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The new, larger Azure IaaS VM disks: Partners answer, is bigger necessarily better?

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW

This article has been updated to include additional comments from hosting partners.

Microsoft last week announced that Microsoft Azure is increasing the maximum size and performance of Azure disks. In a blog post by Azure Storage Program Manager Yuemin Lu, the company announced the increase for both Premium and Standard storage, extending the maximum size of the disks from 1,024 GB to 4,095 GB (about 4 TB) - in theory, enabling customers to add 4x the disk storage capacity per VM.

So for example, on one GS5 VM using 64 of the 4 TB disks, customers can provision up to a total of 256 TB of storage. "As a result, customers no longer need to scale up to multiple VMs or stripe multiple disks to provision larger disk capacity," says Lu.

Microsoft introduced two new disk sizes in its P40 (2TB) and P50 (4TB), for both Managed and unmanaged Premium Disks; also in its S40 (2TB) and S50 (4TB) for Standard Managed Disks.

As Lu describes, larger Premium Disks P40 and P50 will offer higher provisioned disk performance that supports IO intensive workloads. The maximum Premium Disk IOPS and bandwidth is increased to 7,500 input/output operations per sec (IOPs) and 250 megabytes per second (MBps) respectively. Standard Disks, of all sizes, will offer up to 500 IOPs and 60 MBps.

Microsoft will also offer two smaller disk sizes, being P4 (32GB) and P6 (64 GB) among its Premium Managed Disks. These, Lu suggests, are optimize cost where consistent disk performance is required but lower disk capacity, such as OS disks for Linux VMs.

Comparing pricing of managed disks and ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).