Azure Management services: what's new in December 2022

In December, several news regarding Azure management were announced by Microsoft services. The release of this summary, which occurs on a monthly basis, want to provide an overview of the main news of the month, in order to stay updated 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:

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor Agent: IIS logs and custom logs

The Azure Monitor agent allows you to collect text files and IIS logs and merge them into a Log Analytics workspace. In this regard, a new feature has been introduced to allow the collection of text logs generated in the application environment, exactly as it happens for Internet Information Service logs (IIS).

Azure Monitor Logs: custom log API and ingestion-time transformation

A new set of features is now available in Azure Monitor that allows you to fully customize the shape of the data that flows into your workspace, plus a new API for custom data merging. Thanks to these new features, it is possible to envisage customized transformations to the data at the time of ingestion. These transformations can be used to set up the extraction of fields during ingestion, obfuscate sensitive data, proceed to remove unnecessary fields or to delete complete events (useful for example to contain costs). Furthermore, it is possible to completely customize the data sent to the new API for custom logs. As well as being able to specify a transformation on the data sent to the new API, you can also explicitly define the schema of your custom table (including dynamic data structures) and leverage AAD authentication and ARM RBAC management.

Configure

Azure Automation

Extension for the Hybrid Runbook Worker

The User Hybrid Worker extension was announced in Azure Automation, which is based on the virtual machine extensions framework and offers an integrated installation experience. There is no dependency on the Log Analytics agent and workspace, and authentication is via System-assigned managed identities, eliminating the need to manage certificates. Furthermore, ensures automatic minor version upgrades by default and simplifies small-scale management of Hybrid Workers through the Azure portal, cmdlet PowerShell, Azure CLI, Bicep, ARM templates and the REST API.

Govern

Azure Cost Management

Use tag inheritance for cost management (preview)

Tag inheritance was announced in a public preview, which allows you to automatically apply subscription and resource group tags to child resources. This mechanism simplifies cost management pipelines.

Updates related toMicrosoft Cost Management

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Microsoft Cost Management, the solution to provide greater visibility into where costs are accumulating in the cloud, identify and prevent erroneous spending patterns and optimize costs . Inthis article the main improvements and updates of this solution are reported for the year 2022.

Azure Arc

Azure Arc enabled Azure Container Apps (preview)

Azure Container Apps enables developers to quickly build and deploy microservices and containerized applications. Deploying an Arc extension on Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes cluster, IT administrators gain control of the underlying hardware and environment, enabling high productivity of Azure PaaS services within a hybrid environment. The cluster can be on-premise or hosted in a third-party cloud. This approach allows developers to leverage the functionality and productivity of Azure Container Apps anywhere, not only in Azure environment. While, IT administrators can maintain corporate compliance by hosting applications in hybrid environments.

Server Azure Arc enabled in Azure China

Azure Arc-enabled servers are now also operable in two regions of Azure China: Est China 2 and North China 2.

Secure

Microsoft Defender for Cloud

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Microsoft Defender for Cloud 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.

Protect

Azure Backup

Recovery of Azure virtual machines Cross Zonal

Azure Backup exploits the potential of Zonal Redundant Storage (ZRS), which stores three replicas of backup data in different Availability Zones, synchronously. This allows recovery points stored in the Recovery Services Vault to be used with ZRS storage even if the backup data in one of the Availability Zones is unavailable, ensuring data availability within a region.

The Cross Zonal Restore option can be considered when:

  • Zone-wide availability of backup data is critical, and backup data downtime is unacceptable. This allows you to restore Azure virtual machines and disks to any zone of your choice in the same region.
  • Backup data resilience is needed along with data residency.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Backup (private preview)

For the Azure Backup service, the private preview of AKS Backup was announced. Using this feature it is possible:

  • Back up and restore containerized applications, both stateless and stateful, running on AKS clusters
  • Back up and restore data stored on persistent volumes attached to clusters.
  • Perform backup orchestration and management from the Backup Center.

Azure Site Recovery

Increased the churn limit (preview)

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) increased the data churn limit by approx 2,5 times, bringing it to 50 MB/s per disk. This way you can configure disaster recovery (DR) for Azure VMs with a data churn of up to 100 MB/s. This allows you to enable DR for IO intensive workloads. This feature is only available for Azure-to-Azure replication scenarios.

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 65 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.

Migrate

Azure Migrate

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. The main news of this month are described in detail in the following paragraphs.

Software inventory and agentless dependency analysis

Azure Migrate agentless software inventory and dependency analysis is now available for Hyper-V VMs, for bare-metal servers and for servers running on other public clouds such as AWS and GCP. It is therefore possible to inventory the applications, the roles and features installed on those systems. Furthermore, you can run dependency analysis on discovered Windows and Linux servers without installing any agents. Thanks to these features it is possible to build migration plans to Azure more effectively, going to group the servers related to each other.

Building a business case with Azure Migrate (preview)

Azure Migrate's business case feature helps you build business propositions to understand how Azure can drive the most value. Indeed, this solution allows you to understand the return on investment regarding the migration of server systems to Azure, of SQL Server deployments and ASP.NET web applications running in the VMware environment . The business case can be created with just a few clicks and can help you understand:

  • Total cost of ownership on-premises vs Azure and annual cash flow.
  • Resource utilization-based insights to identify ideal servers and workloads for the cloud and recommendations for right sizing in Azure.
  • Benefits for migration and modernization, including the end of support for Windows and SQL versions.
  • Long-term savings by moving from a capital expenditure model to an operating expenditure model, paying only for what you use.

Evaluation of Azure

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

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