Azure Management services: what's new in August 2021

Microsoft constantly releases news about Azure management services. By publishing this summary, we want to provide an overall overview of the main news released in the last month. This allows you to stay up-to-date on these topics and have the necessary references to conduct further investigations.

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

The IT Service Management Connector is certified with the Quebec version of ServiceNow

The IT Service Management Connector (ITSM) of Azure Monitor is now certified for the Quebec version of ServiceNow. This connector allows you to establish a two-way connection between Azure and ITSM tools, useful for managing incidents and solving problems faster. Furthermore, it is possible to create work items in the ITSM tool, based on Azure alerts(Metric Alerts, Activity Log Alerts, e Log Analytics alert).

Lower levels for reservations for Azure Monitor dedicated clusters

Microsoft has reduced the capacity reservation (capacity reservation) minimum required for Azure Monitor dedicated clusters, bringing it from 1.000 GB to 500 GB per day. This allows you to take advantage of advanced features such as customer-managed keys, lockbox, and infrastructure encryption, even to customers with lower data entry volume.

The retirement of the Log Analytics agent has been announced

Microsoft announced that the 31 August 2024 the Log Analytics agent used in Azure Monitor will be retired. Therefore, before that date, you should use the new Azure Monitor agent (AMA) and data collection rules (DCR) of Azure Monitor to monitor virtual machines and servers.


Azure Automation

New features coming soon to be released

Microsoft has announced that the following new features will soon be released for Azure Automation:

  • Azure AD support: ability to use Azure AD-based authentication for public automation endpoints
  • Support for Powershell 7: ability to run Azure Automation runbooks, in production scenarios, using PowerShell 7.1
  • Azure Automation Hybrid Worker Extension for Azure and for Azure Arc machines: possibility of onboarding hybrid workers using the hybrid extension for Azure and Azure Arc machines.
  • Support for Availability Zones, useful for increasing the levels of reliability and resilience.
  • Native support of the Powershell Az module.


Azure Policy

Azure Guest Configuration Policy: possibility of applying settings within the systems as well (preview)

Guest Configuration Policies allow you to control settings within a machine, both for virtual machines running in Azure environment and for "Arc Connected" machines. At the moment, most of the Azure Guest Configuration Policies only allow you to make checks on the settings inside the machine, but they do not apply configurations. However, Microsoft has announced in preview the possibility to apply configurations provided by Microsoft or to create your own configuration packages using PowerShell DSC version 3.

Azure Cost Management

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.


Azure Security Center

Azure Defender for SQL available from Azure SQL Virtual Machine blade

This new Azure Defender information browsing experience for SQL VMs, allows you to view, directly from the SQL virtual machine panel, information about security best practices for related SQL Server databases.

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of 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

Support for Archive storage for backup of VMs and SQL on board VMs

In Azure Backup, you can now move recovery points to save costs and keep your backup data longer. This feature is available for Azure VMs and SQL Servers installed on board Azure VMs. Using Azure PowerShell, it is possible to move these backups from the standard tier to the new archive tier.

When moving backup data from vault-standard to vault-archive, Azure Backup converts incremental data into full backup. This procedure involves an increase in the total GB used, but costs are reduced due to the huge difference in cost per GB between the two storage tiers. To simplify this process, Azure Backup provides advice on Recovery Points (RPs) for which migration to the vault-archive is recommended. Restores can be done in an integrated way from the Azure portal, with a simple and intuitive process.

Azure Site Recovery

ASR support for global disaster recovery

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) introduced support for cross-continental disaster recovery. Thanks to this feature, a virtual machine can be replicated from an Azure region in one continent to a region in another continent. In the event of a planned or unplanned outage, you will be able to fail over the virtual machine on all continents and, once the interruption has been mitigated, it can be brought back to the continent of origin (fail-back) and protected.

Extended the date of withdrawal of Hard coded IP address

Microsoft has extended the retirement date for hard coded IP addresses to connect with Azure Site Recovery services to 31 August 2024. This allows you to have more time to adjust the configurations of the environments to use the Azure service tags.


Azure Migrate

Software inventory and agentless dependency analysis

In Azure Migrate it is now possible to inventory applications, roles and features installed and perform dependency analysis, on Windows and Linux servers, without installing any agent. Agentless dependency analysis allows you to identify and understand dependencies between servers, supporting data collection for up to 1000 servers at the same time.

Discovery and assessment of ASP.NET Web Apps with Azure Migrate (preview)

Azure Migrate now allows you to identify and assess ASP.NET Web Apps running on the on-premises IIS Web server and manage their migration. Until now, it was necessary to use tools such as App Service Migration Assistant to evaluate the Web Apps. Thanks to the introduction of this feature in Azure Migrate, it is possible to discover the .NET Web Apps running in your VMware environment and create assessments to manage the migration to Azure IaaS or Azure App Service.

Containerization of apps and migration to AKS or Azure App Service

The Azure Migrate app containerization tool allows you to modernize existing ASP.NET and Java web applications, using a containerization approach that requires little or no application changes. The tool groups existing applications running on servers in a container image and allows them to be deployed in containers running in Azure Kubernetes Service(AKS) or in Azure App Service. As part of the migration process, the tool allows you to parameterize the application configurations, outsource file system dependencies using persistent volumes and configure the containerized application monitor using Application Insights.

New Azure Migrate releases and features

Azure Migrate is the service in Azure that includes a large portfolio of tools that you can use, through a guided experience, to address effectively the most common migration scenarios. To stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the solution, please consult this page, that provides information about new releases and features.

Evaluation of Azure

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

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