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Microsoft's next-gen SSD managed disks offering, Ultra Disk Storage, enters GA

Microsoft yesterday unveiled a new data redundancy option, Geo Zone Redundant Storage (GZRS), in public preview for Azure. Today, the tech giant announced that Azure Ultra Disk Storage has entered general availability (GA). This becomes Microsoft's fourth Managed Disks offering reaching GA, standing alongside Premium SSD, Standard SSD, and Standard HDD.

Ultra Disk Storage was first introduced by Azure CTO Mark Russinovich at Ignite last year, as can be observed in part of the video below. It later entered its public preview in September. Ultra Disk Storage is noted to deliver sub-millisecond latency and consistent performance for I/O-intensive and transaction-heavy workloads. Furthermore, migration options to the cloud for critical enterprise applications and top-tier databases are also made possible though Ultra Disk Storage. Beginning with small throughput, customers can scale performance configurations as workloads become more intensive.

Aside from the aforementioned GZRS, Azure also has other redundancy storage options including Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS), Locally Redundant Storage (LRS), and more. Ultra Disk has particularly been designed on LRS tech, which allows three copies of data to be made in the same availability zone within a region. The reason behind this is to keep the new storage solution highly durable.

Performance characteristics for the offering are described as follows:

Ultra Disk Storage offers sizes ranging from 4 GiB up to 64 TiB with granular increments. In addition, it is possible to dynamically configure and scale the IOPS and bandwidth on the disk independent of capacity.

Customers can now maximize disk performance by leveraging:

  • Up to 300 IOPS per GiB, to a maximum of 160K IOPS per disk
  • Up to a maximum of 2000 MBps per disk

Currently, Ultra Disk Storage is available in East US 2, North Europe, and Southeast Asia. GA prices for the product will come into effect on October 1, with preview customers automatically being transitioned to the new pricing. Each disk is billed on an hourly basis, with rates beginning at $0.000164 per GiB/hour, $0.000068 per provisioned IOPS/hour, $0.00137 per provisioned MB/s/hour, and $0.006 per vcpu/hour provisioned reservation charge in the aforementioned U.S. region. The service's costs in North Europe slightly increase, and are even higher in comparison in the Southeast Asian region.

The new storage solution is currently supported on DSv3 and ESv3 virtual machine types, with support for more arriving soon. You can learn about Ultra Disk Storage's internals in much greater detail by referring to Russinovich's blog post here.

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