Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (December 2022 – Weeks: 49 and 50)

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 Dedicated Host: Restart

Azure Dedicated Host gives you more control over the hosts you deployed by giving you the option to restart any host. When undergoing a restart, the host and its associated VMs will restart while staying on the same underlying physical hardware. With this new capability, now generally available, you can take troubleshooting steps at the host level.

New Memory Optimized VM sizes (preview)

The new E96bsv5 and E112ibsv5 VM sizes part of the Azure Ebsv5 VM series offer the highest remote storage performances of any Azure VMs to date. The new VMs can now achieve even higher VM-to-disk throughput and IOPS performance with up to 8,000 MBps and 260,000 IOPS. This enables you to run data intensive workloads more efficiently and process more data on fewer vCPUs, potentially optimizing infrastructure and licensing costs.


Feature enhancements to Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Azure’s global Web Application Firewall (WAF) running on Azure Front Door, and Azure’s regional WAF running on Application Gateway, now support additional features that help organizations improve their security posture and make it easier to manage logging across resources:

  • SQL injection (SQLi) and cross site scripting (XSS) detection queries: new Azure WAF analytics SQLi and XSS detection rule templates simplify the process of setting up automated detection and response with Microsoft’s security incident & event management (SIEM) service: Microsoft Sentinel.
  • Azure policies for WAF logging: the regional WAF on Application Gateway and the global WAF running on Azure Front Door now have built-in Azure policies requiring resource logs and metrics. This allows organizations to enforce standards for WAF deployments to collect logs and metrics for further analysis and insights related to security events.

In addition, Azure regional WAF on Application Gateway now has:

  • Increased exclusion limit: CRS 3.2 or greater ruleset now supports exclusions limit up to 200, a 5x increase from older versions; allowing for greater customization on how the WAF handles managed rulesets.
  • Bot Manager ruleset exclusion rules: exclusions are extended to Bot Manager Rule Set 1.0. Learn more: WAF exclusions.
  • Uppercase transform on custom rules: you can now handle case sensitivity when creating custom WAF rules using uppercase transform in addition to the lowercase transform.


Azure NetApp Files cross-zone replication (preview)

The cross-zone replication feature allows you to replicate your Azure NetApp Files volumes asynchronously from one Azure availability zone (AZ) to another in the same region. It uses a combination of the SnapMirror® technology used with cross-region replication and the new availability zone volume placement feature, to replicate data in-region; only changed blocks are sent over the network in a compressed, efficient format. It helps you protect your data from unforeseeable zone failures, without the need for host-based data replication. This feature minimizes the amount of data required to replicate across the zones, therefore limiting data transfers required and also shortens the replication time, so you can achieve a smaller restore point objective (RPO). Cross-zone replication doesn’t involve any network transfer costs, and hence it is highly cost-effective.

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