Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (April 2023 – Weeks: 15 and 16)

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.



Hotpatch for Windows Server VMs on Azure with desktop experience

Hotpatch is now available for Windows Server Azure edition VMs running the desktop experience. Hotpatch is a feature that allows you to patch and install updates to Windows Server Azure Edition virtual machines on Azure without requiring a reboot. It was previously available for the server core installation mode, but now, Windows Server Azure edition VMs installed with the desktop experience mode (the Windows Explorer shell, Start Menu, etc.) will no longer reboot every month for security updates, providing:

  • lower workload impact with less reboots;
  • faster deployment of updates as the packages are smaller, install faster, and have easier patch orchestration with Azure Update Manager;
  • better protection, as the hotpatch update packages are scoped to Windows security updates that install faster without rebooting.

Trusted launch on existing Azure Gen2 VMs (preview)

Trusted launch provides a seamless way to improve the security of Azure Generation 2 VMs. It protects against advanced and persistent attack techniques by combining technologies which can be independently enabled like secure boot and virtualized version of trusted platform module (vTPM). The preview is available to support to enable Trusted launch on existing Gen2 VMs by upgrading the security type of the Gen2 VM to Trusted launch. This will help improve the foundational security of existing Gen2 VMs.


Azure CNI overlay in generally available

Azure CNI overlay addresses performance, scalability and IP exhaustion challenges while using traditional Azure Container Networking Interface (CNI). With Azure CNI overlay AKS clusters can be scaled to very large sizes by assigning pod IP addresses from user defined overlay address space which are logically different from VNet IP address space hosting the cluster nodes. Additionally, user defined private CIDR can be reused in different AKS clusters, truly extending the IP space available for containerized applications in AKS. Pod and node traffic within the cluster use an overlay network via Azure Software Defined Network (SDN) without any additional encapsulation. Network Address Translation (using the node’s IP address) is used to reach resources outside the cluster.


Azure Storage Mover is now Generally Available

Azure Storage Mover is a new, fully managed migration service that enables you to migrate your files and folders to Azure Storage while minimizing downtime for your workload. You can use Storage Mover for different migration scenarios such as lift-and-shift, and for cloud migrations that you have to repeat occasionally. Azure Storage Mover also helps maintain oversight and manage the migration of all your globally distributed file shares from a single storage mover resource.

Support for Linux clients to use identity-based access to Azure file shares over SMB

Azure Files now supports Linux clients to use identity-based authentication over Server Message Block (SMB). Previously only Windows clients were supported by Azure Files.

In order to leverage identity based authentication and authorization, the clients need to be domain joined to one of the following Domain Services:

  • On-premises Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS)

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Kerberos for hybrid identities is NOT supported yet for Linux clients. This capability will enable customers who are moving a mix of Windows and Linux environments to cloud to have a consistent identity system across both Windows and Linux workstations.

Azure Elastic SAN Public Preview is now available in more regions

Azure Elastic SAN, which is currently in preview, is available with locally redundant storage (LRS) in several regions, including Australia East, Southeast Asia, France Central (including ZRS), North Europe (including ZRS), Sweden Central, UK South, West Europe (including ZRS), East US, East US 2, South Central US, West US 2 (including ZRS), and West US 3. By combining SAN-like capabilities with the advantages of being a cloud-native service, Azure Elastic SAN provides a storage solution that is highly scalable, cost-effective, high-performing, and resilient. It caters to various storage needs, whether you’re migrating your on-premises SAN to the cloud or creating your application directly in the cloud.

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