Azure Updates: DoD satellites; T-Cloud; Disney; Azure Blueprint; Private Link; CLI and HDInsight

September 26 2019

Through mid-September, Microsoft kept up the recent high pace of analytics and storage-related announcements, while Azure becomes increasingly well-positioned for government contracts and major corporate partnerships.

Microsoft and Ball Aerospace are working with the US Department of Defense to link military satellites with Azure. Data will be streamed directly from 20 satellites into secure Azure data centers. The program will launch in 2021. Meanwhile, the US Department of the Treasury issued its Cloud Acquisition Roadmap with plans for a $1 billion multi-cloud system known as T-Cloud. Currently, the Treasury operates Workplace Community Cloud, powered by AWS, but T-Cloud will include Azure.

Walt Disney Studios is investigating ways to boost post-production with Azure, inking a five year innovation partnership with Microsoft. The partnership aims to apply virtual reality and AI to Disney's StudioLAB.

During the London SIBOS conference, Microsoft introduced a new Azure Blueprint intended to help achieve greater SWIFT connectivity. SWIFT is widely used for financial messaging and the blueprint comes with mappings for account management, authentication, remote access, analysis, reporting, auditing and other functions. The team indicated that FedRAMP, Center for Internet Security, and HITRUST blueprints will be released in the coming months.

Among geographic updates, M-series VMs are now available in Germany North and both Switzerland West and North, while Kubernetes Service is available for Azure Government.  Azure CLI support for HDInsight is generally available. Other updates include Azure Policy at-scale tag management, Azure Maps S1 transactions meter changes or Site Recovery update rollup 40.

The Azure team made a variety of updates to VMs and storage, for instance making Azure Files premium tier zone redundant with three replicas across Availability Zones or changing SSD managed disk meter IDs. Azure Lab Services has begun to support GPU VMs, including six cores with 56 GB of RAM and between 139 and 160 lab units. For now, this is only in US, Europe and Australia regions. In fact, a new DevTest Lab Labs Tasks extension is generally available to integrate Pipelines with DevTest Labs, offer macOS, Linux and Windows cross-platform support and help with deletion of custom images. For heavy read workloads, HPC Cache may come in handy, supporting on-prem NAV together with Azure Blob for reduced latency. The preview is available in most US regions, North and West Europe as well as Southeast Asia.

Storage customers may also hear about the preview of Azure Private Link which lets users consume first party Azure services such as Cosmos DB, SQL and storage from within a VNet, in a provider-consumer model and a consent-based call flow. The service doesn't need any public IP addresses, gateways or NAT devices.

Program manager Stephen Baron explained how create a service health alerts strategy. Baron recommends thinking about the criticality of different subscriptions, services and region and then determining who on a team is most important to inform about potential issues. Smaller organizations can rely on push notifications or SMS, while larger companies may be able to tie a webhook or ITSM connection into workflows.

About MSDW Reporter

More about MSDW Reporter