azure Monitor is available in Japan East, North Europe, and East US2. 

Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) for Azure Files premium tier

Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) is available for Azure Files premium tier. The ZRS replication provides customers a choice of performant Azure Files services with higher availability. With the release of ZRS support, Azure Files premium tier now offers two durability options:

  • Zone redundant storage (ZRS) for data protection against entire zonal outage.
  • Locally-redundant storage (LRS) for lower cost-effective storage for data protection against hardware failure.

Currently, ZRS option is available in West Europe and we plan to gradually expand the regional coverage.

Azure Lab Services supports new GPU Virtual Machine sizes

Azure Lab Services supports two new 6-core GPU Virtual Machine sizes: 

  • Small GPU (Compute): 6 cores, 56 GB RAM, 139 Lab units.
    • Available in US, North Europe, and West Europe regions
    • Best-suited for compute-intensive and network-intensive applications such as Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning 
  • Small GPU (Visualization): 6 cores, 56 GB RAM, 160 Lab units.
    • Available in US, North Europe, West Europe, and Australia regions
    • Best-suited for remote visualization, streaming, gaming, and encoding using frameworks such as OpenGL and DirectX. 

M-series virtual machines (VMs) are available in new regions

Azure M-series VMs are now available in: Germany West, Germany North, Switzerland West and Switzerland North. M-series VMs offer configurations with memory from 192 GB to 3.8 TiB (4 TB) RAM and are certified for SAP HANA.