Azure Management services: what's new in February 2021

The month of February was full of news and there are several updates that have affected the Azure management services. This article provides an overview of the month's top news, so that we can stay up to date on these topics and have the necessary references to conduct further insights.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview


Azure Monitor

Availability in new regions

Azure Monitor Log Analytics is available in the following new regions:

  • UAE Central
  • Japan West
  • Australia Central 2 (preview)

To check the availability of the service in all the Azure regions you can consult this document.

The new Azure Monitor agent and the new data collection rules features(preview) extend to new regions and distros

Azure Monitor currently has (in preview) a new unified agent (Azure Monitor Agent – AMA) and a new concept to make data collection more efficient (Data Collection Rules – DCR).

Among the various key features of this new agent we find:

  • Support for Azure Arc server(Windows and Linux) 
  • Virtual Machine Scale Set support (VMSS)
  • Installation via ARM template

As far as the Data Collection is concerned, it introduces these innovations:

  • Better control in defining the scope of data collection (e.g.. ability to collect from a subset of VMs for a single workspace)
  • Single collection and sending to both Log Analytics and Azure Monitor Metrics
  • Send to multiple workspaces (multi-homing for Linux)
  • Ability to better filter Windows events
  • Better extension management

AMA on Linux supports the following new distros for data collection (Data Collection Rules – DCR):

  • CentOS Linux 8*
  • Debian 10
  • Oracle Linux 8*
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 8*
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15.2*
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15.1*
  • Ubuntu 20

*Known issue with Syslog events. Currently only Performance Counters are supported (CPU, Memory, Disk, Network)

Furthermore, AMA and DCR are now available in new regions:

  • UK West (Wuk)
  • Korea Central (If)
  • France Central (Frc)
  • South Africa North (Jnb)
  • Switzerland North

New disk bursting metrics

Azure Monitor allows you to obtain detailed information on the resources deployed and running in the Azure environment. Through metrics, which are resource performance indicators in Azure, you can get detailed information about what's happening. Azure Monitor releases new metrics to help you better understand disk bursting performance. These new metrics provide the expected performance from Premium SSD disks and indicate the amount of bursting credits that have been used.


Azure Automation

Availability in new regions

Azure Automation is available in the following new regions:

  • Japan West
  • UAE Central

To check the availability of the service in all the Azure regions you can consult this document.


Azure Cost Management

Availability for Azure Government Pay-As-You-Go subscription

Azure Cost Management features are now also available for Azure Government Pay-As-You-Go subscriptions.

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, the solution to provide greater visibility into where costs are accumulating in the cloud, identify and prevent incorrect spending patterns and optimize costs . Inthis article some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:


Azure Security Center

What's new in Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center development is constantly evolving and improvements are being made on an ongoing basis. To stay up to date on the latest developments, Microsoft updates this page, this provides information about new features, bug fixes and deprecated features. In particular, this month the main news concern:


Azure Backup

Cross Region Restore (CRR) for Azure virtual machines

Azure Backup stores the backup data in the Recovery Service vault on which a geographical redundancy is set by default. This results in the backup data in the primary region being geographically replicated to the associated secondary region (paired region). However, replicated data in the secondary region is available for recovery only if Azure declares an emergency in the primary region. By adopting this new functionality in Azure Backup, you will be able to start restores of virtual machines in a secondary region at will, making them completely controlled by the customer. To do this, however, the Recovery Service vault that holds the backups must be set up in geographical redundancy. Recovery between different Azure regions is available, still in preview, also for SQL and SAP HANA.

New features for Azure Backup Center (preview)

Backup Center, currently in preview, now also supports the following workloads: SQL in Azure VM, SAP HANA in Azure VM and Azure Files. With the Backup Center, you can centrally manage and monitor backups of all supported Azure workloads.

Furthermore, new built-in policies for Azure Backup have been included in the Backup Center that allow you to configure the backups of virtual machines in Azure based on the resource groups they belong to and the assigned tags.

Azure Backup for SAP HANA: soft limit increased by 2 TB to 8 TB

Thanks to the new data transfer features, Azure Backup now helps protect larger SAP HANA DB. Azure Backup for SAP HANA now allows you to reach data transfer speeds up to 420 MBps for non-log backups (for example full, differential and incremental) and 100 MBps for log backups. Thanks to this improvement in data transfer capacity it is possible to back up ~ 1,5 TB per hour, which results in 6-8 TB of full backups in 4-6 hours. The Azure Backup Service allows you to provide similar speeds even during restore operations.

Azure Site Recovery

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 54 that solves several issues and introduces some improvements. The details and the procedure to follow for the installation can be found in the specific KB.

Evaluation of Azure

To test for free and evaluate the services provided by Azure you can access this page.

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