Category Archives: Cloud

Azure Management services: what's new in August 2021

Microsoft constantly releases news about Azure management services. By publishing this summary, we want to provide an overall overview of the main news released in the last month. This allows you to stay up-to-date 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, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

The IT Service Management Connector is certified with the Quebec version of ServiceNow

The IT Service Management Connector (ITSM) of Azure Monitor is now certified for the Quebec version of ServiceNow. This connector allows you to establish a two-way connection between Azure and ITSM tools, useful for managing incidents and solving problems faster. Furthermore, it is possible to create work items in the ITSM tool, based on Azure alerts(Metric Alerts, Activity Log Alerts, e Log Analytics alert).

Lower levels for reservations for Azure Monitor dedicated clusters

Microsoft has reduced the capacity reservation (capacity reservation) minimum required for Azure Monitor dedicated clusters, bringing it from 1.000 GB to 500 GB per day. This allows you to take advantage of advanced features such as customer-managed keys, lockbox, and infrastructure encryption, even to customers with lower data entry volume.

The retirement of the Log Analytics agent has been announced

Microsoft announced that the 31 August 2024 the Log Analytics agent used in Azure Monitor will be retired. Therefore, before that date, you should use the new Azure Monitor agent (AMA) and data collection rules (DCR) of Azure Monitor to monitor virtual machines and servers.

Configure

Azure Automation

New features coming soon to be released

Microsoft has announced that the following new features will soon be released for Azure Automation:

  • Azure AD support: ability to use Azure AD-based authentication for public automation endpoints
  • Support for Powershell 7: ability to run Azure Automation runbooks, in production scenarios, using PowerShell 7.1
  • Azure Automation Hybrid Worker Extension for Azure and for Azure Arc machines: possibility of onboarding hybrid workers using the hybrid extension for Azure and Azure Arc machines.
  • Support for Availability Zones, useful for increasing the levels of reliability and resilience.
  • Native support of the Powershell Az module.

Govern

Azure Policy

Azure Guest Configuration Policy: possibility of applying settings within the systems as well (preview)

Guest Configuration Policies allow you to control settings within a machine, both for virtual machines running in Azure environment and for "Arc Connected" machines. At the moment, most of the Azure Guest Configuration Policies only allow you to make checks on the settings inside the machine, but they do not apply configurations. However, Microsoft has announced in preview the possibility to apply configurations provided by Microsoft or to create your own configuration packages using PowerShell DSC version 3.

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported.

Secure

Azure Security Center

Azure Defender for SQL available from Azure SQL Virtual Machine blade

This new Azure Defender information browsing experience for SQL VMs, allows you to view, directly from the SQL virtual machine panel, information about security best practices for related SQL Server databases.

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

Support for Archive storage for backup of VMs and SQL on board VMs

In Azure Backup, you can now move recovery points to save costs and keep your backup data longer. This feature is available for Azure VMs and SQL Servers installed on board Azure VMs. Using Azure PowerShell, it is possible to move these backups from the standard tier to the new archive tier.

When moving backup data from vault-standard to vault-archive, Azure Backup converts incremental data into full backup. This procedure involves an increase in the total GB used, but costs are reduced due to the huge difference in cost per GB between the two storage tiers. To simplify this process, Azure Backup provides advice on Recovery Points (RPs) for which migration to the vault-archive is recommended. Restores can be done in an integrated way from the Azure portal, with a simple and intuitive process.

Azure Site Recovery

ASR support for global disaster recovery

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) introduced support for cross-continental disaster recovery. Thanks to this feature, a virtual machine can be replicated from an Azure region in one continent to a region in another continent. In the event of a planned or unplanned outage, you will be able to fail over the virtual machine on all continents and, once the interruption has been mitigated, it can be brought back to the continent of origin (fail-back) and protected.

Extended the date of withdrawal of Hard coded IP address

Microsoft has extended the retirement date for hard coded IP addresses to connect with Azure Site Recovery services to 31 August 2024. This allows you to have more time to adjust the configurations of the environments to use the Azure service tags.

Migrate

Azure Migrate

Software inventory and agentless dependency analysis

In Azure Migrate it is now possible to inventory applications, roles and features installed and perform dependency analysis, on Windows and Linux servers, without installing any agent. Agentless dependency analysis allows you to identify and understand dependencies between servers, supporting data collection for up to 1000 servers at the same time.

Discovery and assessment of ASP.NET Web Apps with Azure Migrate (preview)

Azure Migrate now allows you to identify and assess ASP.NET Web Apps running on the on-premises IIS Web server and manage their migration. Until now, it was necessary to use tools such as App Service Migration Assistant to evaluate the Web Apps. Thanks to the introduction of this feature in Azure Migrate, it is possible to discover the .NET Web Apps running in your VMware environment and create assessments to manage the migration to Azure IaaS or Azure App Service.

Containerization of apps and migration to AKS or Azure App Service

The Azure Migrate app containerization tool allows you to modernize existing ASP.NET and Java web applications, using a containerization approach that requires little or no application changes. The tool groups existing applications running on servers in a container image and allows them to be deployed in containers running in Azure Kubernetes Service(AKS) or in Azure App Service. As part of the migration process, the tool allows you to parameterize the application configurations, outsource file system dependencies using persistent volumes and configure the containerized application monitor using Application Insights.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: What's new in July 2021

Microsoft constantly announces news regarding Azure management services and as usual this monthly summary. The aim is to provide an overview of the main news of the month, in order to stay up to date on these topics and have the necessary references to conduct further exploration.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

New built-in policies for Log Analytics workspaces and linked automation accounts

When designing and deploying Azure Monitor Log Analytics workspaces, it is advisable to adopt specific criteria to distribute them consistently, in compliance with the compliance of their environment. Thanks to a new built-in policy it is possible to automate and control the distribution of Log Analytics workspaces and the Automation Accounts connected to them in your own environments.

Better integration between Azure Monitor and Grafana

Grafana is a very popular open source visualization and analysis software, which allows you to query, view and explore various metrics from multiple data sources in a centralized way. Recently, some updates have been made to the Azure Monitor plug-in for Grafana that allow you to enable additional data sources and easier authentication via managed identity. Among the main improvements we find:

  • Azure Resource Graph in the Azure Monitor Grafana data source. Azure Resource Graph (ARG) is a service in Azure that allows you to perform large-scale queries on a given subscription set, so that you can effectively govern your environment. With Grafana 8.0, Azure Monitor data source supports querying ARG.
  • Managed Identities are supported for the Grafana data source hosted in Azure and for Azure Monitor. Customers hosting Grafana on Azure (e.g.. App Service, Azure Virtual Machine) and have enabled managed identity on their virtual machine, they will be able to use it to configure Azure Monitor in Grafana. This aspect simplifies the configuration of the data source, requiring it to be securely authenticated without having to manually configure credentials through app registrations in Azure AD for each data source.
  • Direct links to the Azure portal for Grafana metrics. To allow easy exploration of Azure Monitor metrics directly from Grafana, when a user selects the result of a query, a menu appears with a link to “View in the Azure portal”. Selecting it will redirect you to the corresponding chart in the Azure Metrics Explorer portal.

Direct proxy and Log Analytics gateway support for the new agent

Following the recent announcement on the availability of the new Azure Monitor agent (AMA) and data collection rules (Data Collection Rules), support for direct proxies and support for Log Analytics gateways is introduced for this agent.

Configure

Azure Automation

Support for User Assigned Managed Identities (preview)

Azure Automation has introduced support for User Assigned Managed Identities, which allows you to eliminate the effort of managing RunAs Accounts for runbooks. A User Assigned Managed Identities is an independent Azure resource that can be assigned to the Azure Automation account, which can have multiple associated user-assigned identities. The same identity can be assigned to multiple Azure Automation accounts.

Govern

Azure Policy

Azure Policy built-in for Network Watcher Traffic Analytics

Traffic Analytics is based on the analysis of NSG flow logs and after an appropriate aggregation of data, inserting the necessary intelligence concerning security, topology and geographic map, can provide detailed information about the network traffic of your Azure cloud environment. The following new built-in policies have been introduced to facilitate the deployment of Traffic Analytics:

  • An audit policy: Flag flow logs resource without traffic analytics enabled
  • DeployIfNotExists policies: Enable Traffic Analytics on NSGs in an Azure region of a subscription or resource group

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

Secure

Azure Security Center

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Site Recovery

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 56 that solves several issues and introduces some improvements. In particular, this update introduces the following new features:

  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (services): Improvements have been made to enable replication and new protection operations to be faster than 46%.
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (portal): Replication between any two Azure regions around the world can now be enabled. You are no longer limited to enabling replication on your continent.

The details and the procedure to follow for the installation can be found in the specific KB.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: What's new in June 2021

In June have been announced, by Microsoft, a considerable number of news regarding Azure management services. Through these articles released monthly we want to provide an overall overview of the main news, in order to stay up to date on these arguments and have the necessary references for further information.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

The new Azure Monitor agent and new Data Collection Rules features are available

Azure Monitor introduces, for some months now, a new unified agent (Azure Monitor Agent – AMA) and a new concept to make data collection more efficient (Data Collection Rules – DCR).

Among the various key features added in this new agent we find:

  • Support for Azure Arc server(Windows and Linux) 
  • Virtual Machine Scale Set support (VMSS)
  • Installation via ARM template

With regard to the Data Collection, these innovations have been made:

  • Better control in defining the scope of data collection (e.g.. ability to collect from a subset of VMs for a single workspace)
  • Single collection and sending to both Log Analytics and Azure Monitor Metrics
  • Send to multiple workspaces (multi-homing for Linux)
  • Ability to better filter Windows events
  • Better extension management

All the preview features are ready to be used even in production environments, with the exception of the use of custom Azure Monitor Metrics (still in preview).

Collection of Syslog events from the Azure Monitor agent for Linux distro (preview)

Azure Monitor introduced a new concept for configuring data collection and a new unified agent for Azure Monitor. This new agent (AMA – Azure Monitor Agent) allows you to improve some key aspects of data collection from virtual machines, as reported in the previous paragraph. There was an issue on this front where Syslog data collection was not working as expected. This problem has been solved and the latest version of the agent includes support for the collection of Syslog events from Linux machines (using version 1.10 and later), available for all supported distributions.

Azure Monitor cost changes to achieve significant savings

Microsoft recently made several changes to Azure Monitor Log Analytics costs, which allow for significant savings, if important amounts of data are merged into the workspaces. It should be noted that a new naming has been introduced with regard to capacity reservations, which are now called “commitment tiers”. These changes have been made available since 2 June 2021:

  • New commitment tiers (higher). New engagement levels are introduced for Azure Sentinel and Azure Monitor Log Analytics for data ingestion: 1 TB/Day, 2 TB/Day, and 5 TB/Day.
  • Changes to the billing method for importing data that exceed the commitment tiers. Data imported beyond the commitment tiers will be billed using the actual commitment tiers rate, instead of the pay-as-you-go rate, with consequent cost reduction.
  • Simplification of commitment tiers: it is now possible to select from eight distinct commitment tiers and it is no longer necessary to manage tiers due to minor changes in the data ingestion. As part of this change, all workspaces with a commitment tier greater than 500 GB / day will be reset to the lowest available commitment tier: 500 GB / day, 1 TB / day, 2 TB / day or 5 TB / day.

Govern

Azure Policy

Changes in compliance for Resource Type Policies

Starting from 16 June 2021, the policies in which the resource type is the only evaluation criterion (e.g.. Allowed Resource Types, Disallowed Resource Types) they will have no resources “compliant” in compliance records. This means that if there are no non-compliant resources, the policy will show compliance with the 100%. If one or more non-compliant resources are present, the policy will show it 0% of compliance, with total resources equal to non-compliant resources. This change is to respond to feedback that resource type policies skew overall compliance rate data (which are calculated as compliant resources + exempt from total resources in all policies, deduplicated for unique resource IDs) due to a large number of total resources.

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

  • Display of amortized costs in the cost analysis preview.
  • Cloudyn is withdrawn from the 30 June.
  • News regarding Cost Management Labs.

Secure

Azure Security Center

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

TLS 1.2 enforcement per il MARS backup agent

Starting from September 1st 2020, Azure Backup will enforce the presence of the Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) version 1.2 or later. To continue using Azure Backup, you need to make sure that all resources use the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services agent (MARS) updated to use TLS 1.2 or superior.

Cross Region Restore of SQL / SAP HANA running on VM in Azure

In Azure Backup, restore between different regions of Azure (Cross-Region Restore – CRR), available for virtual machines, has also been extended to support SQL and SAP HANA. Cross Region Restore allows customers to restore their data to secondary regions (paired region) at any time, essential in the event of the unavailability of the primary region. Geo-replicated backup data can then be used to restore SQL and SAP HANA databases running on Azure VMs to the “paired region” from Azure, during planned or unplanned incidents.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features. In particular, this month the main news concern:

  • Support for new geographies of the public cloud.
  • The ability to register servers running SQL Server, with SQL VM RP, to automatically install the IaaS SQL agent extension. This feature is available for VMware (without agent), Hyper-V (without agent) and agent-based migrations.
  • Evaluation via CSV file import supports up to 20 disks. Previously, there was a limit of eight disks per server.

Support for Azure private links

Private Link support allows you to connect to the Azure Migrate service privately and securely via ExpressRoute or via a site-to-site VPN. Thanks to this method of connectivity, the instrumentsAzure Migrate: Discovery and Assessment andAzure Migrate: Server Migration, they can be used by connecting privately and securely. This method is recommended to use when there is an organizational requirement to access the Azure Migrate service and other Azure resources without crossing public networks or if you want to get better results in terms of bandwidth or latency.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: What's new in June 2021

In June have been announced, by Microsoft, a considerable number of news regarding Azure management services. Through these articles released monthly we want to provide an overall overview of the main news, in order to stay up to date on these arguments and have the necessary references for further information.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

The new Azure Monitor agent and new Data Collection Rules features are available

Azure Monitor introduces, for some months now, a new unified agent (Azure Monitor Agent – AMA) and a new concept to make data collection more efficient (Data Collection Rules – DCR).

Among the various key features added in this new agent we find:

  • Support for Azure Arc server(Windows and Linux) 
  • Virtual Machine Scale Set support (VMSS)
  • Installation via ARM template

With regard to the Data Collection, these innovations have been made:

  • Better control in defining the scope of data collection (e.g.. ability to collect from a subset of VMs for a single workspace)
  • Single collection and sending to both Log Analytics and Azure Monitor Metrics
  • Send to multiple workspaces (multi-homing for Linux)
  • Ability to better filter Windows events
  • Better extension management

All the preview features are ready to be used even in production environments, with the exception of the use of custom Azure Monitor Metrics (still in preview).

Collection of Syslog events from the Azure Monitor agent for Linux distro (preview)

Azure Monitor introduced a new concept for configuring data collection and a new unified agent for Azure Monitor. This new agent (AMA – Azure Monitor Agent) allows you to improve some key aspects of data collection from virtual machines, as reported in the previous paragraph. There was an issue on this front where Syslog data collection was not working as expected. This problem has been solved and the latest version of the agent includes support for the collection of Syslog events from Linux machines (using version 1.10 and later), available for all supported distributions.

Azure Monitor cost changes to achieve significant savings

Microsoft recently made several changes to Azure Monitor Log Analytics costs, which allow for significant savings, if important amounts of data are merged into the workspaces. It should be noted that a new naming has been introduced with regard to capacity reservations, which are now called “commitment tiers”. These changes have been made available since 2 June 2021:

  • New commitment tiers (higher). New engagement levels are introduced for Azure Sentinel and Azure Monitor Log Analytics for data ingestion: 1 TB/Day, 2 TB/Day, and 5 TB/Day.
  • Changes to the billing method for importing data that exceed the commitment tiers. Data imported beyond the commitment tiers will be billed using the actual commitment tiers rate, instead of the pay-as-you-go rate, with consequent cost reduction.
  • Simplification of commitment tiers: it is now possible to select from eight distinct commitment tiers and it is no longer necessary to manage tiers due to minor changes in the data ingestion. As part of this change, all workspaces with a commitment tier greater than 500 GB / day will be reset to the lowest available commitment tier: 500 GB / day, 1 TB / day, 2 TB / day or 5 TB / day.

Govern

Azure Policy

Changes in compliance for Resource Type Policies

Starting from 16 June 2021, the policies in which the resource type is the only evaluation criterion (e.g.. Allowed Resource Types, Disallowed Resource Types) they will have no resources “compliant” in compliance records. This means that if there are no non-compliant resources, the policy will show compliance with the 100%. If one or more non-compliant resources are present, the policy will show it 0% of compliance, with total resources equal to non-compliant resources. This change is to respond to feedback that resource type policies skew overall compliance rate data (which are calculated as compliant resources + exempt from total resources in all policies, deduplicated for unique resource IDs) due to a large number of total resources.

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

  • Display of amortized costs in the cost analysis preview.
  • Cloudyn is withdrawn from the 30 June.
  • News regarding Cost Management Labs.

Secure

Azure Security Center

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

TLS 1.2 enforcement per il MARS backup agent

Starting from September 1st 2020, Azure Backup will enforce the presence of the Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) version 1.2 or later. To continue using Azure Backup, you need to make sure that all resources use the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services agent (MARS) updated to use TLS 1.2 or superior.

Cross Region Restore of SQL / SAP HANA running on VM in Azure

In Azure Backup, restore between different regions of Azure (Cross-Region Restore – CRR), available for virtual machines, has also been extended to support SQL and SAP HANA. Cross Region Restore allows customers to restore their data to secondary regions (paired region) at any time, essential in the event of the unavailability of the primary region. Geo-replicated backup data can then be used to restore SQL and SAP HANA databases running on Azure VMs to the “paired region” from Azure, during planned or unplanned incidents.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features. In particular, this month the main news concern:

  • Support for new geographies of the public cloud.
  • The ability to register servers running SQL Server, with SQL VM RP, to automatically install the IaaS SQL agent extension. This feature is available for VMware (without agent), Hyper-V (without agent) and agent-based migrations.
  • Evaluation via CSV file import supports up to 20 disks. Previously, there was a limit of eight disks per server.

Support for Azure private links

Private Link support allows you to connect to the Azure Migrate service privately and securely via ExpressRoute or via a site-to-site VPN. Thanks to this method of connectivity, the instrumentsAzure Migrate: Discovery and Assessment andAzure Migrate: Server Migration, they can be used by connecting privately and securely. This method is recommended to use when there is an organizational requirement to access the Azure Migrate service and other Azure resources without crossing public networks or if you want to get better results in terms of bandwidth or latency.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: What's new in May 2021

To stay constantly updated on news regarding Azure Management services, this summary is released monthly, allowing you to have an overview of the main new features of the month. In this article you will find the news, presented in a synthetic way and accompanied with the necessary references to be able to conduct further studies.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

Log Analytics workspace insights

Microsoft has announced the availability of Log Analytics workspace insights which allows you to obtain detailed information on the Log Analytics workspaces, providing a comprehensive overview of the following aspects: use, performance, integrity, agents, query e change logs.

These are the main questions to which the solution can provide an answer:

  • What are the main tables, those where most of the data is imported?
  • Which resource sends the most logs to the workspace?
  • How long does it take for the logs to reach the workspace?
  • How many agents are connected to the work area? How many are in a health state?
  • Query control: how many queries run in the workspace? What are their response codes and duration time? What are the slow and inefficient queries that require workspace overhead?
  • Who has set a daily limit? When data retention has changed?
    • Useful for keeping a log of changes in workspace settings.

Export of Azure Monitor logs to multiple destinations (preview)

You now have the option to create up to 10 data export rules in each Log Analytics workspace, having the flexibility to decide which tables to export and to which destination (storage accounts oppure event hubs). This configuration possibility makes it possible to address these aspects:

  • Event hub rate limit
  • Single storage account rate limit
  • Different logs can be exported to different destinations.

Updates related to the user interface(UI)

The following user interface updates have been introduced in Log Analytics(UI):

  • Consultation of custom logs: it is now possible to control and manage the table and the custom fields from a new dedicated panel, offering a new user interface that improves the experience of consulting custom logs.
  • Azure Dashboard: the parts of Log Analytics added to Azure dashboards support integration with filters.

Query packs in Azure Monitor (preview)

Query packages have been made available in Azure Monitor , which are essentially ARM objects containing several queries. Among the main features we find:

  • Being ARM objects, precise control of permissions is provided and can be distributed via code and incorporated into policies.
  • They work in all contexts and in all environments, with the ability to upload them to multiple subscriptions.
  • They allow organizations to better organize queries based on their taxonomy, thanks to the presence of new metadata.
  • The clear experience, harmonized and contextual to the environment is incorporated in Log Analytics.

Availability in new regions

Azure Monitor Log Analytics is now also available in the South India region. To check the availability of the service in all the Azure regions you can consult this document.

Secure

Azure Security Center

Integration con GitHub Actions (in public preview)

The integration of Azure Security Center (ASC) with GitHub Actions, in public preview, allows you to easily incorporate security and compliance early in the software development lifecycle. With this integrated experience, you can gain greater visibility into IT operations and IT security, both in the pipeline CI / CD, both in the security scans of container registry within ASC. Furthermore, end-to-end traceability makes it easier for developers to identify issues, improving resolution times and strengthening your cloud security posture.

Re-scanning of containers

Azure Security Center has introduced a new scan for containers that analyzes images to identify vulnerabilities before the push action occurs within the Azure container registries. In the future, ASC will also provide recommendations if you detect workflows that send Docker images without enabling scan actions CI / CD.

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

Backup for Azure Blobs

Azure Blob Backup is a managed data protection solution, this helps protect block blobs from various data loss scenarios. The data is stored locally within the source storage account and can be restored from a certain time when necessary. This feature provides a simple means, safe and economical to protect blobs.

Azure Site Recovery

Enable Azure Site Recovery (ASR) when creating virtual machines

While creating new virtual machines from the Azure portal, you can now also enable the Azure Site Recovery replication process. This possibility is included in the virtual machine management options along with those already available, such as Monitoring, Identity, and Backup.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features. In particular, this month the main news is the migration of virtual machines and physical servers with operating system disks up to 4 TB, which is now supported using the migration method based on the presence of the agent.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: What's New in April 2021

Microsoft is constantly announcing news regarding Azure management services. This summary, released on a monthly basis, allows you to have an overall overview of the main news of the current month, in order to stay up to date on these news and have the necessary references to conduct further study.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

New agent version for Windows Systems

A new version of the Log Analytics agent has been released this month for Window systemss. The new version includes a new tool for troubleshooting and handles changes to certificates in Azure services differently.

The uniqueness of the name of the Log Analytics workspaces is now per resource group

In the past, the uniqueness of the Azure Monitor Log Analytics workspace was globally for all subscriptions. This meant that when a workspace name was used by a customer, it could not be reused by others. Microsoft has changed the way in which the uniqueness of the workspace name is requested and is now managed in the context of the resource group.

New definitions built-in of the Azure Policy for data encryption in Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor provides built-in policies for data encryption governance and control over the key used for encryption at rest. Here are the new built-in policies available for data encryption:

  • Azure Monitor logs clusters should be encrypted with customer-managed key – Audit if log analytics cluster is defined with customer-managed key.
  • Azure Monitor logs clusters should be created with infrastructure-encryption enabled (double encryption) – Audit log analytics cluster is created with Infrastructure enabled.
  • Azure Monitor logs for application insights should be linked to a log analytics workspace – Audit if application insights is linked to store data in log analytics workspace. Workspace can then be linked to a log analytics cluster for customer-managed key settings.
  • Saved-queries in Azure Monitor should be saved in customer storage account for logs encryption – Audit if workspace has linked storage account, which allows the encryption using customer-managed key.
  • Log alert queries in Azure Monitor will be saved in customer storage account, if workspace has linked storage account, which allows the encryption using customer-managed key.

Improvements for Log Alerts

Log Alerts are available in Azure Monitor that allow users to use a Log Analytics query to evaluate the resources logs at a set frequency and activate an alert based on the results obtained. Rules can trigger one or more actions using Action Groups. In this context, two new highly requested features have been released (in preview):

  • Stateful Log Alert: with this feature enabled, activated alerts are automatically resolved once the condition is no longer satisfied. In this way, the same behavior is adopted as in the alerts related to metrics.
  • Frequency of 1 minute: with this feature enabled, the alert query is evaluated every minute to verify the specified condition, thus reducing the overall time for activating a Log Alert.

Availability in new regions

Azure Monitor Log Analytics is also available in the region South India.

To check the availability of the service in all the Azure regions you can consult this document.

Container insights: support for the monitor of Kubernetes Azure Arc enabled environment (preview)

Containers insights in Azure Monitor has extended its monitor capabilities to Azure Arc Kubernetes clusters as well, providing the same monitoring capabilities present for the Azure Kubernetes service (AKS), which:

  • Visibility on the performance of the environment, through the memory and processor metrics for the controllers, nodes and containers.
  • View information collected through workbooks and in the Azure portal.
  • Alert and possibility of querying historical data for problem solving.
  • Ability to verify Prometheus metrics.

Configure

Azure Automation

Availability in new regions

Azure Automation is also available in the region South India.

Support for System Assigned Managed Identities for cloud and Hybrid job (public preview)

Azure Automation has introduced support for System Assigned Managed Identities for cloud and Hybrid jobs. Among the advantages of using Managed Identities we find:

  • The ability to authenticate to any Azure service that supports Azure AD authentication.
  • Elimination of the management overhead associated with managing Run As accounts in runbook code. This makes it possible to access resources via the Managed Identity of an Automation account from a runbook, without having to worry about creating RunAsCertificate, RunAsConnection, etc.
  • It is not necessary to renew the certificate used by the Automation Run As account.

Govern

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

Secure

Azure Security Center

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

Azure Dedicated Host protection support

Azure Backup has introduced support for the backup and recovery of virtual machines residing on Azure Dedicated Host, physical servers dedicated to your organization whose capacity is not shared with other customers. This feature is available in all Azure regions where Azure Dedicated Host can be activated.

Azure VM Scale sets protection with orchestration templates (preview)

Azure Backup now allows you to backup and restore Azure VM Scale sets with orchestration models, which provide a logical grouping of virtual machines managed by the platform.

Improvements in encryption using customer managed keys (preview)

Azure Backup now allows you to use your own keys to encrypt backup data residing in the Recovery Services vaults. This new feature allows you to increase the control of the encryption of your data. Furthermore, you can use the Azure Policy to control and apply encryption using keys managed directly by the customer.

Azure Site Recovery

Support for Azure Policy (preview)

The ability to use Azure Policy is now provided to enable large-scale use of Azure Site Recovery for virtual machines. After creating a disaster recovery policy for a resource group, all new virtual machines that will be added to this resource group will have Site Recovery enabled automatically. Furthermore, through a Remediation process, Site Recovery can also be enabled for all virtual machines already present in the Resource Group.

Support for cross-continental disaster recovery (for 3 region pairs)

Azure Site Recovery introduced support for cross-continental disaster recovery. Thanks to this feature, a virtual machine can be replicated from an Azure region in one continent to a region in another continent. In the event of a planned or unplanned outage, you will be able to fail over the virtual machine on all continents and, once the interruption has been mitigated, it can be brought back to the continent of origin (fail-back) and protected. This feature is currently available for the following 3 pairs of intercontinental regions:

  • Southeast Asia and Australia East
  • Southeast Asia and Australia Southeast
  • West Europe and South Central US

Support of “proximity placement groups” in hybrid and cloud disaster recovery scenarios

Azure Site Recovery introduced support for “proximity placement groups (PPG)” in hybrid and cloud disaster recovery scenarios. With this support it will be possible to replicate an on-premises physical or virtual machine or an Azure virtual machine within a PPG, in the chosen Azure target area. Upon activation of the failover plan, Site Recovery will activate the failover VM within the target PPG selected by the user. This functionality is available both through the Azure portal and through PowerShell and REST API, across all Azure regions.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features. In particular, this new release was released this month:

  • The tools Azure Migrate: Discovery and Assessment and Azure Migrate: Server Migration can be used by connecting privately and securely to the Azure Migrate service via ExpressRoute or via a site-to-site VPN, using Azure private links. This connectivity method is recommended to use when there is an organizational requirement to access the Azure Migrate service and other Azure resources without crossing public networks or if you want to get better results in terms of bandwidth or latency.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure Management services: what's new in March 2021

In March there were several news announced by Microsoft regarding Azure management services. In this series of articles, reported monthly, major announcements are listed, accompanied by the necessary references to be able to conduct further studies on.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

What's new in Azure Monitor for Windows Virtual Desktop

Azure Monitor for Windows Virtual Desktop, that will be made available in the coming weeks, will allow you to have a centralized view, containing all the monitor information to help you troubleshoot and operate on a large scale. Thanks to the latest updates it is possible to:

  • View a summary of the status and health of the pool host
  • Find and resolve deployment issues
  • Understanding and addressing user feedback
  • Evaluate resource usage and make scalability decisions, thus achieving optimal cost management

ExpressRoute Monitors in Azure Monitor Network Insights

Azure Monitor Network Insights allows now, through a centralized console, to make the ExpressRoute monitor. The solution displays the following information regarding ExpressRoute connectivity:

  • Topology of all ExpressRoute circuit components (peering, connections and gateways)
  • Provisioning and health status of the various components
  • Circuit metrics (Availability, throughput and packet delivery)
  • Metrics of the ExpressRoute gateway connected to the circuit

Azure Monitor SQL insights for Azure SQL (preview)

Azure Monitor SQL Insights allows you to collect, the analysis and customized display of telemetry data for SQL Database, SQL Managed Instance and SQL Server on board Azure Virtual Machines. The interactive experience introduced by SQL Insights allows you to customize the collection, the frequency of telemetry and to combine data from multiple sources, providing a unified monitoring experience for the SQL environment. SQL Insights is based on the Azure Monitor platform, giving customers access to all the viewing and notification features in the solution.

Azure Monitor Alerts for Azure Backup (preview)

You can now manage backup alerts through the standard Azure Monitor experience. This integration allows users to have a consistent experience in managing alerts across Azure services, including backup.

Azure monitor for containers: live consultation of pods logs & Replica set

Azure monitor for containers introduced support for real-time access to Azure Kubernetes Service Pods and Replica sets logs (AKS). Thanks to this new feature you can search for, filter and view historical pod logs in Log Analytics, you can also troubleshoot and diagnose pods and replica sets.

Container Insights: Persistent Volume monitoring & Tab reports

Container Insights of Azure Monitor introduces two new features:

  • Monitoring dei Persistent Volume (PV) for AKS clusters.
  • A new Reports tab that provides full access to all workbooks related to Kubernetes.

Azure SQL auditing in Log Analytics

It is now possible to merge the audit logs of Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics to a Log Analytics workspace and to the Event Hub. This way you can centralize SQL audit logs in one location and do large-scale analysis.

New version of the agent for Linux systems

A new version of the Log Analytics agent has been released this month for Linux systems, which introduces several improvements and greater stability.

Availability in new regions

Azure Monitor Log Analytics is available in the following new regions:

  • Australia Central 2

To check the availability of the service in all the Azure regions you can consult this document.

Configure

Azure Automation

Availability in new regions

Azure Automation is available in the following new regions:

  • UK West

Azure Automanage

New features for Windows systems and extension to Linux distro

Azure Automanage is a new solution that automates several operations throughout the entire lifecycle of virtual machines located in Azure. It allows you to automatically implement best practices in virtual machine management ensuring compliance regarding security aspects, corporate compliance and business continuity. In this solution, new features have been added to simplify operations on virtual machines (VM) Windows Server, such as installing security patches without restarting. This feature allows security patches to be deployed in seconds, this makes it easier to protect servers from critical threats. Azure Automanage has also been extended to major Linux distributions.

Govern

Azure Policy

Azure Cost Management

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, 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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

  • Ability to monitor spending through alerts on expected costs (forecasted cost alerts)
  • New view of subscription costs
  • Cost Management Labs News

Secure

Azure Security Center

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center 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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

  • Integrating Azure Firewall management into Security Center
  • Inclusion of the “Disable rule” experience in SQL vulnerability assessment (preview)
  • Azure Monitor Workbooks built into Security Center
  • Azure Audit reports included in the regulatory compliance dashboard (preview)
  • Ability to view recommendation data in Azure Resource Graph with “Explore in ARG”
  • Workflow Automation Deployment Policy Updates
  • Improvements in the recommendations page

Protect

Azure Backup

Backup Center

The new Backup Center solution is now available and offers a unique experience designed for centralized management of large-scale backups. With Backup Center, you can dynamically explore large backup inventories between vaults, subscriptions, different locations and even tenants using Azure Lighthouse. The Backup Center can also govern any actions related to backups. Thanks to integration with Azure Policies and recent additional features for tag-based Azure Policies, large-scale governance can be implemented and compliance monitoring simplified. Backup Center also provides useful information to detect resources that are not protected from backups.

Backup Center supports the following types of workloads:

  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • SQL in Azure Virtual Machines
  • HANA in Azure VMs
  • Azure Files

Furthermore, the following workloads are supported in preview:

  • Azure Disks
  • Azure Blobs
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL Servers

Azure Managed Disk backups

Azure Backup offers the ability to protect managed disks. All this takes place through the periodic creation of snapshots that are kept for a duration established by backup policy. The solution does not require the presence of specific agents and supports backup and recovery of both operating system and data disks (including shared disks), regardless of whether or not they are connected to a virtual machine running in Azure.

SAP HANA Incremental Backup Support

Azure Backup introduces support for creating incremental SAP HANA backups (at the moment in all regions, except Germany Northeast, Germany Central, France South, and US Gov IOWA). Sap HANA's large DB protection is faster and cheaper with this feature.

Support for Archive storage for backup of VMs and SQL on board VMs (preview)

In Azure Backup, you can now move recovery points to save costs and keep your backup data longer. This feature is available for Azure VMs and SQL Servers installed on board Azure VMs. Using Azure PowerShell, you can move these backups from the standard tier to the new archive tier. Restores can be done in an integrated way from the Azure portal, with a simple and intuitive process. In addition to this, Azure Backup will provide, using a specific API, recommendations for moving recovery points to the tier archive.

Backup for Azure Blobs (preview)

Azure Blob backup is an on-premises and managed data protection solution, this helps protect block blobs from various data loss scenarios. Data is stored locally within the source storage account and can be restored from a certain selected time when needed. This feature provides a simple means, safe and economical to protect blobs.

Azure Site Recovery

Expanding DR scenarios to Availability Zones from Azure

Although Availability Zones are traditionally used by customers for high-availability configurations of environments, can now also be leveraged to implement specific disaster recovery scenarios. This feature allows you to define DR plans for scenarios where the maintenance of data residency and local compliance is required, improving the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). This configuration also reduces the complexity of the configurations required to implement a DR strategy in a secondary region.

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 the this page, that provides information about new releases and features. In particular, this month the main news concern:

  • Support to provide multiple server credentials on the Azure Migrate appliance needed to detect installed applications (software inventory), perform agentless dependency analysis and discover SQL Server instances and databases in the VMware environment.
  • Agentless VMware migration now supports simultaneous replication of 500 VMs for vCenter.
  • Azure Migrate automatically installs the Azure VM agent during migration (using the agentless migration method).
  • Azure Migrate Hub now includes an app containerization tool (preview), with support for ASP.NET and Java web applications, which allows you to facilitate the migration of containerized applications running on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
  • Ability to perform assessment for migration to Azure VMware Solution.
  • The new Azure Migrate PowerShell module (preview) adds support for Server Migration agentless tools for migrating VMware virtual machines (VM) in Azure. Furthermore, you can configure and manage server replication to Azure and migrate them, using Azure PowerShell cmdlets in an automated and repeatable way.

Azure Database Migration

SQL Server discovery and assessment agentless

With Azure Migrate, you can now discover SQL Server instances and databases running in a VMware environment, analyze their configuration, application performance and dependencies to migrate to Azure SQL databases and Azure SQL Managed Instances. The solution can provide information regarding the possibility of migration, correct sizing and SQL Azure cost projections.

Evaluation of Azure

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

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (March 2021 – Weeks: 11 and 12)

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

Compute

Brazil South Availability Zones

Availability Zones give users additional options for high availability for their most demanding applications and services as well as confidence and protection from potential hardware and software failures by providing three or more unique physical locations within an Azure region. Availability Zones in Brazil South are made up of three unique physically separated locations or “zones” within a single region to bring higher availability and asynchronous replication across Azure regions for disaster recovery protection.

Azure expands PCI DSS certification

PCI DSS is a global information security standard designed to secure payments and reduce credit card fraud. Microsoft Azure has increased the scope of its Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification, providing coverage across all live Azure regions.

Make workloads on AMD-backed virtual machines confidential without recompiling code (limited preview)

Microsoft is further broadening the confidential computing options available to Azure customers through the technology partnership with AMD, specifically by being the first major cloud provider to offer confidential virtual machines on the new AMD EPYC™ 7003 series processors. This new approach complements existing Azure confidential computing solutions such as confidential containers for Azure Kubernetes Service and opens the possibility to create new confidential applications without requiring code modifications which in turn substantially simplifies the process of creating confidential applications.

HBv3-Series VMs: now generally available in some regions

Azure HBv3-series virtual machines (VMs) for high-performance computing (HPC)
are generally available in the East US, South Central US, and West Europe Azure regions. HBv3 Virtual Machines feature AMD EPYC™ 7003-series (Milan) CPU cores, 448 GB of RAM, 480 MB of L3 cache, and no simultaneous multithreading (SMT). HBv2 Virtual Machines provide up to 340 GB/sec of memory bandwidth. HBv3 VMs can be deployed with a range of CPU core counts to support a diverse set of HPC workload needs.

Publishing VM Images from Shared Image Gallery to Azure Marketplace

You can now publish a VM Image in Shared Image Gallery (SIG) to Azure Marketplace. This capability simplifies your image preparation, testing, and submission process as you no longer have to extract vhds, upload them, and generate SAS URIs. With this capability, you can now manage the full image lifecycle within Azure. You can simply create your image from the VM or a vhd into Shared Image Gallery, then select the SIG Image to publish it in Partner Center.

New VM series supported by Azure Batch

The selection of VMs that can be used by Azure Batch has been expanded, allowing newer Azure VM series to be used. The following additional VM series can now be specified when Batch pools are created:

  • DCsv2
  • HBv3
  • NCasT4_v3

Storage

Azure Storage Explorer v1.18.0

Azure Storage Explorer helps you upload, download, and manage the data you store in Azure Storage. The released version v1.18.0 includes the following new capabilities:

  • Decrease startup and load time of Storage Explorer.
  • New connection flow to make it easier to specify the type of resource.
  • For faster data transfer, Storage Explorer now uses AzCopy v10.8.0.
  • Log files now have more descriptive names and, easier way to clean up old logs.
  • Authorizing via shared access signatures (SAS) is now enabled for ADLS Gen2 accounts. You can now attach to an ADLS Gen2 Storage account, container, or folder via SAS using Storage Explorer.

Networking

IPv6 Support for ExpressRoute Private Peering (preview)

IPv6 support for ExpressRoute Private Peering is now available for public preview with ExpressRoute circuits globally and Azure environments in regions with Availability zones. IPv6 support will unlock hybrid connectivity for you as you look to expand into mobile and IoT markets with Azure, or to address IPv4 exhaustion in your on-premise networks.

Here are the new capabilities available with this support:

  • Establish BGP sessions between the customer and Microsoft edge over ExpressRoute using IPv4 subnets, IPv6 subnets, or both
  • Connect to dual-stack deployments in Azure using a new or existing ExpressRoute gateway
  • Use FastPath with an ExpressRoute connection to route IPv6 traffic

Service Tags for User Defined Routing (preview)

You can now specify a Service Tag for the address prefix parameter in a user defined route for your route table. You can choose from tags representing over 60 Microsoft and Azure services to simplify route creation and maintenance.

  • You no longer need to manually update routes when services change or add to their list of endpoints. Routes with Service Tags will update automatically to include new changes.
    • This also eliminates the need for regularly updating routes based on the IP data in the weekly JSON file downloads we provide.
  • This also helps reduce the likelihood of running into the routes per route table limit (400) which is common when configuring routing for multiple Microsoft and Azure services. By using Service Tags, you can avoid this, since the tag condenses all ranges for that service into one group.
    • For example, we list more than 4,500 prefixes which collectively represent the Azure address space. You can now use one route with the AzureCloud Service Tag which will include all of these.

The feature is available through REST, PowerShell, CLI, and can also be used in ARM templates. This feature is not currently available through the Azure Portal.

Azure Stack

Stream Analytics runs on Azure Stack Hub

Azure Stream Analytics now is supported on Azure Stack Hub as an IoT Edge module. It allows customer to leverage Azure Stack features, to interact with SQL, Event Hubs, and IoT Hubs running in an Azure Stack Hub subscription. Customers can build truly hybrid architectures for stream processing in your own private, autonomous cloud, which can be connected or disconnected with cloud-native apps using consistent Azure services on-premises.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (March 2021 – Weeks: 09 and 10)

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.

In this dedicated post you can find the most important announcements and major updates officialized last week during Microsoft Ignite 2021 conference.

Azure

Compute

Microsoft introduces Narya: advancing failure prediction and mitigation

Project Narya is an end-to-end prediction and mitigation service. Not only does it predict and mitigate Azure host failures but also measures the impact of its mitigation actions and to use an automatic feedback loop to intelligently adjust its mitigation strategy.

Storage

Azure File Sync agent v11.2

Azure File Sync agent v11.2 release is now on Microsoft Update and Microsoft Download Center.

Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • If a sync session is cancelled due to a high number of per-item errors, sync may go through reconciliation when a new session starts if the Azure File Sync service determines a custom sync session is needed to correct the per-item errors.
  • Registering a server using the Register-AzStorageSyncServer cmdlet may fail with “Unhandled Exception” error.
  • New PowerShell cmdlet (Add-StorageSyncAllowedServerEndpointPath) to configure allowed server endpoints paths on a server. This cmdlet is useful for scenarios in which the Azure File Sync deployment is managed by a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) or Service Provider and the customer wants to configure allowed server endpoints paths on a server. When creating a server endpoint, if the path specified is not in the allow list, the server endpoint creation will fail. Note, this is an optional feature and all supported paths are allowed by default when creating a server endpoint. To learn more, see the release notes.

More information about this release:

  • This update is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 installations that have Azure File Sync agent version 4.0.1.0 or later installed.
  • The agent version for this release is 11.2.0.0.
  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the installation.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB4539952.

Routing Preferences

Routing Preference for Azure Storage provides you the flexibility to choose how network traffic is routed between clients outside Azure and your storage accounts by optimizing for exceptional network reliability and performance or by optimizing for lower costs. You now have the choice to direct network traffic to the public endpoint of your storage account using the ‘Microsoft Global Network‘ or over the ‘Public Internet‘. The Microsoft global network delivers exceptional network reliability with premium performance, while using your ISP network may help achieve cost efficiency.

  • Routing over the Microsoft Global Network: The Microsoft global network is one of the largest networks on the globe that currently spans over 165,000 fiber miles with over 180 edge Points of Presence (POPs). The network is well provisioned with multiple redundant fiber paths and traffic engineered intelligently to ensure exceptionally high reliability and performance. Internet traffic enters and exits the Microsoft network at the POP closest to the client to provide optimized network experience (cold potato routing).
  • Routing via the transit ISP network: The new competitive egress tier minimizes traversal over the Microsoft global network and maximizes traversal over the transit ISP network. Internet traffic enters and exits Microsoft network at the POP closest to your storage account’s region (hot potato routing).

By default and to date, network traffic between clients outside Azure and the storage account always uses the Microsoft global network. You can change the routing preference configuration for the default public endpoint to the ISP network for storage accounts in major Azure regions where the feature is available. In addition, you now have the ability to publish additional route-specific endpoints for your storage accounts. These route-specific endpoints will always route traffic between clients outside Azure and the storage account over the appropriate path.

Protection of multi-cloud environments with Azure Security Center

The tendency of companies to adopt a multi-cloud strategy is increasingly widespread, but this operating model makes it particularly challenging to achieve high safety standards for your environment. To meet this need, Microsoft has officially made multi-cloud security support available in the Azure Security Center solution, allowing you to also contemplate amazon web services resources (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). this article describes the features of this solution that provides a high degree of security and improves security postures in multi-cloud environments.

Azure Security Center (ASC) was originally developed as the best tool to protect resources in an azure environment. However, the need for customers to protect resources located on multiple public clouds is widespread and for this reason the product team has decided to expand the capacity for action, simplifying security management tools in multi-cloud environments. Azure Security Center can protect not only resources in hybrid environments but also contemplate multi-cloud architectures, including AWS and GCP.

Figure 1 – Multi-cloud and hybrid protection in Azure Security Center

These are the features that are made available to users to cover multi-cloud scenarios:

  • Connecting your AWS or GCP accounts to Azure Security Center provides a unified multi-cloud view of your environment's security postures. In particular, if the solutions AWS Security Hub or GCP Security Command Center detect incorrect configurations, these reports are included in the Secure Score template and in the compliance assessment against specific regulations (Regulatory Compliance), present in Azure Security Center.
  • Thanks to the fact that Azure Defender for Servers take advantage of Azure Arc you can simplify the onboarding process, and enable the protection of virtual machines running in AWS environments, GCP or hybrid cloud. All of which includes several features, including, automatic provisioning of agents, policy management, vulnerabilities and EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) integrated. In particular, for vulnerability assessment functionality it is possible to perform manual or large-scale scans, and analyze the vulnerabilities detected, on scanned systems, through a unified experience.

These features complement multi-cloud support, also recently announced, of Azure Defender for SQL, this allows you to constantly monitor sql server implementations to detect known threats and vulnerabilities. these features are usable for sql server enabled in an on-premises environment, on virtual machines in Azure and also in multi-cloud deployment, contemplating Amazon Web Services (AWS) e Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

The solutionAzure Arc plays a fundamental role in all this and allows you to extend azure management services and principles to any infrastructure. To achieve this, Microsoft has decided to extend the model Azure Resource Manager to support hybrid and multi-cloud environments, this makes it easier to implement the security features in Azure on all infrastructure components.

Figure 2 – Azure Arc for hybrid and multi-cloud environments

The onboarding process and capabilities offered vary depending on the public cloud you intend to incorporate into Azure Security Center. the following paragraphs provide features for both amazon web services (AWS) that for Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The onboarding process of your AWS account integrates the solution AWS Security Hub with Azure Security Center. In this way it is possible to obtain complete visibility and protection of these cloud environments to provide:

  • Automatic agent provisioning. ASC uses Azure Arc to deploy Log Analytics agent on board AWS instances.
  • Policy management.
  • Vulnerability management.
  • EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) integrated.
  • Detecting security-impacting configuration errors.
  • A single view that can show ASC recommendations and AWS Security Hub.
  • An ASC score that also includes AWS resources.
  • Regulatory compliance assessments also for AWS resources.

The moment the connection with AWS Security Hub is configured correctly:

  • ASC scans AWS environment for EC2 instances, onboarding is done in Azure Arc, allowing log analytics agent to be installed. This gives you threat protection and gets security advice.
  • The ASC service scans new AWS EC2 instances each 6 hours and integrates them according to the configuration made.
  • The AWS CIS standard is shown in asc's regulatory compliance dashboard.
  • If the AWS Security Hub are enabled, recommendations will appear in the asc portal and regulatory compliance dashboard, after a few minutes after the completion of the onboarding process.

Figure 3 – AWS recommendations displayed in the ASC portal

To view active recommendations for your resources by type, you can use the security center asset inventory page and apply the specific filter for the type of aws resource that interests you:

Figure 4 – Display filters for AWS resources

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

The onboarding mechanism of your GCP account allows you to integrate GCP Security Command with Azure Security Center and to have complete visibility and protection, in particular by providing:

  • Detecting security-impacting configuration errors.
  • A single view that can show ASC recommendations and GCP Security Command Center.
  • An ASC score that also includes GCP resources.
  • Integration of boards of GCP Security Command Center CIS-based within the Azure Security Center regulatory compliance dashboard.

The moment the connection with GCP Security Command completes:

  • The CIS GCP standard is shown in asc's regulatory compliance dashboard.
  • Security recommendations for resources located in GCP will appear in the Azure Security Center portal and regulatory compliance dashboard within minutes of completing onboarding.

Figure 5 – GCP recommendations displayed in the ASC portal

GCP virtual machine onboarding is currently manual, but you can adopt scripts to do it on a large scale.

On the Azure Security Center recommendations page, you can view all azure resource security recommendations along with AWS and GCP recommendations, thus obtaining a multi-cloud view.

Conclusions

The ability to adopt Azure Security Center as a centralized control solution, where security information from other public clouds also converges, combined with the possibilities given by integration with Azure Arc, to extend the protection of your systems, allows you to achieve a high degree of security and improve security postures in multi-cloud environments. Multi-cloud strategy adoption will become increasingly widespread, and Microsoft will continue to expand Azure Security Center to provide the best solutions to protect Azure, hybrid environments and multi-cloud operating models.