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.