Technology is being infused into every dimension of our lives, from stadiums to operating theaters to refrigerators to cars, technology is at the center of everything we do. It’s no longer just the unicorns that are digital disruptors. Every business is looking to benefit from technology and increase customer connection, satisfaction, and profitability. Organizations like BP, Lufthansa, and Team Rubicon are optimizing and transforming their businesses with Azure Infrastructure, building new applications to connect customer-service, logistics, and service delivery in novel ways that increase employee productivity and better serve their customers.
This week from Microsoft Ignite, we're highlighting key Azure Infrastructure enhancements that further power our customers’ digital transformation journey.
Increased performance and lower cost for any workload
Azure has the broadest portfolio of compute offerings, ranging from small to the industry’s largest virtual machines (VMs) to purpose-built hardware that is able to support native VMware workloads, enterprise-grade files powered by NetApp, and up to 120 TB SAP scale-out deployments. CONA Services, the service arm for Coca-Cola bottlers, runs a 40 TB mission-critical system on Azure’s purpose-built SAP HANA infrastructure, one of the largest SAP HANA cloud deployments. To complement our compute portfolio, we offer one of the highest performance disks, including one of the fastest disks in the cloud today with Azure ultra disks, delivering up to 160,000 IOPS.
Customers are addressing new, high-performance scenarios that were earlier cost-prohibitive or simply not possible. With our new Azure HB and HC Virtual Machines, Azure is democratizing high-performance computing with unprecedented performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency for large tightly-coupled workloads in the cloud. InfiniBand networking provides the lowest latency and highest bandwidth in the industry and helps power customer workloads up to 23,000 cores for a single MPI-based application, this is 10x higher than what is found anywhere else in the cloud. With HBv2, the first Azure Virtual Machine featuring 200 gigabit InfiniBand, Azure supports workloads up to 80,000 cores per job.
We are also seeing customers move more Windows Server and Linux workloads to Azure. More than 50 percent of Azure’s compute runs Linux workloads today. When it comes to Windows Server and SQL, 30 percent more enterprises choose Azure over the next major cloud vendor. We offer unparalleled innovation with Azure SQL Managed Instance, App Service and Windows Virtual Desktop along with unmatched security and seamless hybrid capabilities, making Azure the best cloud for Windows and SQL Server workloads. When it comes to performance, Azure SQL Database is the price-performance leader for business-critical workloads while costing up to 86 percent less compared to AWS RDS.
At Microsoft Ignite, we are expanding our compute, storage, and networking offerings to meet an even wider range of customer scenarios. Some highlights include:
- General availability of Ea v4 and Eas v4 Azure Virtual Machine-series for memory-intensive workloads and the Da v4 and Das v4 Azure Virtual Machine-series for general purpose applications. These new Azure Virtual Machines are the first in the cloud to feature the latest AMD EPYC™ 7452 processor.
- Preview of NVv4 and HBv2 VM-series to support virtual desktop and HPC workloads. These new Azure Virtual Machines feature the latest AMD EPYC™ 7742 processor. NVv4 is designed to be the most cost-effective way to do visualization workloads, supporting VMs with fractional GPUs - as little as 1/8th GPU. NVv4 is Azure’s first visualization-optimized VM to offer AMD RADEON INSTINCT™ GPUs, while HBv2 is Azure’s first HPC VM to offer 200 gigabit InfiniBand networking.
- Preview of NDv2 VM-series to support the most demanding machine learning models and distributed AI training workloads. These updated VMs feature eight NVIDIA Tesla V100 NVLINK interconnected GPUs with 32 GB of memory each.
- Preview of new, smaller 4, 8 and 16 GB sizes on Premium SSD, Standard SSD and ultra disks to provide a lower cost for customers migrating workloads with less predictable traffic patterns to the cloud.
- Preview of the new bursting capabilities on applicable Premium SSD with up to 30x performance for spiky workloads.
- Preview of ADLS multi-protocol access which provides core blob features with Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS) Gen2 including logging, tiering, and event grid integration, enhancing enterprise integration.
- Preview of Azure Peering Service which targets customers with an internet-first network strategy for accessing Azure and SaaS services such as Office 365. Through partnering with internet service providers, customers can now take advantage of our global network to enable reliable and optimized internet connectivity to Microsoft services.
- General availability of satellite support for Azure ExpressRoute to extend services into hard-to-reach areas critical for many customers across industries.
- General availability of Azure Bastion, making Azure the first public cloud to bring this functionality integrated as-a-service into the platform, with fast and super simple deployment of a bastion host to your infrastructure in Azure.
Unmatched security and simplified scalability for any workload
With 54 regions worldwide, we offer more regions than any other cloud provider across six continents. We are continuously investing in Azure to ensure it meets the highest reliability and scalability standards so you can be confident when running your business-critical workloads. When it comes to cloud security, we invest over a billion dollars a year and employ over 3,500 employees focused on security. Just a few weeks ago, we announced the general availability of Azure Sentinel, a built-in cloud-native SIEM that protects your entire enterprise.
This week, we are highlighting some of the enhancements we are making on Azure scalability, reliability, and security:
- General availability of Generation 2 Azure Virtual Machines, improving security with the support for Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX), and the ability to provide large VMs (up to 12TB) and OS Disks sizes that exceed 2TB.
- Preview of new features for virtual machine scale sets, for Windows and Linux, that will help you more easily manage VMs while improving runtime and performance capabilities. For example, you can now provision custom VM images at scale using the shared image gallery, while accelerating provisioning times.
- Preview of object replication service to support geo-distributed applications with customer-controlled blob replication to different regions.
- Enhanced Azure Security Center capabilities including even richer vulnerability assessment for VMs powered by Qualys, support for Kubernetes containers, and integration of security recommendations from partners including Check Point, Tenable and CyberArk available soon.
- Azure Sentinel enhancements including connectors for Citrix and ZScaler, investigation tools for suspicious URLs, and enriched detections.
- Azure Managed Disks enhanced to provide customers with full control over their compliance needs by enabling server-side encryption with customer-managed keys. This will enable customers to leverage Azure Key Vault and track key usage. This new capability is available in preview for Premium Solid-state drives (SSD), Standard SSD, and Standard hard disk drives (HDD) disk types
Unified hybrid management across all your environments
We are seeing customer IT environments evolve as more workloads move to the cloud and with the rise of edge computing. IT environments are becoming increasingly complex with different types of applications, hardware, multi-cloud, and edge environments, essentially creating an IT resource sprawl. Customers tell us that they are looking for a unified approach to organize, govern, and secure their IT resources wherever they are from a central place, at scale.
At Microsoft Ignite, we are announcing hybrid capabilities to enable cloud innovation anywhere with consistent management across on-premises and multi-could environments. Some of these highlights include:
- Preview of Azure Arc, a set of technologies that extend Azure management and enable Azure data services across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge. Customers now have a central, unified approach to manage and govern Windows and Linux servers, Kubernetes clusters, and Azure data services wherever they are. Azure Arc also extends the adoption of cloud practices like DevOps, Azure Governance, and Azure security across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge.
- General availability of Windows Admin Center version 1910 that delivers powerful hybrid capabilities to manage Windows Servers wherever they run. It streamlines integration of on-premises servers to Azure for disaster recovery, backup, patching, and monitoring, and now includes integration with Azure Security Center. Windows Admin Center also enables customers to use Azure Arc to take advantage of unified hybrid management from Azure.
- We are also expanding the Azure Stack portfolio to include Azure Stack Edge. Azure Stack Edge is an Azure managed appliance that brings the compute, storage, and intelligence of Azure at any edge locations. You can manage Azure Stack Edge right from the Azure Portal.
All of these new capabilities can be combined with Azure’s latest developments in application modernization, including our new serverless, container, and functions capabilities.
These are just some of the highlights we’re delivering at Microsoft Ignite this week. We look forward to seeing how our customers integrate these capabilities into their digital transformation journey.
Azure. Invent with purpose.