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Microsoft reveals its first in-house Azure Cobalt 100 processor for Azure Virtual Machines

azure colbalt 100

Back in November 2023, Microsoft announced it was designing some Arm-based processors. One of them was the Azure Cobalt, which was made for more general-purpose cloud computing workloads. Today, as part of Build 2024, Microsoft has announced that the Azure Cobalt 100 processor is now available to access in a preview program for new Azure Virtual Machines.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated:

The Azure Cobalt 100 VMs can deliver up to 1.4x CPU performance, up to 1.5x performance on Java-based workloads and up to 2x performance on web servers, .NET applications and in-memory cache applications compared to previous generation Azure Arm-based VMs. These VMs support 4x local storage IOPS (with NVMe direct) and up to 1.5x network bandwidth compared to the previous generation Azure Arm-based VMs.

The new Azure Cobalt 100 virtual machines are now available for free during the preview period, although Microsoft will charge fees for services that use those new VMs, including disk storage and more. There's no word yet on what the charges will be like when the new VMs become generally available.

The following Azure regions are the ones customers can access with the new Cobalt 100 processors:

  • Central US
  • East US
  • East US 2
  • North Europe
  • Southeast Asia
  • West Europe
  • West US 2

These new VMs with the Cobalt 100 processors include support for a number of storage solutions including Standard SSD, Standard HDD, Premium SSD, and Ultra Disk storage,

Insider Preview versions of both Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise are available with the Cobalt 100 virtual machines. It also supports a number of Linux-based operating systems, such as Canonical Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and others.

Microsoft also announced another in-house designed chip, the Azure Maia AI 100, in November which was specifically designed to handle AI-based services. As of this writing, there's no word on when that child will become available for general customers.

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