Compute and storage updates are available for mission-critical applications on Azure

Microsoft has unveiled several capabilities and updates for its Azure platform, focusing on making it easier for customers to deploy end-to-end solutions. Some of these include updates to compute and storage solutions for mission-critical applications hosted on Azure.

A datacenter containing servers
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With respect to compute optimizations, on-demand capacity reservations for Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) with service-level agreements (SLAs) will arrive as a preview in April. In the same vein, customers can now scale their VMs without redeploying their scale set, with better control over cost management too. For workloads that are memory- and CPU-intensive, new Mv2 Azure VMs are available in preview as well.

On the storage end of things, multiple capabilities have been announced, once again in preview. Among these are new Azure Premium and Standard SSDs for increased data protection in case of zonal failures. Microsoft is also offering new performance tiers for customers who want higher sustained performance on Premium SSDs without having to resize it. Finally, auto-key rotation for customer-managed encryption keys (CMEKs) are live which removes some of the management burden on the customer. Backup Center has hit general availability too, this allows backup management in unified view across multiple VMs and database servers. Archive support for Azure VMs and SQL server running on Azure VMs using PowerShell is available in "limited preview" too.

Speaking of better management on cloud platforms, enhancements are available for Azure Monitor. These enable developers building Node.js applications on Linux App Services to utilize Application Insights using auto-instrumentation. Similarly, new features have been added to Azure Automanage, which is currently in preview. IT admins can now deploy security patches to Windows Server VMs in a matter of seconds.

To enable faster app development and management, Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes has hit general availability. It allows customers to manage and deploy to Kubernetes clusters efficiently via the Azure Portal and GitOps respectively. Moreover, Azure Arc-enabled machine learning is currently in preview and allows developers to build AI models in Azure Machine Learning and targeting Kubernetes clusters without having to learn Kubernetes.

Microsoft has also released a host of new services and tools to make it easier for customers to migrate their workloads to the cloud. These include enablement programs like Azure Migration Program (AMP) and FastTrack for Azure, and documentation such as the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Frameworks. Azure Migrate has new updates in preview to enable customers to easily migrate their solutions to the cloud. These include the Azure Migrate Azure PowerShell module through which customers can migrate their servers to Azure VMs in an automated way via cmdlets.

Finally, on the networking side, new options are available in Azure Load Balancer. For customers who want to upgrade and retain the same IPs, Azure Public IP SKU upgrade is now generally available. The same is the case with Azure Networking routing preference; as the same suggests, it allows customers more flexibility in deciding how their traffic is routed between Azure and the internet.

For hybrid networking scenarios, Azure Route Server, ExpressRoute Gateway metrics, Virtual WAN Remote User VPN Features, and Azure Virtual WAN are currently available in preview. Meanwhile, Scalable Bastion Gateway, advanced VPN diagnostic features, and ExpressRoute IPv6 support will be rolled out in preview soon. Over on the network security side of things, Azure Front Door and Firewall Premium have been upgraded with new capabilities and are now available in preview.

Check out our other Ignite 2021 coverage right here.

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