Category Archives : Updates

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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03

Sep

Azure Cost Management updates – August 2019

https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/azure-cost-management-updates-august-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 READ MORE

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22

Aug

Plan migration of your Hyper-V servers using Azure Migrate Server Assessment

Azure Migrate is focused on streamlining your migration journey to Azure. We recently announced the evolution of Azure Migrate, which provides a streamlined, comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft and partner tools to meet migration needs, all in one place. An important capability included in this release is upgrades to Server Assessment for at-scale assessments of VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs.)

This is the first in a series of blogs about the new capabilities in Azure Migrate. In this post, I will talk about capabilities in Server Assessment that help you plan for migration of Hyper-V servers. This capability is now generally available as part of the Server Assessment feature of Azure Migrate. After assessing your servers for migration, you can migrate your servers using Microsoft’s Server Migration solution available on Azure Migrate. You can get started right away by creating an Azure Migrate project.

Server Assessment earlier supported assessment of VMware VMs for migration to Azure. We’ve now included Azure suitability analysis, migration cost planning, performance-based rightsizing, and application dependency analysis for Hyper-V VMs. You can now plan at-scale, assessing up to 35,000 Hyper-V servers in one Azure Migrate project. If you use VMware as well, you can discover and

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19

Aug

Azure Archive Storage expanded capabilities: faster, simpler, better

Since launching Azure Archive Storage, we have seen unprecedented interest and innovative usage from a variety of industries. Archive Storage is built as a scalable service for cost-effectively storing rarely accessed data for long periods of time. Cold data such as application backups, healthcare records, autonomous driving recordings, etc. that might have been previously deleted could be stored in Azure Storage’s Archive tier in an offline state, then rehydrated to an online tier when needed. Earlier this month, we made Azure Archive Storage even more affordable by reducing prices by up to 50 percent in some regions, as part of our commitment to provide the most cost-effective data storage offering.

We’ve gathered your feedback regarding Azure Archive Storage, and today, we’re happy to share three archive improvements in public preview that make our service even better.

1. Priority retrieval from Azure Archive

To read data stored in Azure Archive Storage, you must first change the tier of the blob to hot or cool. This process is known as rehydration and takes a matter of hours to complete. Today we’re sharing the public preview release of priority retrieval from archive allowing for much faster offline data access. Priority retrieval allows you

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13

Aug

Azure SDK August 2019 preview and a dive into consistency
Azure SDK August 2019 preview and a dive into consistency

The second previews of Azure SDKs which follow the latest Azure API Guidelines and Patterns are now available (.Net, Java, JavaScript, Python). These previews contain bug fixes, new features, and additional work towards guidelines adherence.

What’s New

The SDKs have many new features, bug fixes, and improvements. Some of the new features are below, but please read the release notes linked above and changelogs for details.

Storage Libraries for Java now include Files and Queues support. Storage Libraries for Python have added Async versions of the APIs for Files, Queues, and Blobs. Event Hubs libraries across languages have expanded support for sending multiple messages in a single call by adding the ability to create a batch avoiding the error scenario where a call exceeds size limits and giving batch size control to developers with bandwidth concerns. Event Hubs libraries across languages have introduced a new model for consuming events via the EventProcessor class which simplifies the process of checkpointing today and will handle load balancing across partitions in upcoming previews. Diving deeper into the guidelines: consistency

These Azure SDKs represent a cross-organizational effort to provide an ergonomic experience to every developer using every platform and as mentioned in the previous

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