Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (April 2024 – Weeks: 15 and 16)

This blog post series highlights the key announcements and major updates related to Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Azure Stack, as officially released by Microsoft in the past two weeks.



Announcing New Cloud Governance Guidance in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

Microsoft is pleased to announce a significant update to the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) for Azure, introducing new and enhanced cloud governance guidance. This update is a pivotal part of Microsoft’s dedication to facilitating effective cloud adoption strategies across various organizations. The revised governance guidance covers critical areas such as identity, cost, resource, data, and AI governance, aiming to provide a comprehensive and accessible roadmap for organizations at any stage of their cloud journey. Whether it’s a startup aiming to scale operations efficiently or a large enterprise refining its governance practices, the new guidance is structured to support their evolving needs.

Retirement of Cloud Services (classic) Deployment Model (31 August 2024)

On 31 August 2024, Microsoft will retire the Cloud Services (classic) deployment model. Customers are advised to migrate their services to Cloud Services (extended support) in Azure Resource Manager before this date to avoid service disruption. The new deployment model offers significant improvements including deployment templates, role-based access control, and regional resiliency. Note that related services like Azure Virtual Network and Azure ExpressRoute gateway will also be retired, necessitating a migration to the Azure Resource Manager model which features enhanced resource deployment and management capabilities.


NVv4 Series VMs Now Available in Italy North Azure Region

Microsoft Azure has expanded its infrastructure offerings by making NVv4 Series Virtual Machines (VMs) available in the Italy North region. These VMs feature the AMD Radeon Instinct MI25 GPU and AMD EPYC 7V12 (Rome) CPU, offering robust performance options for computational and graphic-intensive applications. This deployment in Italy North provides local customers enhanced capabilities for graphics rendering, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and AI workloads, further supporting the demands of diverse business environments in the region.

HBv4-series & HX-series VMs Now Available in Sweden Central

The HBv4-series and HX-series VMs are now available in the Sweden Central region. These VMs are equipped with up to 176 AMD EPYC™ 9V33X (“Genoa-X”) CPU cores and provide impressive memory and storage capacities. The HBv4-series VMs come with 768 GB of RAM, while the HX-series offers 1.4 TB of RAM. Both series feature a 2.3 GB L3 cache per VM, delivering substantial bandwidth capabilities. These VMs are particularly suitable for high-performance computing needs, featuring 400 Gb/s NDR InfiniBand from NVIDIA Networking to support supercomputer-scale workloads.


Azure Virtual Network Encryption Available in All Regions

Azure Virtual Network encryption is now available across all Azure regions, enabling encryption of traffic between Virtual Machines and Virtual Machines Scale Sets within the same virtual network, as well as between regionally and globally peered virtual networks. This rollout enhances the already robust encryption-in-transit capabilities of Azure, providing an additional layer of security for data traveling within the cloud infrastructure.

Azure Virtual Network Manager Network Groups in Public Preview

The use of Azure Virtual Network Manager network groups in security admin rules is now available in public preview. This feature allows administrators to use network groups in the source and/or destination of security rules, facilitating easier network isolation and management. With network groups, administrators can logically group virtual networks or subnets, enabling scenarios like segregating production from non-production environments. This capability simplifies the enforcement of traffic control, eliminating the need to manually identify CIDR ranges or resource IDs, thereby enhancing security administration across Azure environments.


Azure Data Box Disk Now Available with Hardware Encryption

Azure Data Box Disk is now generally available with AES-256 hardware encryption for Linux-based hosts. This new offering is available to customers in the US, EU, and Japan, providing an option to choose between software encryption (BitLocker) and hardware encryption (self-encrypted). These self-encrypted disks offer copy performance on Linux that is on par with BitLocker encrypted disks on Windows, enhancing data security and performance for Azure users.

New Disk Property: LastOwnershipUpdateTime

Microsoft Azure introduces a new property for Disks, named LastOwnershipUpdateTime, available in the Azure Portal, PowerShell (PS), and Command-Line Interface (CLI). This property indicates the time when the Disk’s ownership or state was last updated, providing a clear timeline of changes. It is particularly useful when used alongside the diskState to monitor and verify the current state of the Disk and its recent updates. This addition aims to enhance transparency and control for Azure users managing disk resources.


Over the past two weeks, Microsoft has introduced a slew of updates and announcements pertaining to Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Azure Stack. These developments underscore the tech giant’s unwavering commitment to enhancing its cloud offerings and adapting to the ever-evolving needs of businesses and developers. Users of Azure can anticipate improved functionalities, streamlined services, and enriched features as a result of these changes. Stay tuned for more insights as I continue to monitor and report on Azure’s progression in the cloud sphere.

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