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Announcing general availability of Standard SSD Disks for Azure Virtual Machine workloads

Posted on September 24, 2018

Principal Program Manager, Azure Storage

We are excited to announce the general availability of Azure Standard SSD Managed Disks, a new type of durable storage for Microsoft Azure Virtual machines. Standard SSD Disks are a cost-effective storage option optimized for workloads that need consistent performance at lower IOPS levels. Standard SSD Disks store data on Solid State Drives (SSDs) whereas our Standard HDD disks store data on Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Standard SSDs deliver better availability, consistency, reliability and latency compared to HDD Disks, and are suitable for Web servers, low IOPS application servers, lightly used enterprise applications, and Dev/Test workloads. Premium SSD disks on the other hand perform better than Standard SSD disks, with very low latencies, high IOPS/throughput and even better consistency with provisioned disk performance, and so Premium SSD is the recommended disk type for production workloads.

We started with a limited preview of Standard SSD for one region back in June 2018, and we expanded that to all Azure regions over time and added support on Portal and other tools. Thousands of our Azure Disks customers have tried out Standard SSD in preview over the last few months and helped validate the improvements in workload performance compared to HDD disks. We want to thank all the preview users for their participation and valuable feedback in helping us improve the product.

Following is a summary comparing Azure Disk types:

Disk Type Premium SSD Standard SSD Standard HDD
Overview Designed for IO intensive enterprise workloads. Delivers consistent performance with low latency and high availability for production workloads. Designed to provide consistent performance for low IOPS workloads. Delivers better availability and latency compared to HDD Disks Optimized for low-cost mass storage with infrequent access. Can exhibit some variability in performance
Workload Demanding enterprise workloads such as SQL Server, Oracle, Dynamics, Exchange Server, MySQL, Cassandra, MongoDB, SAP Business Suite and other production workloads Web servers, low IOPS application servers, lightly used enterprise applications and Dev/Test Backup storage
Max IOPS 20,000 IOPS provisioned* Up to 2,000 IOPS* Up to 2,000 IOPS*
Max Throughput 750 MBPS provisioned* Up to 500 MBPS* Up to 500 MBPS*

*Note, the max IOPS and Throughput targets mentioned above are for Large Disks which are in Preview, and it needs the right VM types to achieve the high IOPS and Throughput. Refer to our Large Disks Preview announcement for more details.

Benefits of Standard SSD Disks

We designed Standard SSD Disks to improve the performance and reliability of Standard Disks. This new disk offering combines the elements of Premium SSD and Standard HDD Disks to form a cost-effective solution best suited for applications like web servers, which do not have high transactions load on disks. Many such workloads used HDD-based disks for lower cost. However, HDD disks are typically less performant and less reliable than SSD based disks, which can be problematic for production workloads.

With the general availability of Standard SSDs, Azure customers now have a cost-effective way to upgrade their Standard HDD workload to SSD Disks and experience better performance, better reliability, and overall smoother operations.

For example, Nutanix Frame is one of the partners we have worked with, and they have been able to experience the difference:

"Nutanix Frame customers expect the best performance for their critical virtual desktops and applications at any scale and in any environment. The new Azure Standard SSDs give our customers a serious boost in performance compared to their experience using Azure Standard HDD disks, so even the most demanding applications run smoothly,” said Nikola Bozinovic, VP/GM of Desktop Services at Nutanix, which recently acquired Frame.

Virtual machines

Standard SSDs are designed to work with all Azure Virtual Machine SKUs. If you are using an A-series VM, or N-series VM, or D-series VM, or any other Azure VM series, you can use Standard SSDs with that VM. With the introduction of Standard SSD, we are enabling a broad range of workloads that previously used HDD-based disks to transition to SSD-based disks, and experience the consistent performance, higher availability and an overall better experience that come with SSDs.

Standard SSD Managed Disk sizes

Standard SSDs are offered as a type of Managed Disks. Unmanaged Disks and Page Blobs are not supported on Standard SSDs.

Following are the Disk sizes offered. Note, disk sizes larger than 4TB are in preview.

Standard SSD Disk Type E10 E15 E20 E30 E40 E50 (Preview) E60 (Preview) E70 (Preview) E80
Disk Size 128 GiB 256 GiB 512 GiB 1 TiB 2 TiB 4 TiB 8 TiB* 16 TiB* 32 TiB*
IOPS per disk Up to 500 Up to 500 Up to 500 Up to 500 Up to 500 Up to 500 Up to 1,300* Up to 2,000* Up to 2,000*
Throughput per disk (in MBps) Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 60 Up to 300* Up to 500* Up to 500*

*Note, the IOPS and Throughput targets for Large Disk sizes (8TB and higher) are in Preview, and it needs the right VM types to achieve high IOPS and Throughput. Refer to our Large Disks Preview announcement for more details.

Standard SSD Disks support all service management operations offered by Managed Disks. For example, you can create Managed Snapshots from Standard SSD Managed Disks in the same way you create snapshots for Managed Disks. Refer to the Managed Disks documentation for detailed instructions on all disk operations.

Performance

Standard SSD disks are designed to provide single-digit millisecond latencies for most IO operations. Refer to the table above for IOPS and Throughput targets for different disk types. Actual IOPS and Throughput may vary depending on the traffic patterns. Standard SSD disks will provide more consistent performance and lower latencies than the HDD disks. Premium SSD disks perform better than Standard SSD disks, with very low latencies, higher IOPS/throughput and even better consistency with provisioned disk performance, and it is the recommended disk type for production workloads.

Like the Premium SSD Disks, Standard SSD Disks also use IO Unit size of 256KB. If the data being transferred is less than 256 KB, it is considered 1 I/O unit. Larger I/O sizes are counted as multiple I/Os of size 256 KB. For example, a 1,100 KB I/O is counted as five I/O units.

Highly durable and available

Standard SSD disks are built on the same Azure Disks platform which has consistently delivered high availability and durability for disks. Azure Disks are designed for 99.999 percent availability. Like all Managed Disks, Standard SSD disks also offer Local Redundant Storage (LRS). With LRS the platform maintains multiple replicas of data for every disk and has consistently delivered enterprise-grade durability for IaaS disks, with an industry-leading ZERO percent Annualized Failure Rate.

Pricing

Refer to the Price details for the new Standard SSD Disks that are available. Similar to Standard HDD Disks, billing is based on disk size and actual transactions (I/O units).

Getting started

You can create and manage Standard SSD disks in the same way as the regular Managed Disks. While creating a VM using Azure Portal, you can specify the Disk Type as Standard SSD.

You can use Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates to deploy VMs with Standard SSD Disks. Here is a sample template. Below are the parameters needed in the ARM template for creating
Standard SSD Disks:

  • apiVersion for Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines must be set as “2018-04-01” (or later)
  • Specify storageAccountType as “StandardSSD_LRS” for creating a Standard SSD Disk

You can also convert your existing Managed Disks to Standard SSD. Refer to Convert Azure managed disks storage from standard to premium, and vice versa for the general guidelines for converting Managed Disks. Use the value of AccountType as “StandardSSD_LRS” to update the disk type to Standard SSD.

Refer to Managed Disks documentation for detailed instructions on all disk operations.

Please refer to Disks FAQ document for questions on Standard SSD.

To explore the Azure Disks portfolio visit our page.