Microsoft Azure, being a constantly evolving, updating and changing environment, makes it difficult to sometimes follow all that happens around it. I will try to condense some of the Azure Announcements based on status – generally available, preview or update features.
Be aware that generally available features/updates might incur costs. Anything that is part of a public preview, does not incur any costs, but also does not have Service-Level Agreement (SLA) attached to it.
Past articles:Microsoft Ignite Announcements (October 2022)
Azure announcements (September 2022)
Azure announcements (August 2022)
Azure Announcements (July 2022)
Azure Announcements (June 2022)
3 key cloud adoption trends in migrating and modernizing workloads
In the past few years, organizations have weathered unprecedented change as they have had to adapt to macro-economic, political, and societal challenges. These challenges are not going away—the business outlook remains uncertain with ongoing concerns, including inflation, supply chain disruptions, and rising energy prices.
To get a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by our customers and their plans around cloud adoption, Microsoft commissioned a global survey with more than 1200 IT decision makers.
Moving workloads to the cloud provides more flexibility for organizations to align their IT investments with business needs while benefiting from cloud economies of scale. Modern infrastructure and cloud capabilities can also free up an organization’s IT workforce to focus on workloads and applications that are most meaningful to their customers.
Additional information:Link to blog
AI and the need for purpose-built cloud infrastructure
The progress of AI has been astounding with solutions pushing the envelope by augmenting human understanding, preferences, intent, and even spoken language. AI is improving our knowledge and understanding by helping us provide faster, more insightful solutions that fuel transformation beyond our imagination. However, with this rapid growth and transformation, AI’s demand for compute power has grown by leaps and bounds, outpacing Moore’s Law’s ability to keep up.
With the added capability of a high-bandwidth, low-latency interconnect fabric, scale-out AI-first infrastructure can significantly accelerate time to solution via advanced parallel communication methods, interleaving computation and communication across a vast number of compute nodes. Azure scale-up-and scale-out AI-first infrastructure combines the attributes of both vertical and horizontal system scaling to address the most demanding AI workloads. Azure’s AI-first infrastructure delivers leadership-class price, compute, and energy-efficient performance today.
Additional information:Link to blog
General Availability Announcements
Per Rule Actions on regional Web Application Firewall
Azure’s regional Web Application Firewall on Application Gateway now supports customizing actions per rule. This new functionality allows you greater control over how the Web Application Firewall handles incoming traffic.
The following per rule actions are supported:
- Allow: The request passes through the WAF and is forwarded to the back end. No further lower priority rules can block this request.
- Block: The request is blocked and WAF sends a response to the client without forwarding the request to the back end.
- Log: Request is logged in the WAF logs and WAF continues evaluating lower priority rules.
- Anomaly Scoring: This is the default action for the Core Rule Set where total anomaly score is incrementally increased when a rule with this action is matched.
Additional information:General availability: Per Rule Actions on regional Web Application Firewall
Web Application Firewall CRS rule groups and rules
Web Application Firewall | Microsoft Learn
Azure SQL—General availability updates for mid-November 2022
In mid-November 2022, the following updates and enhancements were made to Azure SQL:
- Monitor database restore progress at a more granular level in Azure SQL Database.
- Provide additional transparency for automated and manually taken backups via SQL Server Management Studio using the msdb backupset tables with Azure SQL Managed Instance.
- Migrate to Azure SQL Managed Instance using Log Replay Service.
- Enable cross-subscription Point-In-Time restore of Azure SQL Managed Instance database in a safe and protected way.
Additional information:Azure SQL—General availability updates for mid-November 2022 | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure
Azure SQL Managed Instance backup portability to SQL Server 2022
Restoring a backup file is the easiest way to copy a SQL Server database to another instance. You can now restore a copy-only full backup of your database hosted on Azure SQL Managed Instance to an instance of SQL Server 2022 hosted anywhere. This feature allows you, to easily share the data with your customers and eligible third parties, or to simply refresh your other environments.
Additional information:Generally available: Azure SQL Managed Instance backup portability to SQL Server 2022 | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure
Restoring a SQL Managed Instance database backup to SQL Server 2022 now GA
DR secondary free with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
With your pay-as-you-go account, you now have a high availability secondary and a disaster recovery secondary server for your SQL Server on Virtual Machines at no additional license cost. With the new high availability/disaster recovery benefit, you can license up to two passive secondaries for free. The only license cost for them would be the primary and not for their secondary instances.
Additional information:General availability: DR secondary free with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure
High availability, disaster recovery, business continuity – SQL Server on Azure VMs | Microsoft Learn
Arm-based VMs now available in four additional Azure regions
Arm-based virtual machines can be included in Kubernetes clusters managed using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Azure Arm-based VMs offer outstanding price-performance and power-efficiency and have been engineered to efficiently run scale-out, cloud-native workloads, open-source databases, web and application servers, and more. Azure Arm-based VMs also support Windows 11 Professional and Enterprise Insider Preview builds to help customers build Arm-based client applications faster and cost effectively.
The Dpsv5, Dplsv5, and Epsv5 VMs are now available in the following additional four Azure regions: West US, North Central US, UK South, and France Central. As a result, the new VMs are now available in 15 Azure regions. The VMs are also now available zonally in the following regions: West US 2, East US, Central US, West Europe, North Europe, and Australia East.
Additional information:General availability: Arm-based VMs now available in four additional Azure regions | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure
Overview of the Dpsv5 and Dpdsv5-series sizes – Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Learn
Overview of the Dplsv5 and Dpldsv5-series sizes – Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Learn
Overview of the Epsv5 and Epdsv5-series sizes – Azure Virtual Machines | Microsoft Learn
Announcing new capabilities for Azure Firewall
We are happy to share several key Azure Firewall capabilities as well as updates on recent important releases into general availability (GA) and preview.
- New GA regions in Qatar central, China East, and China North
- IDPS Private IP ranges now generally available.
- Single Click Upgrade/Downgrade now in preview.
- Enhanced Threat Intelligence now in preview.
- KeyVault with zero internet exposure now in preview.
Additional information:Announcing new capabilities for Azure Firewall | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft Azure
Azure Firewall documentation | Microsoft Learn
Azure Firewall preview features | Microsoft Learn
Azure Monitor agent custom and IIS logs
Azure Monitor agent is the way to collect text and IIS files for Log Analytics.
Today we are happy to introduce the long-awaited Custom Log and IIS Log collection capability. This new capability is designed to enable customers to collect their text-based logs generated in their service or application. Likewise, Internet Information Service (IIS) logs for a customers’ service can be collected and transferred into a Log Analytics Workspace table for analysis. These new collection types will enable customers to migrate from other competing data collection services to Azure Monitor.
Additional information:General availability: Azure Monitor agent custom and IIS logs | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure
Collect text logs with Azure Monitor Agent – Azure Monitor | Microsoft Learn
Azure Storage Mover–A managed migration service for Azure Storage
File storage is a critical part of any organization’s on-premises IT infrastructure. As organizations migrate more of their applications and user shares to the cloud, they often face challenges in migrating the associated file data. Having the right tools and services is essential to successful migrations.
When we combine that with a strategy to minimize downtime, and manage and monitor migration jobs at scale, then we’ve arrived at our vision for the Storage Mover service. This roadmap for this vision includes:
- Support for more sources and Azure Storage targets.
- More options to tailor a migration to your needs.
- Automatically loading possible sources into the service. That’s more than just convenience; it enables large-scale migrations and reduces mistakes from manual input.
- Deep insights about selected sources for a sound cloud solution design.
- Provisioning target storage automatically based on your migration plan.
- Running post-migration tasks such as data validation, enabling data protection, and completing migration of the rest of the workload, etc.
Additional information:Azure Storage Mover–A managed migration service for Azure Storage | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft Azure
Azure Storage Mover | Microsoft Learn