Category Archives: Microsoft Azure

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (July 2022 – Weeks: 25 and 26)

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

Storage

Create an additional 5000 Azure Storage accounts within your subscription (preview)

Azure Storage is announcing public preview of the ability to create an additional 5000 Azure Storage accounts per subscription per region. This is a 20 times increase from the current limit of 250 and helps you create several hundred or thousand storage accounts to address your storage needs within a single subscription, instead of creating additional subscriptions.

Azure Stack

Azure Stack HCI

Network ATC is now publicly available with Azure Stack HCI 21H2

If you’ve deployed Azure Stack HCI previously, you know that network deployment can pose a significant challenge. You might be asking yourself:

  • How do I configure or optimize my adapter?
  • Did I configure the virtual switch, VMMQ, RDMA, etc. correctly?
  • Are all nodes in the cluster the same?
  • Are we following the best practice deployment models?
  • (And if something goes wrong) What changed!?

So, what does Network ATC actually set out to solve? Network ATC can help:

  • Reduce host networking deployment time, complexity, and errors
  • Deploy the latest Microsoft validated and supported best practices
  • Ensure configuration consistency across the cluster
  • Eliminate configuration drift

Network ATC does this through some new concepts, namely “intent-based” deployment. If you tell Network ATC how you want to use an adapter, it will translate, deploy, and manage the needed configuration across all nodes in the cluster.

Azure Management services: what's new in June 2022

In June, Microsoft announced 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

New version of the agent for Linux systems

A new version of the Azure Monitor Agent was released this month (AMA) and of Data Collection Rules (DCR) for Linux systems (v1.19.3), which introduces in particular support for recent distros, like Ubuntu 22.04, Rocky Linux, and AlmaLinux.

Govern

Azure Cost Management

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 some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported, including:

Azure Arc

Windows Admin Center from the Azure portal for Azure Arc servers (preview)

Using Windows Admin Center from the Azure portal, it is now also possible to manage the Microsoft Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure.

Azure Arc-enabled System Center Virtual Machine Manager (preview)

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) has been used for several years to configure, manage and transform on-premises data centers. Microsoft has announced the availability of Azure Arc-enabled System Center Virtual Machine Manager. This is a new Azure Arc feature that allows on-premises environments, managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager, to be connected to Azure, thus unlocking Azure-based self-service. In this way, VMM-controlled on-premises virtual machines can be created, managed and deleted, in on-premises System Center Virtual Machine Manager deployments, via the familiar Azure portal or using ARM templates, thus ensuring a consistent experience.

Machine Learning with Azure Kubernetes Service and Arc-enabled Machine Learning

With a simple distribution of the cluster extension in an AKS environment or on Kubernetes clusters (Arc Kubernetes) Azure Arc enabled, the cluster is supported in Azure ML.

Azure Key Vault secrets provider on cluster Kubernetes Azure Arc enabled

The extension Azure Key Vault (AKV) Secrets Provider allows you to retrieve the secrets, keys and certificates from an Azure Key Vault in a Kubernetes cluster connected to Arc. This feature eliminates the need to store and maintain secrets locally on K8s clusters, relying on AKV as a centralized solution for secret management.

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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

  • Defender for Azure Cosmos DB
  • Defender for SQL on machines in AWS and GCP environments

Protect

Azure Backup

Multiple backups per day for Azure VMs

Azure Backup allows you to create advanced policies to take multiple snapshots of virtual machines per day. Now, to address the need to protect mission-critical workloads aboard virtual machines, there is the possibility of reducing the RPO parameter up to four hours. Thanks to this feature, you can also get a higher retention with regards to instant restore. Indeed, the policy is designed to offer from seven-day instant recovery retention (default duration) up to a maximum of thirty days.

Multi-user authorization for recovery services vault

Multi-user authorization (MUA – Multi User Authorization) for Azure Backup adds an additional layer of protection for critical operations on recovery service vault, providing greater security regarding backups. To provide multi-user authorization, Azure Backup has introduced a resource protection mechanism that ensures that critical operations are performed only if you have obtained the appropriate permission. In this way, Azure Backup provides better protection against operations that could lead to potential loss of backup data, including:

  • Disabling soft delete and hybrid security settings
  • Disabling the protection of multi-user authorization
  • Edit backup policies (to reduce the conservation)
  • Changing the security (to reduce the conservation)
  • Interruption of protection with the deletion of data
  • Changing the MARS security PIN

The backup administrator, which typically holds the recovery services vault, must obtain the role of contributor in the protection of the resources to be able to perform the above protected operations (critical operations). This also requires the action of the resource protection owner to approve and grant the requested access. Furthermore, it is also possible to use Azure AD Privileged Identity Management to manage just-in-time access in resource protection. Finally, it is allowed to create the resource guard in a subscription or tenant other than the one where the recovery services vault resides, to achieve an additional level of isolation.

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.

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 (June 2022 – Weeks: 23 and 24)

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

Trusted launch support for virtual machines using Ephemeral OS disks

Trusted launch virtual machine (VM) support for VMs using Ephemeral OS disks improves the security of generation 2 VMs in Azure.

Storage

Azure NetApp Files datastores for Azure VMware Solution (preview)

The public preview of Azure NetApp Files datastores for Azure VMware Solution (AVS) is available. This new integration between Azure VMware Solution and Azure NetApp Files will enable you to create datastores via the Azure VMware Solution resource provider with Azure NetApp Files NFS volumes and mount the datastores on your private cloud clusters of choice. Along with the integration of Azure disk pools for Azure VMware Solution, this will provide more choice to scale storage needs independently of compute resources. For your storage-intensive workloads running on Azure VMware Solution, the integration with Azure NetApp Files helps to easily scale storage capacity beyond the limits of the local instance storage for AVS provided by vSAN and lower your overall total cost of ownership for storage-intensive workloads.

Azure NetApp Files: feature general availability and feature expansion of regional availability

To meet the demanding requirements of enterprise mission-critical workloads, new features are constantly added to Azure NetApp Files and previously released preview features are moved into general availability. The following capabilities are recently generally available and no longer need registration for use: AES encryption for AD authentication, Backup policy users, Administrators privilege users, and Dynamic change of service level. Additionally, feature regional coverage continues to expand for Azure NetApp Files cross-region replication. The following are the cross-region replication region pair additions: Brazil South and South Central US, West US 3 and East US, Australia Central and Australia Central 2, France Central and West Europe. Also, regional coverage has expanded for Azure NetApp Files for standard network features. The following regions are standard network feature additions: Australia Central, Australia Central 2, Australia Southeast, East US 2, France Central, Germany West Central, North Europe, West Europe, West US 2, and UK South.

Networking

Azure Firewall updates

The following updates are available for Azure Firewall:

  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) signatures lookup
  • TLS inspection (TLSi) Certification Auto-Generation
  • Web categories lookup
  • Structured Firewall Logs
  • IDPS Private IP ranges (preview)

Azure WAF policy and DDoS management in Azure Firewall Manager

Azure Firewall Manager now supports managing DDoS Protection Plans for virtual networks and Azure Web Application Firewall (Azure WAF) policies for application delivery platforms: Azure Front Door and Azure Application Gateway.

Azure Virtual Network Manager in nine new regions (preview)

Azure Virtual Network Manager helps you create your desired topologies like hub and spoke and mesh with just a few clicks. The security admin rules feature allows you to enforce security policies throughout your organization. You can create an Azure Virtual Network Manager instance in nine more regions and manage your virtual networks at scale across regions, subscriptions, management groups, and tenants globally from a single pane of glass.

Private link support in Azure Application Gateway (preview)

With private link support, incoming traffic to an Azure Application Gateway frontend can be secured to clients running in another Azure Virtual Network, Azure subscription, or Azure subscription linked to a different Azure Active Directory tenant through Azure Private Link. Traffic between private endpoints in your virtual network and your Application Gateway will traverse a secure and private connection.

ExpressRoute IPv6 Support for Global Reach (preview)

IPv6 support for Global Reach unlocks connectivity between on-premise networks, via the Microsoft backbone, for customers with dual-stack workloads. Establish Global Reach connections between ExpressRoute circuits using IPv4 subnets, IPv6 subnets, or both. This configuration can be done using Azure Portal, PowerShell, or CLI.

Network Watcher packet capture support for virtual machine scale sets (preview)

Azure Network Watcher packet capture announces support for virtual machines scale sets. This is as an out of the box, on-demand capability, enabling faster diagnostics and troubleshooting of networking issues.

Connection Monitor Support for virtual machine scale sets

Azure Network Watcher Connection Monitor announces support for virtual machine scale sets which enables faster performance monitoring and network troubleshooting through connectivity checks.

ExpressRoute Direct and Circuit in different subscriptions (preview)

Generate an authorization for the ExpressRoute Direct resource and redeem the authorization to create an ExpressRoute Circuit in a different subscription and/or Azure Active Directory Tenant. This feature is currently available in public preview.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (June 2022 – Weeks: 21 and 22)

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

DCsv3 and DCdsv3 series Virtual Machines

Confidential computing DCsv3 and DCdsv3-series virtual machines (VMs) are generally available.

Switzerland North Availability Zones

Availability Zones in Switzerland North are made up of three unique, physically separated, locations or “zones” within a single region which bring higher availability and asynchronous replication across Azure regions for disaster recovery protection. Availability Zones give you additional options for high availability for your most demanding applications and services as well as confidence and protection from potential hardware and software failures.

Azure Ebsv5 now available in 13 additional regions

Azure Virtual Machines Ebsv5 and Ebdsv5 are now available in 13 additional regions: South Africa North, France Central, Central India, Korea Central, Germany West Central, UK West, South India, Canada East, Australia Central, Japan West, Switzerland North, Norway East and UAE North.

Azure NC A100 v4 virtual machines for AI

Azure NC A100 v4 series virtual machines (VMs) are now generally available in US East 2, US East, Southeast Asia, and West Europe. These VMs, powered by NVIDIA A100 80GB Tensor Core PCIe GPUs and 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ Milan processors, improve the performance and cost-effectiveness of a variety of GPU performance-bound real world AI training and inferencing workloads.

Storage

Storage optimized Azure VMs deliver higher performance for data analytics

Microsoft is announcing the general availability of new storage optimized Azure Virtual Machines. The new Lasv3 and Lsv3 VM series have been engineered to run workloads that require high throughput and high IOPS, including big data applications, SQL and NoSQL databases, distributed file systems, data analytics engines, and more.

Networking

Azure Bastion IP based connection

Azure Bastion now supports connectivity to Azure virtual machines or on-premises resources via specified IP address. When IP based connection feature is enabled, Azure Bastion can be used to RDP/SSH into an on-premises resource over ExpressRoute and Site-to-Site VPN.

Manage Azure Web Application Firewall policies in Azure Firewall Manager (preview)

Azure Firewall Manager now supports Azure Web Application Firewall (Azure WAF) policies for application delivery platforms, Azure Front Door, and Azure Application Gateway.

Enhanced IPv6 functionality for MultiValue profiles in Azure Traffic Manager

Azure Traffic Manager now enables you to specify minimum children property separately for IPv4 and IPv6 endpoints for MultiValue profiles.

Azure Private Link support in Azure API Management

With Azure Private Link support in Azure API Management, you can now integrate clients in a virtual network privately.

Azure Stack

Azure Stack HCI single-node

At Build 2022, Microsoft announces the new single-node offering that provides additional options for business scenarios with different requirements. The new single-node Azure Stack HCI fulfills growing hybrid infrastructure needs in remote locations while maintaining the innovation of native integration with Azure Arc. Specifically, this new configuration offers flexibility to deploy the stack in smaller spaces and with less processing needs, optimizing resources while still delivering quality and consistency.

Additional benefits of Azure Stack HCI single-node include:

  • Smaller Azure Stack HCI solutions for environments with physical space constraints or that don’t require built-in resiliency, like retail stores and branch offices.
  • A smaller footprint reduces hardware and operational costs.
  • Solutions can be built to scale, ranging from single-node up to 16 nodes if needed.

Azure Management services: what's new in May 2022

To stay up to date 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 announcements summarized and accompanied by the necessary references to be able to carry out 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

Govern

Azure Arc

Support for private endpoints for Azure Arc-enabled servers

Private endpoints for Azure Arc-enabled servers allow you to manage Windows and Linux servers from Azure without having to send network traffic over the Internet, thus ensuring greater security. The servers can be configured for the use of a private endpoint by associating them with an Azure Arc Private Link Scope and connecting the on-premises network to an Azure virtual network using a site-to-site VPN or Express Route.

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

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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

Support for Azure virtual machines with trusted launch technologies

Trusted launch is a simple method, to improve the security of second generation virtual machines, which allows you to get protection from advanced attack techniques, combining technologies that can be independently enabled, such as secure boot and the virtualized version of the Trusted Platform Module (vTPM). Azure Backup introduced support for protecting Azure VMs with trusted launch features enabled.

Support for disks that use the Write Accelerator functionality

Azure Backup is now able to protect disks with the Write Accelerator feature enabled. These disks are widely used by Azure customers with virtual machines (VM) M series to improve I / O latency of writes over Azure Premium storage.

Migrate

Azure Migrate

New migration features for applications (preview)

The Azure Migrate tool has been integrated with additional features that simplify the movement of applications from on-premises environments to Azure App Service and to the Azure Kubernetes service. The bulk migration capabilities of Azure App Service allows you to:

  • Do the discovery and assessment of ASP.NET Web apps, ranking which apps are ready for migration
  • Suggest a destination for migration
  • Do the discovery and assessment for the migration of Java Tomcat applications to the Linux App Service services and to the Azure Kubernetes Service.
  • Containerize ASP.NET web apps and move them to Windows containers on App Service or Azure Kubernetes Service.

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.

How to deal with the migration of the datacenter to Azure

The adoption of solutions and services in the public cloud is rapidly and steadily increasing and this increase is mainly due to the fact that many organizations have realized that moving existing workloads to Azure can bring significant benefits. These include the ability to rapidly deploy applications allowing you to benefit from an infrastructure present on a global scale, the reduction of maintenance requirements and costs and performance optimization. In this article we will examine the main aspects to consider in order to adopt a strategic approach regarding the migration of your IT infrastructure to Azure and how, thanks to this approach, you can take advantage of all the benefits of Microsoft's public cloud.

Main triggers for migration

Among the main aspects that lead customers to face a migration of their workloads to cloud solutions we find:

  • the deadlines of the data center contracts in use;
  • the need to quickly integrate new acquisitions;
  • the urgent need for skills and resources;
  • the need to keep the software and hardware in use updated;
  • the willingness to respond effectively to potential security threats;
  • compliance needs (e.g.. GDPR);
  • the need to innovate their applications and make them available faster;
  • the end of the software support purpose for certain products and the need to obtain extended security updates free of charge, also for Windows Server 2008/R2, both for Windows Server 2012 / R2, in addition to the corresponding versions of SQL Server.

Figure 1 – Main triggers for migration

Finding yourself in at least one of these triggers that could initiate a migration process is very common. To undertake this migration in the best possible way, it is necessary to take into consideration what is reported in the following paragraphs.

The path of adopting cloud solutions

In the path of adoption of cloud solutions defined in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure six main actions emerge that should be considered:

  • Strategy definition: definition of the business justification and the expected results.
  • Plan: aligning the cloud adoption plan to business results, through:
    • Inventory of digital assets: cataloging of workloads, applications, data sources, virtual machines and other IT resources and assessments to determine the best way to host them in the cloud.
    • Create a cloud adoption plan by prioritizing workloads based on their business impact and technical complexity.
    • Definition of skills and support needs, to ensure that the company is prepared for change and new technologies.
  • Ready: preparation of the cloud environment.
  • Adopt: implementation of desired changes in IT and business processes. Adoption can take place through:
    • Migration: focuses on moving existing on-premises applications to the cloud based on an incremental process.
    • Innovation: focuses on the modernization of digital assets to drive business and product innovation. Modern approaches to implementation, operations and infrastructure governance make it possible to quickly bridge the gap between development and operations.
  • Govern: evaluation and implementation of best practices in governance.
  • Manage: implementation of operational guidelines and best practices.

Azure Landing Zone

Regardless of the migration strategy that you decide to adopt, it is advisable to prepare the Landing Zone, which represents, in the cloud adoption journey, the destination in the Azure environment. It is a horizontally scalable architecture designed to allow the customer to manage functional cloud environments, while maintaining best practices for security and governance. The architecture of the Landing Zone must be defined on the basis of business requirements and the necessary technical requirements.

Figure 2 – Conceptual example of an Azure landing zone

There are several options to implement the Landing Zone, thanks to which it will be possible to meet the deployment and operational needs of the cloud portfolio.

A structured and methodological approach and migration strategies

There are several paths for adopting solutions in Azure. To best address each of these paths, it is recommended to develop a complete business case and project plan in advance, containing information on benefits and costs (TCO) of moving workloads to the Microsoft Azure cloud, as well as recommendations on how to optimize the use model of Microsoft Azure services.

Figure 3 – Paths of adoption of cloud solutions

Based on the company's cloud strategy and general business objectives, it is advisable to examine the distribution and use of the workloads in use and evaluate their "cloud-ready" status to determine the best options and the most appropriate methods (lift&shift, refactor, rearchitect and rebuild) with a view to consolidation and migration to Microsoft Azure cloud services.

Figure 4 – Possible migration strategies

* These migration strategies are reported by Gartner research. Gartner also defines a fifth strategy called " Replace". 

The following paragraphs describe the main migration strategies that can be useful.

Rehost application (i.e., lift & shift)

It involves redistributing an existing application on a cloud platform without modifying its code. The application is migrated “as well as”, which provides basic cloud benefits without facing high risk and without incurring the costs of making changes to the application code.

This migration technique is usually used when:

  • You need to quickly move applications from on-premise to the cloud
  • When application is necessary, but the evolution of its capabilities is not a corporate priority
  • For applications that have already been designed to take advantage of Azure IaaS scalability
  • In the presence of specific application or database requirements, that can only be satisfied using IaaS virtual machines in an Azure environment.
Example

Moving a line of business application on board virtual machines residing in the Azure environment.

Refactor application (i.e., repackaging)

This migration strategy involves minimal changes to the application code or configuration changes, necessary to optimize the application for Azure PaaS and make the most of the cloud.

This migration technique is usually used when:

  • You want to leverage an existing code base
  • Code portability is an important element
  • The application can be easily packaged to run in an Azure environment
  • The application must be more scalable and rapidly deployable
  • We want to promote business agility through continuous innovation (Devops)
Example

An existing application is refactored by adopting services such as App Service or Container Services. Furthermore, SQL Server is refactored to Azure SQL Database.

Rearchitect application

The re-design technique consists of modifying or extending the architecture and code base of the existing application, optimizing it for the cloud platform and thus ensuring better scalability.

This migration technique is usually used when:

  • The application needs major revisions to incorporate new features or to work more effectively on a cloud platform
  • They want to leverage the investments made in existing applications
  • There is a need to minimize the management of VMs in the cloud
  • You intend to meet your scalability requirements in a cost-effective way
  • We want to promote business agility through continuous innovation (Devops)
Example

Breakdown of a monolithic application into microservices in an Azure environment that interact with each other and are easily scalable.

Rebuild application

The rebuild of the application from scratch involves the use of cloud-native technologies on Azure PaaS.

This migration technique is usually used when:

  • Rapid development is needed and the existing application is too limiting in terms of functionality and duration
  • We want to take advantage of the new innovations present in the cloud as serverless, Artificial intelligence (AI) e IoT
  • You have the skills to build new cloud-native applications
  • We want to promote business agility through continuous innovation (Devops)
Example

Creation of green field applications with innovative cloud native technologies, such as Azure Functions, Logic Apps, Cognitive Service, Azure Cosmos DB and more.

Azure Cloud Governance

In the successful adoption of services in the public cloud, as well as requiring a structured and methodological approach, it becomes essential to adopt a precise strategy to migrate not only applications, but also governance and management practices, adapting them appropriately.

For this reason it becomes essential to put in place a process of Cloud Technical Governance through which it is possible to guarantee the Customer an effective and efficient use of IT resources in the Microsoft Azure environment, in order to achieve their goals. To do this, it is necessary to apply controls and measurements to help the client mitigate risks and create boundaries. Governance policies, within the customer's environment, they will also act as an early warning system to detect potential problems.

Conclusions

The digital transformation process that affects companies often involves the migration of workloads hosted in their data centers to the cloud to obtain better results in terms of governance, security and cost efficiency. The innovation given by the migration to the cloud frequently becomes a business priority, for this reason it is advisable to adopt your own structured approach, to address various migration scenarios, which allows to reduce complexity and costs.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (May 2022 – Weeks: 17 and 18)

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

Azure Lab Services April 2022 update (preview)

IT departments, administrators, educators, and students can utilize the following updated features in Azure Lab Services:

  • Enhanced lab creation and improved backend reliability
  • Access performance
  • Extended virtual network support
  • Easier labs administration via new roles
  • Improved cost tracking via Azure Cost Management service
  • Availability of PowerShell module
  • .NET API SDK for advanced automation and customization
  • Integration with Canvas learning management system

Storage

Azure File Sync agent v15

Azure File Sync agent v15 is available and it’s now on Microsoft Update and Microsoft Download Center.

Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • Reduced transactions when cloud change enumeration job runs
  • View Cloud Tiering status for a server endpoint or volume
  • New diagnostic and troubleshooting tool
  • Immediately run server change enumeration to detect files changes that were missed by USN journal
  • Miscellaneous improvements

More information about this release:

  • This release is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 installations.
  • A restart is required for servers that have an existing Azure File Sync agent installation if the agent version is less than version 12.0.
  • The agent version for this release is 15.0.0.0.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB5003882.

Object replication on premium blob storage and rule limit increased

Object replication now supports premium block blobs to replicate your data from your blob container in one storage account to another anywhere in Azure. The destination storage account can be a premium block blob or a general-purpose v2 storage account.

You can also specify up to 1000 replication rules (increased from 10) for each replication policy for both general-purpose v2 and premium block blob storage accounts.

Object replication unblocks a set of common replication scenarios for block blobs:

  • Minimize latency: have your users consume the data locally rather than issuing cross-region read requests.
  • Increase efficiency: have your compute clusters process the same set of objects locally in different regions.
  • Optimize data distribution: have your data consolidated in a single location for processing/analytics and then distribute only resulting dashboards to your offices worldwide.
  • Optimizing costs: after your data has been replicated, you can reduce costs by moving it to the archive tier using life cycle management policies.

Networking

Controls to block domain fronting behavior on customer resources

Effective April 29, 2022,you will be able to stop allowing domain fronting behavior on your Azure Front Door, Azure Front Door (classic), and Azure CDN Standard from Microsoft (classic) resources in alignment with Microsoft’s commitment to secure the approach to domain fronting within Azure.

Virtual Network NAT health checks available via Resource Health

Virtual Network NAT (VNet NAT) is a fully managed and highly resilient network address translation (NAT) service. With Virtual Network NAT, you can simplify your outbound connectivity for virtual networks without worrying about the risk of connectivity failures from port exhaustion or your internet routing configurations.

Support for Resource Health check with Virtual Network NAT helps you monitor the health of your NAT gateway as well as diagnose or troubleshoot outbound connectivity.

With Azure Resource Health, you can:

  • View a personalized dashboard of the health of your NAT gateway

  • Set up customizable resource health alerts to notify you in near real-time of when the health status of your NAT gateway changes

  • See the current and past health history of your NAT gateway to help you mitigate issues

  • Access technical support when you need help with Azure services, such as diagnosing and solving issues

Virtual Network NAT Resource Health is available in all Azure public regions, Government cloud regions, and China Cloud regions.

Enhancements to Azure Web Application Firewall

Microsoft offers two options, global WAF integrated with Azure Front Door and regional WAF integrated with Azure Application Gateway, for deploying Azure WAF for your applications and APIs.

On March 29, Microsoft announced the general availability of managed Default Rule Set 2.0 with anomaly scoring, Bot Manager 1.0, and security reports on global WAF. Additional features on regional WAF are available, that offer you better security, improved scale, easier deployment, and better management of your applications and APIs:

  • Reduced false positives with Core Rule Set 3.2 integrated with Azure Application Gateway. The older CRS 2.2.9 ruleset is being phased out in favor of the newer rulesets.
  • Improved performance and scale with the next generation of WAF engine, released with CRS 3.2
  • Increased size limits on regional WAF for body inspection up to 2MB and file upload up to 4GB
  • Advanced customization with per rule exclusion and attribute by names support on regional WAF
  • Native consistent experience with WAF policy, new deployments of Application Gateway v2 WAF SKU now natively utilizes WAF policies instead of configuration
  • Advanced analytics capabilities with new Azure Monitor metrics on regional WAF

Azure Management services: what's new in April 2022

Microsoft is constantly announcing news regarding Azure management services. This summary, published monthly, 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

Windows client support for the Azure Monitor agent (preview)

Azure Monitor agent and data collection rules now support client devices, Windows 10 and Windows 11, via a new installation setup (MSI). This allows you to extend the use of the same agent for telemetry and for security aspects (using Sentinel).

Support for custom logs and IIS logs for the Azure Monitor agent (preview)

The Azure Monitoring Agent (AMA) natively provides the ability to collect log files (custom and IIS logs) in a Log Analytics workspace. This feature is particularly useful for easily consulting the custom logs generated by services or applications and IIS logs and for carrying out specific analyzes..

Integration between Azure Monitor and Azure Managed Grafana(preview)

Microsoft announced Azure Managed Grafana, a service managed by Microsoft that allows customers to run Grafana natively within the Azure platform. Azure Managed Grafana allows you to extend integrations with Azure Monitor, providing the ability to easily view Azure monitor data in Grafana dashboards.

Configure

Azure Automation

Diagnostic audit log for Automation account

Also for Automation Accounts, has been enabled the ability to send audit data to blob storage accounts, Event Hub and workspace of Azure Monitor Log Analytics. This possibility allows you to monitor the main activities that are carried out on the Automation Account for security and compliance purposes. By enabling the Audit event collection mechanism, it is possible to collect telemetry data regarding operations of creation, updating and deleting of Automation Account runbooks and assets.

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

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. In particular, this month the main news concern:

Protect

Azure Backup

Support for vault-archive storage for VMs backup, even in the presence of SQL and SAP HANA

Azure Backup announced the ability to move recovery points to the Azure Storage Vault-Archive tier to save costs and keep backup data for longer. This feature is available for Azure VMs, even in the presence of SQL Server and SAP HANA installed on board the VMs. 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 always be done in an integrated way from the Azure portal, through a simple and intuitive process.

Metrics and related alerts for Azure Blob storage (preview)

In recent months Azure Backup has released the ability to consult the health metrics of backups and restores for Azure virtual machines, SQL/HANA databases on board Azure virtual machines and Azure File. Now, Azure Backup also supports these metrics for storage blobs.

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.

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 (April 2022 – 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.

Azure

Compute

Recommended alert rules for virtual machines (preview)

The Azure portal experience now allows you to easily enable a set of recommended and out-of-the-box set of alert rules for your Azure resources. Currently in preview for virtual machines, you can simply enable a set of best practice alert rules on an unmonitored VM with just a few clicks.

Storage

Rehydrate an archived blob to a different storage account

You can now rehydrate an archived blob by copying it to a different storage account, as long as the destination account is in the same region as the source account. Rehydration across storage accounts enables you to segregate your production data from your backup data, by maintaining them in separate accounts. Isolating archived data in a separate account can also help to mitigate costs from unintentional rehydration.

Azure Archive Storage now available in Switzerland North

Azure Archive Storage provides a secure, low-cost means for retaining cold data including backup and archival storage. Now, Azure Archive Storage is available in Switzerland North.

Networking

Service tags support for user-defined routing

Specify a service tag as the address prefix parameter in a user-defined route for your route table. You can choose from tags representing over 70 Microsoft and Azure services to simplify and consolidate route creation and maintenance. With this release, using service tags in routing scenarios for containers is also supported. User-defined routes with service tags will update automatically to include any changes that services make to their list of IPs and endpoints.

DNS reservations to prevent subdomain takeover in Cloud Services deployments

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform integrated with data services, advanced analytics, and developer tools and services. When you build on, or migrate IT assets to Azure, Microsoft provides a secure, consistent application platform to run your workloads. To strengthen your security posture, Microsoft rolled out DNS reservations to prevent subdomain takeover in Cloud Services deployments. Subdomain takeovers enable malicious actors to redirect traffic intended for an organization’s domain to a site performing malicious activity.

Azure Stack

Azure Stack HCI

Windows Server guest licensing offer

To facilitate guest licensing for Azure Stack HCI customers, take advantage of a new offer that brings simplicity and increased flexibility. This licensing is through an all-in-one place Azure subscription and in some cases may be less expensive than the traditional licensing model. The new Windows Server subscription for Azure Stack HCI is generally available as of April 1, 2022. With this offer, you can purchase unlimited Windows Server guest licenses for your Azure Stack HCI cluster through your Azure subscription. You can sign up and cancel anytime. There is a free 60-day trial after which the offer will be charged at $23.30 per physical core per month.

Azure IaaS and Azure Stack: announcements and updates (April 2022 – Weeks: 13 and 14)

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

On-demand capacity reservations

On-demand capacity reservations let you reserve compute capacity for one or more VM size(s) in an Azure region or availability zone for any length of time.

Azure Batch supports Spot Virtual Machines

Azure Batch offers Spot Virtual Machines in user-subscription Batch accounts. The Spot Virtual Machines are available as single-instance virtual machines (VMs) or Virtual Machine Scale Sets. In addition, you get unique Azure pricing and benefits when running Windows Server workloads on Spot Virtual Machine’s.

Azure Virtual Machines increase storage throughput by up to 300%

The new memory optimized Ebs v5 and Ebds v5 Azure Virtual Machines, now generally available, feature the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Platinum 8370C (Ice Lake) processor in a hyper-threaded configuration. These VMs deliver up to 300% increase in VM-to-Disk Storage throughput and IOPS compared to the previous generation D/Ev4 VM series. The new VM series feature sizes from 2 to 64 vCPUs with and without local temporary storage best match your workload requirements. These new VMs offer up to 120,000 IOPS and 4,000 MB/s of remote disk storage throughput. The increased storage throughput is ideal for the most demanding data-intensive workloads, including large relational databases such as SQL Server, high-performance OLTP scenarios, and high-end data analytics applications.

New planned datacenter region in India (India South Central)

Microsoft has announced plans to bring a new datacenter region to India, including availability zones.

Azure Virtual Machines DCsv3 available in Switzerland and West US (preview)

DCsv3-series virtual machines (VMs) are available (in preview) in Switzerland North and West US. The DCsv3 and DCdsv3-series virtual machines help protect the confidentiality and integrity of your code and data while it processes in the public cloud. By leveraging Intel® Software Guard Extensions and Intel® Total Memory Encryption – Multi Key, you can ensure your data is always encrypted and protected in use.

Storage

Cross-region snapshot copy for Azure Disk Storage

Cross-region snapshot copy allows you to copy disk snapshots to any region for disaster recovery.
Incremental snapshots are cost-effective point-in-time backups of Azure Disk Storage. They are billed for the changes to disks since the last snapshot and are always stored on the most cost-effective storage, Standard HDD storage, irrespective of the storage type of the parent disk. Now, you can copy incremental snapshots to any region of your choice for disaster recovery using cross-region snapshot copy. Azure manages the copy process and ensures that only changes since the last snapshot in the target region are copied, reducing the data footprint and recovery point objective (RPO).

Copy data directly to Archive Storage with Data Box

You can now use Data Box to copy data directly to Archive tier by indicating this when ordering and then copying to the corresponding share on the Data Box.

Azure Ultra Disk Storage in Sweden Central

Azure Ultra Disk Storage provides high-performance along with sub-millisecond latency for your most-demanding workloads.

Azure storage table access using Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) support to authorize requests for Azure Table Storage is now generally available. With Azure AD, you can use Azure role-based access control (Azure RBAC) to grant permissions to any security principal, which can include a user, group, application service principal, or managed identity. The security principal is authenticated by Azure AD to return an OAuth 2.0 token. The token can then be used to authorize a request against the Table service. Authorizing requests against Azure Storage Tables with Azure AD provides superior security and ease of use over shared key authorization. Microsoft recommends using Azure AD authorization with your table applications when possible to assure access with minimum required privileges.

Azure File Sync agent v15

Improvements and issues that are fixed:

  • Reduced transactions when cloud change enumeration job runs
  • View Cloud Tiering status for a server endpoint or volume
  • New diagnostic and troubleshooting tool
  • Immediately run server change enumeration to detect files changes that were missed by USN journal
  • Miscellaneous improvements

To obtain and install this update, configure your Azure File Sync agent to automatically update when a new version becomes available or manually download the update from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

More information about this release:

  • This release is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 installations.
  • A restart is required for servers that have an existing Azure File Sync agent installation if the agent version is less than version 12.0.
  • The agent version for this release is 15.0.0.0.
  • Installation instructions are documented in KB5003882.

Networking

Bring your own public IP ranges to Azure

When planning a potential migration of on-premises infrastructure to Azure, you may want to retain your existing public IP addresses due to your customers’ dependencies (for example, firewalls or other IP hardcoding) or to preserve an established IP reputation. Now you can bring your own IP addresses (BYOIP) to Azure in all public regions. Using the Custom IP Prefix resource, you can now bring your own public IPv4 ranges to Azure and use them like any other Azure-owned public IP ranges. Once onboarded, these IPs can be associated with Azure resources, interact with private IPs and VNETs within Azure’s network, and reach external destinations by egressing from Microsoft’s Wide Area Network.

The new Azure Front Door: a modern cloud CDN service

The new Azure Front Door is a Microsoft native, unified, and modern cloud content delivery network (CDN) catering to dynamic and static content acceleration. This service includes built in turnkey security and a simple pricing model built on Microsoft’s massive scale private global network. There are two Azure Front Door tiers: standard and premium. They combine the capabilities of Azure Front Door (classic) and Azure CDN from Microsoft (classic) and attach with Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF). This provides a unified and secure solution for delivering your applications, APIs, and content on Azure or anywhere at scale.

Several key capabilities have been released:

  • Improved automation and simplified provisioning with DNS TXT based domain validation
  • Auto generated endpoint host name to prevent subdomain takeover
  • Expanded Private Link support in all Azure regions with availability zones to secure backends
  • Web Application Firewall enhancements with DRS 2.0 RuleSet and Bot manager
  • Expanded rules engine with regular expressions and server variables
  • Enhanced analytics and logging capabilities
  • Integration with Azure DNS, Azure Key Vault, Azure Policy and Azure Advisor
  • A simplified and predictable cost model

Azure Bastion native client support

With the new Azure Bastion native client support, available with Standard SKU, you can now:

  • Connect to your target Azure virtual machine via Azure Bastion using Azure CLI and a native client on your local machine
  • Log into Azure Active Directory-joined virtual machines using your Azure Active Directory credentials
  • Access the features available with your chosen native client (ex: file transfer)

Azure Bastion support for Kerberos authentication (preview)

Azure Bastion support for Kerberos authentication, available with both basic and standard SKUs, is now in public preview.