Category Archives : Updates

28

Jan

Azure Cost Management updates – January 2020
Azure Cost Management updates – January 2020

Whether you’re a new student, 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 comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management 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:

Automate reporting for Microsoft Customer Agreement with scheduled exports Raising awareness of disabled costs What’s new in Cost Management Labs Custom RBAC role preview for management groups New ways to save money with Azure Recent changes to Azure usage data <!–li>New videos</li–> Documentation updates

Let’s dig into the details. 

Automate reporting for Microsoft Customer Agreement with scheduled exports

You already know you can dig into your cost and usage data from the Azure portal. You may even know you can get rich reporting from the Cost Management Query API or get

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06

Jan

Azure Cost Management 2019 year in review
Azure Cost Management 2019 year in review

When we talk about cost management, we focus on three core tenets:

Ensuring cost visibility so everyone is aware of the financial impact their solutions have. Driving accountability throughout the organization to stop bad spending patterns. Continuous cost optimization as your usage changes over time to do more with less.

These were the driving forces in 2019 as we set out to build a strong foundation that pulls together all costs across all account types and ensures everyone in the organization has a means to report on, control, and optimize costs. Our ultimate goal is to empower you to lead a healthier, more financially responsible organization.

All costs behind a single pane of glass

On the heels of the Azure Cost Management preview, 2019 started off strong with the general availability of Enterprise Agreement (EA) accounts in February and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) in April. At the same time, Microsoft as a whole embarked on a journey to modernize the entire commerce platform with the new Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA), which started rolling out for enterprises in March, pay-as-you-go subscriptions in July, and Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) using Azure plan in November. Whether you get Azure through the Microsoft field, directly from

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10

Dec

Introducing maintenance control for platform updates

Today we are announcing the preview of a maintenance control feature for Azure Virtual Machines that gives more control to customers with highly sensitive workloads for platform maintenance. Using this feature, customers can control all impactful host updates, including rebootless updates, for up to 35 days.

Azure frequently updates its infrastructure to improve the reliability, performance, and security, or to launch new features. Almost all updates have zero impact on your Azure virtual machines (VMs). When updates do have an effect, Azure chooses the least impactful method for updates:

If the update does not require a reboot, the VM is briefly paused while the host is updated, or it’s live migrated to an already updated host. These rebootless maintenance operations are applied fault domain by fault domain, and progress is stopped if any warning health signals are received. In the extremely rare scenario when the maintenance requires a reboot, the customer is notified of the planned maintenance. Azure also provides a time window in which you can start the maintenance yourself, at a time that works for you.

Typically, rebootless updates do not impact the overall customer experience. However, certain very sensitive workloads may require full control of all maintenance

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02

Dec

Azure Cost Management updates – November 2019
Azure Cost Management updates – November 2019

Whether you’re a new student, 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 Microsoft Azure Cost Management comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Cost Management 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:

Cost Management now available for Cloud Solution Providers What’s new in Cost Management Labs Customizing the name on dashboard tiles Upcoming changes to Azure usage data Save up to 72% with Azure reservations–now available for 16 services New videos Documentation updates

Let’s dig into the details.

Cost Management now available for Cloud Solution Providers

In case you missed it, as of November 1, Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners can now see and manage costs for their customers using Azure Cost Management in the Azure portal by transitioning them to Azure plan

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07

Oct

Customer Provided Keys with Azure Storage Service Encryption

Azure storage offers several options to encrypt data at rest. With client-side encryption you can encrypt data prior to uploading it to Azure Storage. You can also choose to have Azure storage manage encryption operations with storage service encryption using Microsoft managed keys or using customer managed keys in Azure Key Vault. Today, we present enhancement to storage service encryption to support granular encryption settings on storage account with keys hosted in any key store. Customer provided keys (CPK) enables you to store and manage keys in on-premises or key stores other than Azure Key Vault to meet corporate, contractual, and regulatory compliance requirements for data security.

Customer provided keys allows you to pass an encryption key as part of read or write operation to storage service using blob APIs. Since the encryption key is defined at the object level, you can have multiple encryption keys within a storage account. When you create a blob with customer provided key, storage service persists the SHA-256 hash of the encryption key with the blob to validate future requests. When you retrieve an object, you must provide the same encryption key as part of the request. For example, if a blob is created

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07

Oct

Client provided keys with Azure Storage server-side encryption

Microsoft Azure Storage offers several options to encrypt data at rest. With client-side encryption you can encrypt data prior to uploading it to Azure Storage. You can also choose to have Azure Storage manage encryption operations with server-side encryption using Microsoft managed keys or using customer managed keys in Microsoft Azure Key vault. Today, we present enhancement to server-side encryption to support granular encryption settings on storage account with keys hosted in any key store. Client provided key (CPK) enables you to store and manage keys in on-premises or key stores other than Azure Key Vault to meet corporate, contractual and regulatory compliance requirements for data security.

Client provided keys allows you to pass an encryption key as part of read or write operation to storage service using blob APIs. When you create a blob with a client provided key, the storage service persists the SHA-256 hash of the encryption key with the blob to validate future requests. When you retrieve an object, you must provide the same encryption key as part of the request. For example, if a blob is created with Put Blob, all subsequent write operations must provide the same encryption key. If a different key is

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30

Sep

Azure Cosmos DB recommendations keep you on the right track

The tech world is fast-paced, and cloud services like Azure Cosmos DB get frequent updates with new features, capabilities, and improvements. It’s important—but also challenging—to keep up with the latest performance and security updates and assess whether they apply to your applications. To make it easier, we’ve introduced automatic and tailored recommendations for all Azure Cosmos DB users. A large spectrum of personalized recommendations now show up in the Azure portal when you browse your Azure Cosmos DB accounts.

Some of the recommendations we’re currently dispatching cover the following topics

SDK upgrades: When we detect the usage of an old version of our SDKs, we recommend upgrading to a newer version to benefit from our latest bug fixes and performance improvements. Fixed to partitioned collections: To fully leverage Azure Cosmos DB’s massive scalability, we encourage users of legacy, fixed-sized containers that are approaching the limit of their storage quota to migrate these containers to partitioned ones. Query page size: We recommend using a query page size of -1 for users that define a specific value instead. Composite indexes: Composite indexes can dramatically improve the performance and RU consumption of some queries, so we suggest their usage whenever our telemetry detects

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23

Sep

Introducing cost-effective increment snapshots of Azure managed disks in preview

The preview of incremental snapshots of Azure managed disks is now available. Incremental snapshots are a cost-effective point-in-time backup of managed disks. Unlike current snapshots, which are billed for the full size, incremental snapshots are billed for the delta changes to disks since the last snapshot. They are always stored on the most cost-effective storage i.e., standard HDD irrespective of the storage type of the parent disks. Additionally, for increased reliability, they are stored on Zone redundant storage (ZRS) by default in regions that support ZRS. They cannot be stored on premium storage. If you are using current snapshots on premium storage to scale up virtual machine deployments, we recommend you to use custom images on standard storage in Shared Image Gallery. It will help you to achieve a more massive scale with lower cost. 

Incremental snapshots provide a differential capability, a unique capability available only in Azure managed disks. It enables customers and independent solution vendors (ISV) to build backup and disaster recovery solutions for managed disks. It allows you to get the changes between two snapshots of the same disk, thus copying only changed data between two snapshots across regions, reducing time and cost for backup and disaster

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23

Sep

Hot patching SQL Server Engine in Azure SQL Database
Hot patching SQL Server Engine in Azure SQL Database

In the world of cloud database services, few things are more important to customers than having uninterrupted access to their data. In industries like online gaming and financial services that experience high transaction rates, even the smallest interruptions can potentially impact the end-user’s experience. Azure SQL Database is evergreen, meaning that it always has the latest version of the SQL Engine, but maintaining this evergreen state requires periodic updates to the service that can take the database offline for a second. For this reason, our engineering team is continuously working on innovative technology improvements that reduce workload interruption.

Today’s post, in collaboration with the Visual C++ Compiler team, covers how we patch SQL Server Engine without impacting workload at all.

Figure 1 – This is what hot patching looks like under the covers. If you’re interested in the low-level details, see our technical blog post.

The challenge

The SQL Engine we are running in Azure SQL Database is the very latest version of the same engine customers run on their own servers, except we manage and update it. To update SQL Server or the underlying infrastructure (i.e., Azure Service Fabric or the operating system), we must stop the SQL Server

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18

Sep

Azure Files premium tier gets zone redundant storage

https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/azure-files-premium-tier-gets-zone-redundant-storage/Azure Files premium tier is now zone redundant! We’re excited to announce the general availability of zone redundant storage (ZRS) for Azure Files premium tier. Azure Files premium tier with ZRS replication enables highly performant, highly available file services, that READ MORE

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