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.
Trusted launch support for Virtual Machines using Ephemeral OS disks (preview)
Trusted launch is a seamless way to improve the security of generation 2 VMs. It protects against advanced and persistent attack techniques by combining technologies that can be independently enabled like secure boot and virtualized version of trusted platform module (vTPM). Now, Trusted Launch support for VMs using Ephemeral OS disks is available in preview.
Best practices assessment for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
You can now evaluate if your SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is following configuration best practices using the SQL best practices assessment feature. You can start or schedule an assessment on the SQL virtual machine blade in the Azure portal. Once the feature is enabled, your SQL Server instance and databases are scanned to provide recommendations for things like indexes, retired features, enabled or missing trace flags, statistics, and more.
Select Azure Dedicated Host SKUs will be retired on 31 March 2023
On 31 March 2023, Azure Dedicated Hosts Dsv3-Type1, Esv3-Type1, Dsv3-Type2, and Esv3-Type2 will be retired. Before that date, you must migrate to the new Dedicated Host SKUs.
Azure HBv3 virtual machines for HPC now upgraded
All Azure HBv3 virtual machine (VM) deployments from 21 March 2022 will include AMD EPYC 3rd Gen processors with 3D V-Cache, codenamed “Milan-X”. The enhanced HBv3 VMs are available in the Azure East US, South Central US, and West Europe regions. All VM deployments from today onward will occur on machines featuring Milan-X processors. Existing HBv3 VMs deployed prior to today’s launch will continue to see AMD EPYC 3rd Gen processors, codenamed “Milan”, until they are de-allocated and you create a new VM in its place.
New planned datacenter region in Finland (Finland Central)
Microsoft will establish a new datacenter region in the country, offering Finnish organizations local data residency and faster access to the cloud, delivering advanced data security and cloud solutions. The new datacenter region will also include availability zones, providing you with high availability and additional tolerance to datacenter failures.
Inbound NAT rule now supports port management for backend pools
Standard Load Balancer inbound NAT rule now supports specifying a range of ports for the backend instances. Previously, to enable port forwarding, an inbound NAT rule needed to be created for every instance in Load Balancer’s backend pool. This became complex to manage at scale and resulted in management overhead. The addition of port management for backend pool to inbound NAT rules allows you to specify a range of frontend ports pre-allocated for a specific backend pool to enable port forwarding. Upon scaling, Standard Load Balancer will automatically create port mapping from an available frontend port of the specified range to the specified backend port of the new instance. This capability applies to all types of backend pools composed of Virtual Machines, Virtual Machines Scale Sets, or IP addresses across all Azure regions.
Five Azure classic networking services will be retired on 31 August 2024
Azure Cloud Services (classic) will be retired on 31 August 2024. Because classic Azure Virtual Network, reserved IP addresses, Azure ExpressRoute gateway, Azure Application Gateway, and Azure VPN Gateway are dependent on Azure Cloud Services (classic), they’ll be retired on the same date. Before that date, you’ll need to migrate any resources that use these classic networking services to the Azure Resource Manager deployment model.
Azure Stack Edge
General Availability of Azure Stack Edge Pro 2
Microsoft has announced the general availability of its Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 solution, a new generation of an AI-enabled edge computing device offered as a service from Microsoft. The Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 offers the following benefits over its precursor, the Azure Stack Edge Pro series:
- This series offers multiple models that closely align with your compute, storage, and memory needs. Depending on the model you choose, the compute acceleration could be via one or two Graphical Processing Units (GPU) on the device.
- This series has flexible form factors with multiple mounting options. These devices can be rack mounted, mounted on a wall, or even placed on a shelf in your office.
- These devices have low acoustic emissions and meet the requirements for noise levels in an office environment.
Azure Stack Hub
Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack Hub (preview)
With Azure Stack Hub’s 2108 update, you can preview Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack Hub. The same service that’s currently found in Azure is available in Azure Stack Hub. Manage Kubernetes clusters in the same way you currently do in Azure and utilize a familiar user experience, CLI, and API.
IoT Hub on Azure Stack Hub public preview will be retired on 30 September 2022
On 30 September 2022, the public preview version of IoT Hub on Azure Stack Hub will be retired. Before that date, we recommend you migrate to Azure IoT Edge gateway. Azure IoT Edge gateway is integrated with Azure IoT Hub running in Azure and provides an end-to-end IoT experience with comprehensive diagnostics capabilities. An Azure IoT Edge gateway can be deployed on an Azure Stack Hub Virtual Machine. Alternatively, you can host a VM on another physical hardware of your choice.
Azure Container Registry on Azure Stack Hub (preview)
With Azure Stack Hub’s 2108 update, you can preview Azure Container Registry on Azure Stack Hub. This service uses private container registries on Azure Stack Hub to store and retrieve OCI-compliant images to support both connected and disconnected scenarios for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), AKS engine, and other container orchestrator engines.