A fluent new look for the Azure icon

As your ally in the cloud, our Azure mission is to deliver thoughtfully designed products and services that equip you to solve challenges and invent what’s next. Our ability to meet your business and innovation needs is in part due to our growth mindset—which extends from front-end user experiences to small details like graphics and icons.

One detail updating today is the Azure “A” icon, which will be rolled out in product experiences and across related sites in the coming weeks. The new Azure icon represents the unity of Azure within the larger Microsoft family of product icons. It’s part of Microsoft’s Fluent Design System, carefully crafted to produce icons that look familiar to what customers know and love, while representing the agile future of our business.

The new Azure product family icon

The constant evolution of the cloud industry—and your business needs—is inspiring. It drives us to deliver products and services that support your growth and adapt to your shifting requirements. Your feedback is priceless for identifying and prioritizing updates. Please let us know what you’d like to see in the future on our feedback forum.

Azure. Invent with purpose.




Easily build real-time apps with WebSockets and Azure Web PubSub—now in preview

Real-time application scenarios such as chat for streaming videos, interactive whiteboards for remote education, and IoT dashboards are becoming ever more popular. Businesses are keen to build such applications for enhanced user experiences and real-time interactions with end customers.

Today, we are announcing the preview of the Azure Web PubSub service for building real-time web applications with WebSockets. WebSocket is a standardized protocol that provides full-duplex communication. It is key to building efficient real-time web interactions and is supported by all major browsers as well as web servers. Azure Web PubSub enables you to use WebSockets and the publish-subscribe pattern to easily build real-time web applications, like live monitoring dashboards, cross-platform live chat, real-time location on maps, and more.

Figure 1: Azure Web PubSub service usage scenarios

Fully managed, globally available

Real-time scenarios often require high-frequency data flows and large quantities of concurrent connections between the client and server. For example, a finance app to visualize market data may need up to 100,000 connections and live data with low latency in milliseconds. A non-trivial infrastructure setup is required to get such functionality up and running at scale. To implement a WebSocket-based real-time experience, a developer would first need to set up infrastructure for




Microsoft acquires Kinvolk to accelerate container-optimized innovation

The ability to run Kubernetes anywhere, whether in the cloud or on-premises, has been a high priority for Azure customers looking to rapidly innovate, with increasing customer focus on the benefits of container-optimized workloads and operating systems, lean application modernization, easier operations, and platform resiliency.

To support this rapid evolution, we’re announcing that Microsoft has acquired Kinvolk GmbH.

Kinvolk’s founding mission statement is “to build and promote an enterprise-grade open cloud-native stack”—we think this fits perfectly with our growing customer needs and our ongoing investments in open source and Kubernetes.

Kinvolk has a rich, innovative history in open source cloud-native distributed computing, including Kubernetes, eBPF, community building, and container-optimized Linux, as well as critical early work with CoreOS (the company) on the rkt container runtime. Kinvolk ultimately went on to create Flatcar Container Linux, a popular alternative to CoreOS Container Linux, as well as the Lokomotive and Inspektor Gadget projects.

Microsoft is excited to bring the expertise of the Kinvolk team to Azure, where they will be key contributors to the engineering development of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Arc, and future projects that will expand Azure’s hybrid container platform capabilities and increase Microsoft’s upstream open source contributions in the Kubernetes and container space.




Azure Cost Management and Billing updates – April 2021

Whether you’re a new student, a thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints, and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management and Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management and Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Get retail prices in non-USD currencies. New date picker in the cost analysis preview. What’s new in Cost Management Labs. Deploy key design principles with enterprise-scale architecture. Empowering operators on their cloud migration journey. New ways to save money with Azure. New videos and learning opportunities. Documentation updates.

Let’s dig into the details.


Get retail prices in non-USD currencies

In September 2020, you learned about the new Retail Prices API and how it gives




Discover the latest Red Hat on Azure innovations—sign up for the Red Hat Summit

Microsoft is excited to join Red Hat Summit 2021. It is our fifth year consecutively participating, and we look forward to engaging with the Red Hat community. In the April segment (April 27-28), Scott Guthrie, our executive vice president of Cloud + AI, will join Paul Cormier in the keynote “Open hybrid cloud: Changing what’s possible” to talk about our partnership, followed by an Ask the Expert session, “Azure Unplugged: Everything you need to know running Red Hat workloads on Azure.” Later in the June segment (June 15-16), we will feature more in-depth technical sessions and demos.

During the event, we will share the latest developments that enable Red Hat customers to operate natively in Azure. We will cover innovations across migration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) workloads, building cloud-native apps with Azure Red Hat OpenShift, running Red Hat workloads in hybrid with Azure Arc, operating and managing enterprise Java apps, and automating all tasks with Ansible on Azure.

Here’s a preview of what you will hear from us:

In addition to migrating Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions to Azure Pay As You Go images, Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux now also supports Azure Reserved Instances. This allows customers




An invitation to innovate and transform your business on Azure SQL

The past several months have seen their share of hardship, but despite the challenges, organizations continue to see digital transformation in the cloud as a path to growth. The promises of accelerated innovation, efficient operations, and lower costs among others, have helped many businesses remain viable—if not thrive—and they’re now looking at how they can do even more.

We can do more now because our small team offloads all the heavy lifting to Azure. We can ship more features and ultimately give customers a faster, more secure, more feature-rich product.”—Paul Hill, Principal Cloud Architect, Schneider Electric

Back in October, we held our first digital event for Azure SQL, where customers learned how to boost scalability and resiliency by migrating their mission-critical SQL Server workloads onto Azure SQL. The event was successful and left many ready to take the next steps to continue their transformation journey and innovate in the cloud.

To help with this next step, we are hosting the Azure SQL digital event: Innovate Today with Azure SQL on May 4, 10:00 AM Pacific Time. During this hour-long virtual event, you’ll join Rohan Kumar, Corporate Vice President Azure Data, and a full team of Azure SQL experts to




Upgrade your infrastructure with the latest Dv5/Ev5 Azure VMs in preview

On April 6, Microsoft participated in the launch of Intel’s 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, where Microsoft announced the upcoming preview of Azure Confidential Computing and general-purpose Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. Today we are delivering on that promise and announcing the preview of Dv5-series and Ev5-series Azure Virtual Machines for general-purpose and memory-intensive workloads. You can request access to the preview by filling out Intel’s 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors in Azure form.

The promise associated with cloud economics goes well beyond any initial cost reductions that customers may experience when transitioning their IT environments to the cloud. Many organizations implicitly expect, among other benefits, continuous cloud infrastructure efficiency improvements. Specifically, they need a highly secure and “evergreen” infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform that is able to deliver increasing levels of performance and value. They also need fast access to the latest innovation before rolling out at scale within their own data centers. This is also why Microsoft continues to collaborate with technology vendors like Intel and embed the latest Intel hardware innovation within the fabric of Azure IaaS.

Azure Virtual Machines Dv5 and Ev5-series run on the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Platinum 8370C (Ice Lake) processor in a hyper-threaded configuration, providing better value for most general-purpose enterprise-class




Teaming up with Coursera on new Azure Specializations and Scholarships

Over the last year, there has been a significant uptake in digital skilling to fill the exponential rise in new tech jobs. In fact, the World Economic Forum is forecasting that nearly 150 million new tech jobs will be created in the next five years. Microsoft is committed to supporting learners interested in upskilling and building a more inclusive skills-based economy.

Today, we are announcing that Microsoft is collaborating with Coursera to bring new opportunities for skilling in Azure via three new Specializations: Azure Fundamentals, AI Fundamentals, and Data Fundamentals. Coursera is a leading learning platform, and we are delighted to bring on-demand Azure content to their roughly 80 million learners.

Fireside chat with Kim Akers, Microsoft Worldwide Learning Corporate Vice President,

and Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera CEO

New opportunities for Azure skilling

The Azure Fundamentals Specialization gives learners the foundational understanding of Azure cloud services along with the knowledge to help build cloud solutions. Moreover, learners can expect to learn about Azure general security, network security, identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features, as well as pricing and support. This course helps learners gain a solid foundation in Azure and prepare for the Microsoft AZ-900 exam.

“Azure is just




Azure Trivia is back and it’s bigger, better, and faster than ever

OK, all you #AzureTrivia fans! This year, we’re ramping up the fun and the challenge of everyone’s favorite cloud services game, so get ready to get your trivia on—this is going to be the best year yet.

It’s bigger. Every week, ten lucky winners will be chosen at random. That means 40 people at the end of this will get major trivia bragging rights.

It’s better. Not only do you get to flaunt your trivia muscles, but we’re giving away a prize that you’ll be able to put to good use—a super cool IoT DevKit. Have fun and experience new learnings by building cloud-enabled IoT apps.

It’s faster. To up the ante—and the thrill—this year, there are only four weeks to play—so make each week count.

How to play

Starting April 26, 2021, check out @Azure every Monday on Twitter for a new Azure-related question to tackle. Get it right, and you’ll be entered to win a weekly prize. Just select your answer from multiple choices and tweet out the correct answer no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Thursday each week. (Be sure to use the handy auto-generated tweet, including #AzureTrivia and the original image, for official




Microsoft brings Azure supercomputing to UK Met Office

This post was co-authored by Gayle Sheppard, Corporate Vice President, Global Expansion and Transformation.

The UK Meteorological Office (Met Office) is working with Microsoft to deliver advanced supercomputing capabilities for weather and climate research, ensuring the continuation of the Met Office’s international leadership in this area.

Supercomputing is fundamental to the Met Office’s weather and climate science and services. Microsoft Azure’s supercomputing-as-a-service will enable the Met Office to leverage the best blend of dedicated and public cloud services to provide more accurate predictions to help citizens and businesses plan daily activities, better prepare for extreme weather, and address the challenges associated with climate change.

Microsoft Azure will integrate HPE Cray EX supercomputers from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), plus a Microsoft high-performance active data archive system, and other Azure cloud technologies, along with an end-to-end managed service to deliver this market-leading supercomputing-as-a-service. The partnership will also include innovation services to support the Met Office in exploiting future technologies, such as AI, plus commercialization opportunities.

Work on the project starts immediately, with the supercomputing capability becoming operational starting July 2022. The supercomputer is built in four quadrants to optimize operational resilience for mission-critical supercomputing capability. Each quadrant will consist of an