Microsoft Azure Updates: AAD Basic tier; New VMs; Developer options; EventGrid; ExpressRoute; Translation

August 19 2019

Microsoft increased its updates slightly through the middle of August, even as many of its customers and employees enjoyed the final weeks of summer.

Azure Active Directory Basic tier is being removed because of low usage of its SKU, according to a Tweet by Microsoft CVP Alex Simons. The Azure team announced new HBv2 VMs with 120 AMD EPYC 7200-series CPU cores and 480 GB of RAM for high-performance computing. Each of these VMs also comes with InfiniBand fabric backing from Mellanox. Large customers will be able to tap into 80,000 cores for a single job. In a similar move, the team also deployed NVv4 VMs for GPU visualization workloads, ranging from CAD/CAM software to gaming and running simulations. The move to NVv4 VMs, which also support Azure Premium SSD disks, come in response to feedback from customers that existing GPUs have unnecessarily large resources for smaller projects. AMD EPYC 7452 processors will power new Dv3 and Ev3-series VMs.

Azure Site Recovery now supports disaster recovery with Disk Encryption-enabled VMs. Encryption-enabled machines can be replicated between Azure regions without the Azure AD app.

The spate of hardware-related VM announcements came alongside a limited public preview of 30 TB disks for Azure Backup and up to three-replicas generally available with Geo Zone Redundant Storage.

Among geographic updates, Azure Migrate is available in Canada, Japan, Australia and India, South Africa North supports Power BI Embedded and email notification alerts are available in Azure Government-Fairfax region. The Service Tag Discovery API, which helps with retrieving global IP address information, is in preview, applicable to JSON outputs for US Gov, Germany and China regions. Azure Datacenter IP range XML files will be deprecated on June 30, 2020 in Germany, China and Azure Public regions. Other announcements include PowerShell scripts for support Azure Monitor Logs queries, a public preview of Managed Identity for Azure Service Fabric apps, or new filtering options for the budget creation experience with Cost Management.

Developers learned of a variety of new options. GitHub Actions will soon enable rapid building, testing and deployments from repositories. V3 of the Cosmos DB .NET SDK is generally available, open sourced on GitHub with support for stream and change feed processor APIs.  Almost a year after its introduction, in September, 2018, the SignalR service for serverless scenarios is getting updated to publish client events to Event Grids and subscribe SignalR apps to these events. Since July, the Azure team released previews of new .NET, Java, Python and JavaScript SDKs. Along with recommending consistency, the team pointed out async, files and queues support for Storage Libraries and a new model for consuming events.

On the analytics front, Azure Stream Analytics supports the new MATCH_RECOGNIZE command, for event and pattern matching. Microsoft gave the example of a food preparation facility using this function to find a match to shut down certain cookers. An integration between open-source Prometheus monitoring system, created by the Cloud Native Compute Foundation, and Azure Monitor for Containers is in preview as a new way to monitor Azure Kubernetes Service clusters. Navigator is available for App Service Diagnostics to track changes affecting Storage, SQL and Web Apps.

Azure Blob Storage on IoT Edge is generally available, across Linux and Windows. Microsoft envisions this for scenarios with large amounts of data that needs to be handled at the edge, low connectivity scenarios or as a way to cut bandwidth costs. IoT Edge support is also being added to Azure Pipelines and DevOps, to help developers build module images and maintain CI/CD best practices.

From July into August, Microsoft has issued several significant security updates, which it reminded users about. It added central management for partner solutions, HDInsight FQDN tags and SQL FQDN filtering, permitted multiple public IPs in all Azure regions and made Availability Zones generally available.

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