Archivi categoria: Announcements and updates

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (February 2022 – Weeks: 07 and 08)

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.



Hotpatch for Windows Server virtual machines

You can patch and install updates to your Windows Server virtual machines on Azure without requiring a reboot using hotpatch. This capability is available exclusively as part of Azure Automanage for Windows Server for Windows Server Azure Edition core virtual machines, and comes with the following benefits:

  • Lower workload impact with less reboots
  • Faster deployment of updates as the packages are smaller, install faster, and have easier patch orchestration with Azure Update Manager
  • Better protection, as the Hotpatch update packages are scoped to Windows security updates that install faster without rebooting

Virtual Machine level disk bursting supports additional VM types

Virtual Machine level disk bursting supports M-series, Msv2-series Medium Memory, and Mdsv2-series Medium Memory VM families allowing your virtual machine to burst its disk IO and  throughput performance for a short time, daily. This enables VMs to handle unforeseen spiky disk traffic smoothly and process batched jobs with speed. There is no additional cost associated with this new capability or adjustments on the VM pricing and it comes enabled by default.

Automatically delete a VM and its associated resources simultaneously

Automatically delete disks, NICs and Public IPs associated with a VM at the same time you delete the VM. With this feature, you can specify the associated resources that should be automatically deleted when you delete a VM. This will allow you to save time and simplify the VM management process.


Azure NetApp Files: new region and cross-region replication

Azure NetApp Files is now available in Australia Central 2. Additionally, cross-region replication has been enabled between Australia Central and Australia Central 2 region pair.

Azure NetApp Files: application consistent snapshot tool v5.1 (preview)

Application consistent snapshot tool (AzAcSnap) v5.1 is a command-line tool enables you to simplify data protection for third-party databases (SAP HANA) in Linux environments (for example, SUSE and RHEL).

The public preview of application consistent snapshot tool v5.1 supports the following new capabilities:

  • Oracle Database support
  • Backint Co-existence
  • RunBefore and RunAfter capability

These new features can be used with Azure NetApp Files, Azure BareMetal, and now, Azure Managed Disk. 


Application Gateway mutual authentication

Azure Application Gateway is announcing general availability for transport layer security (TLS) mutual authentication. Mutual authentication allows for two-way TLS certificate-based authentication, which allows both client and server to verify each other’s identity. This release strengthens your zero trust networking posture and enables many connected devices, IoT, business to business, and API security scenarios.

You can upload multiple client certificate authority (CA) certificate chains on the Application Gateway to use for client authentication. You can also choose to enable frontend mutual authentication at a per-listener level on Application Gateway. Microsoft is also adding enhancements to server variables supported on Application Gateway to enable you to pass additional client certificate information to backend as HTTP headers.

With this release Microsoft is also extending support for listener specific TLS policies which allows you to configure predefined or custom TLS policies at a per listener granularity, instead of global TLS policies.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (February 2022 – Weeks: 05 and 06)

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.



Deployment enhancements for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines

A great update to our Azure Marketplace image with SQL is you can now configure the instance during deployment.  Most companies have standards for their SQL instances and can now make configuration changes during deployment vs keeping the preconfigured image settings. Items like moving the system database to a data disk, configuring tempdb data and log files, configuring the amount of memory and more.   During SQL VM deployment under SQL Server Settings, you have the options to change the defaults by clicking Change Configuration for storage or Change SQL Instance settings for customizing memory limits, collation, and ad hoc workloads.


New Azure Firewall capabilities

New Azure Firewall capabilities are available:

  • Azure Firewall network rule name logging: previously, the event of a network rule hit would show the source, destination IP/port, and the action, allow or deny. With the new functionality, the event logs for network rules will also contain the policy name, Rule Collection Group, Rule Collection, and the rule name hit.
  • Azure Firewall premium performance boost: this feature increases the maximum throughput of the Azure Firewall Premium by more than 300 percent (to 100Gbps).
  • Performance whitepaper: to provide customers with a better visibility into the expected performance of Azure Firewall, Microsoft is releasing the Azure Firewall Performance documentation.

Azure Bastion now supports file transfer via the native client (preview)

With the new Azure Bastion native client support in public preview and included in Standard SKU, you can now:

  • Use either SSH or RDP to upload files to a VM from your local computer.
  • Use RDP to download files from a VM to your local computer. 

Custom virtual network support in Azure Container Apps (preview)

You can now create Azure Container Apps environments into new or existing virtual networks. This enables Container Apps to receive private IP addresses, maintain outbound internet connectivity, and communicate privately with other resources on the same virtual network.  

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (January 2022 – Weeks: 03 and 04)

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 NetApp Files: new features

New features are constantly added to Azure NetApp Files and previously released preview features are moved into general availability. The following capabilities have recently received general availability status and no longer need registration for use:

The following new features have been added in public preview :

Regional coverage continues to expand, and Azure NetApp Files is now generally available in:

  • East Asia
  • Switzerland North
  • Switzerland West
  • West US 3

Feature regional coverage continues to expand as well for cross-region replication, cross region replication region pair additions:

  • West US 3 <-> East US
  • Southeast Asia <-> East Asia
  • Switzerland North <-> Switzerland West
  • UsGov Virginia <-> UsGov Texas
  • UsGov Arizona <-> UsGov Texas
  • UsGov Virginia <-> UsGov Arizona

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (January 2022 – 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.



Price reductions for Azure confidential computing

Microsoft is announcing a price reduction on the DCsv2 and DCsv3-series VMs by up to 33%. The price reduction enables the data protection benefits of ACC with no premium compared to general purpose VMs on a per physical core basis. New prices took effect on 1/1/2022. If you are already using DCsv2 and DCsv3-series VMs prior to 1/1/2022, you will see the price reduction in your next bill. 


Azure Ultra Disk Storage is available in West US 3

Azure Ultra Disk Storage is now available in West US 3. Azure Ultra Disks offer high throughput, high IOPS, and consistent low latency disk storage for Azure virtual machines (VMs). Ultra Disks are suited for data-intensive workloads such as SAP HANA, top tier databases, and transaction-heavy workloads.


Multiple custom BGP APIPA addresses for active VPN gateways

All SKUs of active-active VPN gateways now support multiple custom BGP APIPA addresses for each instance. Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) addresses are commonly used as the BGP IP addresses for VPN connectivity. In addition to many on-premises VPN devices requiring multiple custom APIPA addresses for BGP, this feature enables BGP connections to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud providers.

Load Balancer SKU upgrade through PowerShell script

You can now upgrade your Azure Load Balancer from Basic SKU to Standard SKU by using a PowerShell script. By upgrading to Standard SKU, the Load Balancer enables the network layer traffic to drive higher performance and stronger resiliency, along with an improved integration experience with other Azure services. The PowerShell script creates the Standard SKU Load Balancer with the same configurations as the Basic Load Balancer. In addition, the script migrates the backend resources to the Standard Load Balancer for you. 

Azure Traffic Manager: additional IP addresses for endpoint monitoring service

Traffic Manager uses a probing mechanism to evaluate your application endpoints. To enhance the capacity of our probing plane, Microsoft will be increasing the number of probes deployed within Traffic Manager’s endpoint monitoring service over the next few years to continue to mitigate the large amount of growth. Your applications will see an increase in number of health probes and some of these probes may originate from new IP addresses. These changes will start to go live on 21st January 2022 at 20:00 UTC.

Recommended action: if you use a network access control mechanism (e.g., Azure Firewall or Network Security Groups) and are not using Service Tags (AzureTrafficManager), please continue checking this updated list of IP addresses each Wednesday, until further notice, to ensure you allow incoming traffic from these new IP addresses. Failure to do so may cause some Traffic Manager health probes for the application endpoints to fail and may result in misrouting of traffic. No action is required access control isn’t used or network access control is utilized with AzureTrafficManager service tags.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2021 – 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.

In the past two weeks, Microsoft hasn’t made any major announcements regarding these topics. However, here are some links to interesting videos made by John Savill, Principal Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft:

I take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays and happy New Year!

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2021 – 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.



Virtual Machine restore points (preview)

Public preview of VM restore point is available, a new resource that stores VM configuration and a point-in-time snapshot of one or more managed disks attached to a VM.  VM restore points supports multi-disk application consistent snapshots and can be leveraged to easily capture backups of your VM and disks. You can easily restore the VM using VM restore points in cases of data loss, corruption, or disasters. Microsoft is also introducing a new Azure Resource Manager (ARM) resource called Restore Point Collection, which will act as a container for all the restore points of a specific VM.

Placement polices for Azure VMware Solution

Placement policies are used to define constraints for running virtual machines in the Azure VMware Solution Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). These constraints allow the you to decide where and how the virtual machines should run within the SDDC clusters. Placement polices are used to support performance optimization of virtual machines (VMs) through policy, and help mitigate the impact of maintenance operations to policies within the SDDC cluster. 


Secure access to storage account from a virtual network/subnet in any region (preview)

You can secure access to your storage account by enabling a service endpoint for Storage in the subnet and configuring a virtual network rule for that subnet through the Azure storage firewall. You can now configure your storage account to allow access from virtual networks and subnets in any Azure region. By default, service endpoints enable connectivity from a virtual network to a storage account in the same Azure region as the virtual network or it’s paired Azure region. This preview enables you to register your subnet to allow service endpoint connectivity to storage accounts in any Azure region across the globe.

Attribute-based Access Control (ABAC) conditions with principal attributes (preview)

Attribute-based access control (ABAC) is an authorization strategy that defines access levels based on attributes associated with security principals, resources, requests, and the environment. Azure ABAC builds on role-based access control (RBAC) by adding conditions to Azure role assignments expressed as a predicate using these attributes. This update to the preview enables the use of Azure AD custom security attributes for principals in role assignment conditions. You can now use combine principal attributes with resource and request attributes in your condition expressions.

Soft delete for blobs capability for Azure Data Lake Storage

Soft delete for blobs capability for Azure Data Lake Storage is now generally available. This feature protects files and directories from accidental deletes by retaining the deleted data in the system for a specified period of time. During the retention period, you can restore a soft-deleted object, i.e. file or directory, to its state at the time it was deleted. After the retention period has expired, the object is permanently deleted. All soft deleted files and directories are billed at the same rate as active ones until the retention period has expired. 

Azure Stack

Azure Stack HCI

Windows Server guest licensing offer for Azure Stack HCI (preview)

To facilitate guest licensing for Azure Stack HCI customers, we are pleased to announce a new offer that brings simplicity and more flexibility for licensing.  The new Windows Server subscription for Azure Stack HCI is available in public preview as of December 14, 2021. This offer will allow you to purchase unlimited Windows Server guest licenses for your Azure Stack HCI cluster through your Azure subscription. You can sign up and cancel anytime and preview pricing is $0 until general availability (GA).  At GA, the offer will be charged at $23.60 per physical core per month.  This offer simplifies billing through an all-in-one place Azure subscription and in some cases will be less expensive for customers than the traditional licensing model.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2021 – 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.



West Central US: Microsoft expands cloud services with two new datacenters in Wyoming

Microsoft is announcing the launch of two new Microsoft datacenters in Cheyenne –  Wyoming, one in Cheyenne Business Parkway and another in Bison Business Park, enabling to expand and support the growth and demand for digital services in West Central US datacenter region. Cheyenne has been home to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure services since 2012 and this expansion will enable us to continue providing services to current and new customers.

New Azure Virtual Machines DCasv5 and ECasv5-series (preview)

Azure DCasv5/ECasv5 confidential virtual machines (VMs) powered by 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors with SEV-SNP are available in preview.

SQL Server IaaS Agent extension for Linux SQL VMs

Microsoft is making the capabilities of SQL Server IaaS Agent extension available to Linux platforms, starting with Ubuntu with plans for other distributions in time.

If you are already running SQL Server on Azure using an Ubuntu Linux Virtual Machine, the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension now enables you to leverage integration with the Azure portal and unlocks the following benefits for SQL Server on Linux Azure VMs:

  • Compliance: The extension offers a simplified method to fulfill the requirement of notifying Microsoft that the Azure Hybrid Benefit has been enabled as is specified in the product terms.  This process negates needing to manage licensing registration forms for each resource.
  • Simplified license management: The extension simplifies SQL Server license management, and allows you to quickly identify SQL Server VMs with the Azure Hybrid Benefit enabled using the Azure portal, Azure PowerShell, or the Azure CLI.

IaaS Agent extension full mode no restart for SQL VMs

You can now enable the full mode of SQL Server IaaS Agent extension with no restart, giving you access to more manageability features for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines without interruption to your workloads. Previously, you had to restart the SQL Server services to enable these features. The full mode of SQL Server IaaS Agent extension unlocks many benefits such as Automated Backup, Automated Patching, Storage Optimization, and more, along with license management that comes with lightweight mode.


Azure File Sync: new agent released

The Azure File Sync agent v14.1 is available. Issue that is fixed in the v14.1 release:

  • Tiered files deleted on Windows Server 2022 are not detected by cloud tiering filter driver. This issue can also impact Windows 2016 and Windows Server 2019 if a tiered file is deleted using the FILE_DISPOSITION_INFORMATION_EX class.

To obtain and install this update, configure your Azure File Sync agent to automatically update when a new version becomes available or manually download the update from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

More information about this release:

  • This release is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 installations.
  • A restart is required for servers that have an existing Azure File Sync agent installation if the agent version is less than version 12.0.
  • The agent version for this release is
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB5001873.

Azure NetApp Files application volume group for SAP HANA (preview)

Application volume group (AVG) for SAP HANA enables you to deploy all volumes required to install and operate an SAP HANA database according to best practices in a single one-step and optimized workflow. The application volume group feature includes the use of proximity placement group (PPG) with VMs to achieve automated, low-latency deployments. Application volume group for SAP HANA has implemented many technical improvements that simplify and standardize the entire process to help you streamline volume deployments for SAP HANA. Instead of creating the SAP HANA volumes (data, log, shared, log-backup, file-backup) individually, the new application volume group for SAP HANA creates these volumes in a single ‘atomic’ operation (GUI, RP, API).


VPN Gateway NAT

Azure VPN NAT (Network Address Translation) supports overlapping address spaces between your on-premises branch networks and your Azure Virtual Networks. NAT can also enable business-to-business connectivity where address spaces are managed by different organizations and re-numbering networks is not possible. VPN NAT provides support for 1:1 Static NAT and 1-to-many dynamic NAT.

Wildcard listener on Application Gateways

Azure Application Gateway now supports the use of wildcard characters such as asterisk (*) and question mark (?) for hostnames on a multi-site HTTP(S) listener. You can now route requests from multiple host-names such as to the same backend pool through a single listener configured with a wildcard hostname such as *

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (November 2021 – 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.



Virtual machines selector now generally available

Microsoft want to simplify the process required for you to identify the right VM based on your needs and budget. To that end, virtual machines selector is a web-based tool localized in 26 languages and available worldwide. Using the virtual machines selector you can specify your requirements, such as the category of workload you plan to run in Azure, and the technical specifications of your VM (e.g., OS disks storage options, data disks storage performance, Operating System, deployment region, etc.). After a few simple steps, the tool identifies the best VM and disk storage combination based on the information you enter. You will then be able to view the details of the recommended VMs and their prices. You can then add the selected VMs to the pricing calculator to perform a more comprehensive cost analysis.

New cloud region in Sweden

The new sustainable datacenter region in Sweden, with presence in Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp is available. It includes Azure Availability Zones, which offer you additional resiliency for your applications by designing the region with unique physical datacenter locations with independent power, network, and cooling for additional tolerance to datacenter failures.

Azure VMware Solution now generally available in the France Central Azure Region and in Japan West Azure Region

Azure VMware Solution has expanded availability to Japan West and to France Central. With this release Japan West is now the second region within the Japan sovereign area to become available (joining Japan East).

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines: Multi subnet high availability

You can now simplify your SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines high availability and disaster recovery configuration by deploying virtual machines in multiple subnets, eliminating the need for an Azure Load Balancer. Multi subnet configuration natively helps you match on-premises experience for connecting to your availability group listener or SQL Server failover cluster instance. Additionally, this feature doesn’t have any limitations on unique port or feature interoperability considerations like distributed network name (DNN) for availability group and failover cluster instance. Multi subnet configuration is natively supported by all versions of SQL Server and Windows Server Failover Cluster to simplify deployment, maintenance and improve failover time.

Azure Virtual Machines DCv3-series now available in Europe West and North (preview)

Announcing public preview expansion of the DCv3-series VMs to Europe West and North.


SFTP support for Azure Blob Storage (preview)

Starting today, SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) support for Azure Blob Storage is available for public preview in select regions. Azure Blob Storage is the only storage platform that supports SFTP over object storage natively in a serverless fashion, enabling you to leverage object storage economics and features. With multi-protocol support, you can run your applications on a single storage platform with no application rewrites necessary, therefore eliminating data silos.

NFSv4.1 support on Azure Files

Azure Files support for NFS v4.1 on premium tier for both locally-redundant storage and zone-redundant storage is available. Now you can deploy these fully POSIX compliant, distributed NFS file shares in your production environments for a wide variety of Linux and container based workloads. Some example workloads include: highly available SAP application layer, enterprise messaging, user home directories, custom line-of-business applications, database backups, database replication, and devops pipelines. NFS 4.1 is available in all regions where the premium tier of Azure Files exists.

Azure Archive rehydration priority update

Azure Archive Storage provides a secure, low-cost means for retaining cold data, including backups and archival storage. Data stored in Archive Storage is offline and unavailable for read access until it is rehydrated to the hot or cool tier. You can choose to rehydrate data with standard or high priority, depending on the urgency of the retrieval request. Previously, it was not possible to change the retrieval priority after initiating a rehydration operation; priority had to be determined in advance, and there was no flexibility to update the priority if the retrieval urgency subsequently changed.

Archive Storage now supports updating the retrieval priority from standard to high while a rehydration operation is pending. You can simplify rehydration management and improve cost efficiency by initiating the rehydration operation with standard priority for a set of blobs, then updating the priority to high for any blobs that require faster retrieval.


VPN Gateways: increased connection limit

The max number of Site-to-Site/VNet-to-VNet connections on a VPN Gateway has been increased from 30 to 100 tunnels for SKUs VpnGw4, VpnGw5, VpnGw4AZ, and VpnGw5AZ.
This change does not affect legacy gateways with the High Performance SKU.

Azure Bastion: new features available with Standard SKU (preview)

With the new Azure Bastion native client support you can:

  • Connect to your target Azure virtual machine via Azure Bastion using Azure CLI and a native client on your local Windows machine
  • Log into Azure Active Directory-joined virtual machines using your Azure Active Directory credentials

Also, with the new Azure Bastion IP based connection capability you can now connect to any target resource reachable from your Bastion using its private IP address. This includes any reachable resources hosted on-premises or in other clouds, allowing you to achieve more secure global remote connectivity with Azure Bastion.

ExpressRoute now supports Azure Virtual Desktop Shortpath RDP over Private Peering

ExpressRoute Private Peering now supports Azure Virtual Desktop RDP Shortpath. After establishing the reverse connect transport, the client and session host starts the RDP connection. With RDP Shortpath configured, the client will require a direct connectivity with the session host to establish a secure TLS connection. You can leverage ExpressRoute Private peering to setup the direct connection to support RDP Shortpath. 

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (November 2021 – 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.

In this dedicated post you can find the most important announcements and major updates officialized last week during Microsoft Ignite (November 2021) conference.



Zerto Disaster Recovery for Azure VMware Solution

Zerto Disaster Recovery is now available and supported with Azure VMware Solution, delivering data protection and disaster recovery services that eliminate data loss and downtime for vSphere virtual machines running on Azure VMware Solution environment.

Zerto Disaster Recovery for Azure VMware Solution supports the following 3 scenarios:

  • On-premises VMware to Azure VMware Solution for Hybrid disaster recovery
  • Azure VMware Solution to Azure VMware Solution for cloud-based disaster recovery
  • Azure VMware Solution to Azure IaaS for cloud-based disaster recovery

Azure Spot Virtual Machines: Try to restore functionality

You can now opt-in and use this feature while deploying Spot VMs using Virtual Machine Scale Sets. This new feature will automatically try to restore an evicted Spot VM to maintain the desired target compute capacity (e.g., number of VMs) in a scale set.


Azure File Sync agent v14 

Improvements and issues that are fixed in the v14 release:

  • Improved server endpoint deprovisioning guidance in the portal. When removing a server endpoint via the portal, we now provide step by step guidance based on the reason behind deleting the server endpoint, so that you can avoid data loss and ensure your data is where it needs to be (server or Azure file share).
  • Invoke-AzStorageSyncChangeDetection cmdlet improvements. Microsoft has improved the Invoke-AzStorageSyncChangeDetection cmdlet and the 10,000 item limit no longer applies when scanning the entire share. 
  • Azure File Sync is now supported in West US 3 region.
  • Reduced transactions when a file consistently fails to upload due to a per-item sync error.
  • Reliability and telemetry improvements for cloud tiering and sync.

To obtain and install this update, configure your Azure File Sync agent to automatically update when a new version becomes available or manually download the update from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

More information about this release:

  • This release is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 installations.
  • A restart is required for servers that have an existing Azure File Sync agent installation if the agent version is less than version 12.0.
  • The agent version for this release is
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB5001872.

Ephemeral OS disks for Azure VMs support additional VM sizes

You now can choose where to store Ephemeral OS disks, either in VM temp disk or on VM cache. This feature enables Ephemeral OS disks to be created for all the VMs, which don’t have cache or have an insufficient cache (such as Dav3, Dav4, Eav4, and Eav3) but has sufficient temp disk to host the Ephemeral OS disk.


New Azure Firewall Premium capabilities

 Several new Azure Firewall Premium capabilities are available:

  • Azure Firewall Premium availability in more regions. Azure Firewall Premium is now available in both Microsoft Government Cloud and Azure China 21Vianet. This expansion makes Azure Firewall Premium now available in 44 Azure regions.
  • Terraform support for Firewall Policy Premium. Azure Firewall Premium supports a range of DevOps tools including Azure CLI, PowerShell, REST API. Customers can now use Terraform, a popular open-source tool used by DevOps for implementing infrastructure as code, to manage their Azure Firewall Premium.
  • Web categories Category Check (in preview). Web categories lets administrators allow or deny user access to web site categories such as gambling websites, social media websites, and others. Often customers want to check what categories does a specific URL fall under. Customers can now use the convenience of Azure Portal to determine URL web categories and share feedback if the category is not accurate.
  • Migrate to Premium SKU using Stop/Start approach. If you use Azure Firewall Standard SKU with Firewall Policy, you can use the Allocate/Deallocate method to upgrade your Firewall SKU to Premium. This migration approach is supported on both VNET Hub and Secure Hub Firewalls. Secure Hub deployments will be upgraded while preserving the public IP of the firewall. 

Extended regional availability for Private Link NSG Support and for Private Link UDR Support

Private Endpoint support for Network Security Groups (NSGs) and Private Endpoint support for User Defined Routes (UDRs) are now in public preview.

  • Private Endpoint support for Network Security Groups (NSGs) enhancement will provide you with the ability to enable advanced security controls on traffic destined to a private endpoint.
  • Private Endpoint support for User Defined Routes (UDRs) enhancement will provide you with the ability to apply custom routes to traffic destined to a private endpoint with a wider subnet range. 

At this time, this features are available in the following regions: UsEast2Euap, UsCentralEuap, WestCentralUS, WestUS, WestUS2, EastUS, EastUS2, Asiaeast, Australiaeast, Japaneast, Canadacentral, Europenorth, Koreacentral, Brazilsouth, Uksouth, US South, US North, and France Central.

ExpressRoute IPv6 Support for Private Peering

IPv6 support for ExpressRoute Private Peering is now generally available with ExpressRoute circuits and Azure environments globally. IPv6 support will unlock hybrid connectivity for you as you look to expand into mobile and IoT markets with Azure, or to address IPv4 exhaustion in your on-premise networks.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: most impactful announcements at Microsoft Ignite – November 2021

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 (November 2021) 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 trusted launch for Virtual Machines

Azure trusted launch protects your virtual machines against boot kits, rootkits, and kernel-level malware.  Trusted launch allows administrators to deploy virtual machines with verified and signed bootloaders, OS kernels, and drivers. By leveraging secure and measured boot, administrators gain insights and confidence of the entire boot chain’s integrity. With virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM), administrators can securely protect keys, certificates, and secrets in the virtual machines. In addition, administrators can monitor and attest to the integrity of virtual machines as well as reacting to any changes to the attestation policy baseline. Azure Security Center serves as a single pane of glass for integrity alerts, recommendations, and remediations generated by trusted launch. These new features are easily enabled , trusted launch is switched on with a simple change in deployment code or a checkbox within the Azure portal for all virtual machines.

Expansion of the Azure Virtual Machines portfolio

New Azure Virtual Machines, which provide better price-performance for most general-purpose and memory-intensive workloads compared to prior VM generations, are now generally available. This important expansion of the Azure Virtual Machines portfolio now includes:

  • The general availability of Dv5 and Ev5 Azure VMs, which deliver up to 15% increased performance for many workloads and better price-performance than the previous Dv4 and Ev4-series VMs. These new VMs can scale up to 96 vCPUs and feature the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Platinum 8370C (Ice Lake) processor in a hyper-threaded configuration.
  • The new Dasv5 and Easv5 Azure VMs are based on the 3rd Generation AMD EPYCTM 7763v (Milan) processor. These new VMs provide options with and without local disk storage for a lower price of entry. Standard SSDs, Standard HDDs, Premium SSDs, and Ultra Disk storage are supported based on regional availability. In addition, support for nested virtualization is also available.
  • The  new DCsv3 and DCdsv3-series Azure Virtual Machines transform the state-of-the-art for confidential workloads. Now with the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, the capabilities of DC-series have improved substantially.

The Dv5 and Dasv5 Azure VMs, work well for many general computing workloads, e-commerce systems, web front ends, desktop virtualization solutions, customer relationship management applications, entry-level and mid-range databases, application servers, and more. The Ev5 and Easv5 Azure VMs are ideal for memory-intensive enterprise applications, larger relational database servers, data warehousing workloads, business intelligence applications, in-memory analytics workloads, and additional business-critical applications. 

Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets: new orchestration mode

Virtual Machine Scale Sets flexible orchestration mode helps you simplify the deployment, management, and scalability of your applications. These new features also combine the functionality of our previously separate Availability Sets and Virtual Machine Scale Sets offerings. As a result, you will now be able to manage your business-critical applications more effectively while ensuring high availability at massive scale. Additionally, this new capability provides full control of the individual VMs within a scale set while increasing overall performance. IT organizations will now also be able to change VM sizes without redeploying their scale set resulting in greater operational agility. They will also be able to mix Spot Virtual Machines and pay-as-you-go VMs within the same scale set to optimize costs while managing VMs and VM scale sets using the same APIs.

Azure VMware Solution now generally available in the Germany West Central Azure region

Azure VMware Solution has now expanded availability to Germany West Central, this update is in addition to the existing availability multiple Azure regions in US, Europe, Australia, Japan, UK, Canada, Brazil and Southeast Asia (Singapore).


Centralized management of keys for encrypting Azure disks

Now you can manage your Azure Key Vault centrally in a single subscription and use the keys stored in the Key Vault to encrypt managed disks and snapshots in other subscriptions in your organization. This allows your security team to enforce and easily manage a robust security policy to a single subscription.

On-demand disk bursting for Azure Premium SSDs

Microsoft is announcing the general availability of on-demand bursting on Azure Premium SSDs larger than 512 GiB or larger. Unlike the previous credit-based system where you can only burst if you have accumulated credits, the new on-demand bursting capability allows you to burst up to 6X (up to 30,000 IOPS and 1,000 MB/s of throughput) of the provisioned amount whenever needed. This provides you with the flexibility to scale performance to meet demand and optimize costs. You can easily take advantage of on-demand bursting by enabling it on supported Premium SSD disks. You will pay for a burst enablement fee and burst transaction costs for the additional transactions beyond the provisioned target.

Live resize of Azure Disk Storage (preview)

Resizing a disk on Azure can provide more storage capacity and better performance for your applications. Now, with live resize in preview, you can dynamically increase the size of your disks without any downtime to your application. You can start with smaller disks to keep costs down and increase the size of your disks without any downtime as your data footprint grows.

Cross-region snapshot copy for Azure Disk Storage (preview)

Incremental snapshots are cost-effective point-in-time backups of Azure Managed Disks. They are billed for the changes to disks since the last snapshot and are always stored on the most cost-effective storage, Standard HDD storage, irrespective of the storage type of the parent disk. With cross-region snapshot copy now in preview, you can easily copy of incremental snapshots to any region of your choice. Azure manages the copy process and ensures that only changes since the last snapshot in the target region are copied over, reducing the data footprint and recovery point objective (RPO).

Azure VMware Solution: new capabilities introduced for disk pool (preview)

New capabilities are introduced in Disk Pool (preview) to enable Disk storage as the persistent storage for Azure VMware Solution. Disk Storage integration with Azure VMware Solution combines the power of familiar VMware technology running on Azure, with efficient Azure Disk Storage. Disk Pool enables Azure VMware Solution to access Disk storage by surfacing an Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) endpoint for disks. You can add new or existing disks to disk pool and expose them as datastores in Azure VMware Solution. Microsoft is introducing new capabilities to disk pool across availability, cost-effectiveness, and end-to-end integration:

  • Improved availability of disk pool with an enhancement to the underlying iSCSI infrastructure to a Highly Availably architecture with dual controller support
  • Addition of Azure Standard SSDs as a supported disk offering for a more cost-effective option for Disaster Recovery scenarios
  • Updates to the pricing model to a service-based pricing model. Currently, customers are being billed for the managed resources deployed to support disk pool. With this new pricing model, customers will be charged an hourly service fee, which is based on the performance tier selected (Basic, Standard, Premium SKUs). The pricing model change will be effective on December 1, 2021.
  • End-to-end portal experience for connecting a disk pool to Azure VMware Solution clusters and managing underlying storage


Bastion Standard SKU

With the new Azure Bastion Standard SKU, you can now perform/configure the following: 

  • Manually scale Bastion host Virtual Machine instances: Azure Bastion supports manual scaling of the Virtual Machine (VM) instances facilitating Bastion connectivity. You can configure 2-50 instances to manage the number of concurrent SSH and RDP sessions Azure Bastion can support. 

  • Azure Bastion admin panel: Azure Bastion supports enabling/disabling features accessed by the Bastion host.

Azure Virtual Network Manager (preview)

Azure Virtual Network Manager is a highly scalable and available network management solution. It allows you to simplify network management across subscriptions globally. Using the centralized network management capabilities, you can manage your network resources at scale from a single plane of glass.

Key features of Azure Virtual Network Manager include:

  • Global management of virtual network resources across regions and subscriptions
  • Automated management and deployment of virtual network topologies such as hub and spoke and mesh
  • High-priority security rule enforcement at scale to protect your network resources
  • Simple deployment of network configurations

Gateway Load Balancer (preview)

Gateway Load Balancer is a fully managed service enabling you to deploy, scale, and enhance the availability of third party network virtual appliances (NVAs) in Azure. You can add your favorite third party appliance whether it is a firewall, inline DDoS appliance, deep packet inspection system, or even your own custom appliance into the network path transparently, all with a single click.

With Gateway Load Balancer, you can easily add or remove advanced network functionality without additional management overhead. It provides the bump-in-the-wire technology you need to ensure all traffic to a public endpoint is sent to the appliance before your application. What makes Gateway LB even more powerful is ensuring symmetrical flows or ensuring a consistent route to your network virtual appliance, without having to update routes manually. As a result, packets traverse the same network path in both directions to function are able to do so.

NAT gateway integration with AKS

You can now provision a NAT gateway as part of cluster creation or create an AKS cluster with a NAT gateway on an existing VNET, instead of configuring a NAT gateway manually. A NAT gateway is a Network Address Translation (NAT) service. You can use a NAT gateway so that instances in a private subnet can connect to external services, but external services cannot initiate a connection. With NAT gateway support, ingress traffic can be handled via the Load Balancer, and egress traffic can be distributed across up to 16 IP addresses, providing the potential for 64,000 concurrent UDP and TCP flows per IP.

New troubleshooting experiences in Network Insights for VPN Gateway & Azure Firewall

Access rich insights and new troubleshooting experiences in Azure Monitor Network Insights for VPN Gateway and Azure Firewall.

With the new resources, you can access:

  • A resource topology showing resource health and connected resources
  • A pre-built workbook showing all key metrics along multiple
  • Direct links to documentation and troubleshooting help

ExpressRoute private peering support for BGP communities and FastPath improvements (preview)

ExpressRoute private peering now supports the use of custom Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) communities with virtual networks connected to your ExpressRoute circuits. Once you configure a custom BGP community for your virtual network, you can view the regional and custom community values on outbound traffic sent over ExpressRoute when originating from that virtual network. These values can be used when applying filters or specifying routing preferences for traffic sent to your on-premises from your Azure environment.

Also, ExpressRoute FastPath now supports a greater variety of scenarios, such as support for traffic sent to peered virtual networks.

Azure Network Function Manager

Azure Network Function Manager, which offers a consistent management experience for pre-validated mobile network functions to enable a private LTE/5G solution, is now generally available. The service also enables a seamless cloud-to-edge experience for Azure Marketplace network functions like SD-WAN and VPN. For a true hybrid experience, customers can use Azure Marketplace to choose from a pre-validated list of marketplace network functions to help ensure proper operation with Azure Stack Edge.

Azure Stack

Azure Stack HCI

Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI (preview)

With Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI, you can maintain full control over your infrastructure and enjoy the advantages of Azure Virtual Desktop in your own datacenter, including a full Windows 10 and 11 desktop experience for users with multi-session or single session support to optimize cost and performance.

Azure benefits for Windows Server

To license and activate Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI already lets you bring your own Datacenter license to enable automatic VM activation (AVMA). Coming soon, if you don’t already have a license, there’s a convenient new option to pay for your Windows Server guests through your Azure subscription, just like in Azure.

Arc-enabled VM management (preview)

In addition to managing your host cluster, you can now use Azure Arc to provision and manage virtual machines running on Azure Stack HCI directly from the Azure Portal. VMs and their associated resources like VM images, disks, and networks are projected into ARM as separate first-class resources by a new cross-platform technology called the Arc resource bridge.