Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2020 – 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 VMware Solution: now available in UK South and Japan East Azure regions

The new Azure VMware Solution empowers customers to seamlessly extend or migrate their existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations. General Availability of the new Azure VMware Solution was announced at Microsoft Ignite, Sept 2020, with initial availability in US East, US West, West Europe and Australia. Microsoft has now expanded availability to two more Azure regions Japan East and UK South. For updates on more upcoming region availability please visit the product by region page here.

HBv2-series VMs for HPC now available in the UAE North region

HBv2 VMs are now Generally Available in the Azure UAE North region.


Azure File Sync agent v11.1

Azure File Sync agent v11.1 is now on Microsoft Update and Microsoft Download Center.

Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • New cloud tiering modes to control initial download and proactive recall
    • Initial download mode: you can now choose how you want your files to be initially downloaded onto your new server endpoint. Want all your files tiered or as many files as possible downloaded onto your server by last modified timestamp? You can do that! Can’t use cloud tiering? You can now opt to avoid tiered files on your system. To learn more, see Create a server endpoint section in the Deploy Azure File Sync documentation.
    • Proactive recall mode: whenever a file is created or modified, you can proactively recall it to servers that you specify within the same sync group. This makes the file readily available for consumption in each server you specified. Have teams across the globe working on the same data? Enable proactive recalling so that when the team arrives the next morning, all the files updated by a team in a different time zone are downloaded and ready to go! To learn more, see Proactively recall new and changed files from an Azure file share section in the Deploy Azure File Sync documentation.
  • Exclude applications from cloud tiering last access time tracking
    • You can now exclude applications from last access time tracking. When an application accesses a file, the last access time for the file is updated in the cloud tiering database. Applications that scan the file system like anti-virus cause all files to have the same last access time which impacts when files are tiered. For more details, see the release notes.
  • Miscellaneous performance and reliability improvements
    • Improved change detection performance to detect files that have changed in the Azure file share.
    • Improved sync upload performance.
    • Initial upload is now performed from a VSS snapshot which reduces per-item errors and sync session failures.
    • Sync reliability improvements for certain I/O patterns.
    • Fixed a bug to prevent the sync database from going back-in-time on failover clusters when a failover occurs.
    • Improved recall performance when accessing a tiered file.

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 or later installed.
  • The agent version for this release is
  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the agent installation.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB4539951.

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