If you're managing the IT needs of an organization and your ears perked up at the sound of Mesh coming to Microsoft Teams to offer immersive mixed-reality (MR) experiences, you might want to check out Microsoft's MR device, HoloLens 2, which is now available at a 15% discount for a limited time only. The deal is valid up until November 15, 2021, and applies to HoloLens 2, HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition and HoloLens 2 Development Edition. You can find out more about it here.
However, if you're primarily interested in the cloud backend side of things, you'll be happy to know that Microsoft is offering a flexible orchestration mode for Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets. This simplifies deployment and management in large application environments via different types of virtual machines (VMs) and VM Scale Sets. These new VMs provide a better price-to-performance ratio for many scenarios too. There is a new Virtual Machine Selector available in 26 languages as well, simplifying the process of selecting a suitable configuration for your use-case.
Azure Monitor now has support for OpenTelemetry in preview, integrates with Event Hub (generally available), and features advanced troubleshooting for Azure Firewall and VPN Gateway (GA). In a similar vein, on-demand disk bursting is generally available for Azure Disk Storage.
On the network side of things, Azure Gateway Load Balancer is currently in preview and enables admins to insert third-party network virtual appliances in their in-house network path. Azure Virtual Network Manager is now in preview while Azure Network Function Manager has hit general availability. Azure ExpressRoute contains new capabilities such as additional ciphers, IPv6 support for private peering, and FastPath. Azure Bastion Standard SKU has finally hit GA and Web Application Firewall (WAF) supports several new features in preview.
Azure Stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has updates for GPU enablement, soft kernel reboot, thin provisioning, dynamic CPU, multicluster monitoring, and more. You can find out more about this feature-set here. On the other hand, Azure Arc has some capabilities in preview such as deeper native integration with Azure Stack HCI, strengthened ties with VMware vSphere, and Arc-enabled ML inferencing.
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) for Azure Stack HCI is now in preview and so is a new autoscale capability for AVD while will enable further cost-saving. There are some enhancements in tow for Windows Server on Azure too and you can find out more about them below:
Azure Automanage allows IT admins and DevOps pros to simplify and optimize IT management with automated operations. New enhancements for Azure Automanage are being added in the following categories:
Azure Automanage machine best practices, which support Windows Server, Linux virtual machines (VMs) on Azure and Azure Arc-enabled servers, has the following new capabilities.
- Custom configuration profiles to both Windows Server and Linux VMs (in preview). Select from a list of Azure services such as Azure Backup and Security Center and apply to Azure VMs.
- Support for Azure Arc-enabled server VMs including on Azure Stack HCI (in preview). Apply Automanage service to both Linux and Windows Server VMs on any Arc-enabled server.
Azure Automanage for Windows Server, which enables unique innovation for new Windows Server VMs on Azure, has the following enhancements:
- Hotpatch: Quickly deploy security updates without having to frequently reboot (in preview).
- SMB over QUIC: Securely access new file servers remotely over untrusted networks and without a VPN (generally available).
- Extended network for Azure: Migrate Windows Server workloads to Azure, while preserving original IP addresses (generally available).
Finally, if you're more interested in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, you might want to check out Microsoft's 2021 IoT Signals report here.