Category Archives : Virtual Machines

25

Apr

Azure Container Instances now generally available

I am proud to announce the general availability of Azure Container Instances (ACI) – a serverless way to run both Linux and Windows containers. ACI offers you an on-demand compute service delivering rapid deployment of containers with no VM management and automatic, elastic scale. When we released the preview last summer of ACI, it was the first-of-its-kind and fundamentally changed the landscape of container technology. It was the first service to deliver innovative serverless containers in the public cloud. As part of today’s announcement, I am also excited to announce new lower pricing, making it even less expensive to deploy a single container in the cloud. ACI also continues to be the fastest cloud-native option for customers in the cloud, getting you compute in mere seconds that also provide rich features like interactive terminals within running containers and an integrated Azure portal experience.

In addition to the ease-of-use and granular billing available with ACI, customers are choosing ACI as their serverless container solution because of its deep security model, protecting each individual container at a hyper-visor level which provides a strong security boundary for multi-tenant scenarios. It can sometimes be a challenge to secure multi-tenant workloads running

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18

Apr

Altair democratizes access to computer-aided engineering with Azure

My high school physics teacher taught us about metal fatigue by having everyone bend paper clips back and forth until they broke. In the real world, engineers use computer simulations to test their designs. From the trivial paperclip to the life-saving crash analysis, computer-aided engineering (CAE) improves products around us every day. But accessing the massive power needed for these simulations can be tough for small organizations.

That’s where our partners at Altair have stepped in. Altair is democratizing access to CAE by building their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings on Microsoft Azure. In a case study we recently published, Altair describes how their HyperWorks Unlimited Virtual Appliance gives customers the combination of software and scale they need to quickly run their CAE workloads.

But that’s not the end of the story. Altair recently brought their Inspire software to a SaaS model as well. Inspire Unlimited provides a visual cloud collaboration platform for engineering. Inspire Unlimited attains the required scalability by onboarding multiple users on a virtual machine. Using Azure’s NV-series virtual machines, which feature NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPUs, Altair’s customers can get powerful virtual workstations without having to purchase expensive hardware. This allows users to collaborate with only a web browser,

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17

Apr

Recovery Services vault limit increased to 500 vaults per subscription per region

Today, we are delighted to announce increased scale limits for Azure Backup. Users can now create as many as 500 recovery services vaults in each subscription per region as compared to the earlier limit of 25 vaults per region per subscription. Customers who have been hitting the vault limits due to a restriction of 25 vaults can now go ahead and create vaults to manage their resources better. In addition, the number of Azure virtual machines that can be registered against each vault has been increased to 1,000 from the earlier limit of 200 machines under each vault.

Key benefits Better management of resources between departments in an organization: Flexibility to create a large number of vaults under a subscription and large number of containers under a vault based on the departmental requirements without worrying about hitting vault limits. Better granularity in reporting and monitoring of data within vaults: Users can create separate vaults as per their requirements segregated based on organizational needs and get more granular reporting of backup usage on a per vault basis. Systematic and comprehensive billing: Users can get vault level detailed billing for a subscription for better financial management within an organization. Related links and

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05

Apr

Application Security Groups now generally available in all Azure regions

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Application Security Groups (ASG) in all Azure regions. This feature provides security micro-segmentation for your virtual networks in Azure.

Network security micro segmentation

ASGs enable you to define fine-grained network security policies based on workloads, centralized on applications, instead of explicit IP addresses. Provides the capability to group VMs with monikers and secure applications by filtering traffic from trusted segments of your network.

Implementing granular security traffic controls improves isolation of workloads and protects them individually. If a breach occurs, this technique limits the potential impact of lateral exploration of your networks from hackers.

Security definition simplified

With ASGs, filtering traffic based on applications patterns is simplified, using the following steps:

Define your application groups, provide a moniker descriptive name that fits your architecture. You can use it for applications, workload types, systems, tiers, environments or any role. Define a single collection of rules using ASGs and Network Security Groups (NSG), you can apply a single NSG to your entire virtual network on all subnets. A single NSG gives you full visibility on your traffic policies, and a single place for management. Scale at your own pace. When you deploy

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30

Mar

Azure Availability Zones now available for the most comprehensive resiliency strategy

We introduced Azure Availability Zones during Microsoft Ignite as part of our continuing expansion of Azure’s support for the most demanding, mission-critical workloads. Today I’m excited to announce the general availability of Availability Zones beginning with select regions in the United States and Europe.

With Availability Zones, in addition to the broadest global coverage, Azure now offers the most comprehensive resiliency strategy in the industry from mitigating rack level failures with availability sets to protecting against large scale events with failover to separate regions. Within a region, Availability Zones increase fault tolerance with physically separated locations, each with independent power, network, and cooling.

For many companies, especially those in regulated industries, who are increasingly moving their mission-critical applications to the cloud, resiliency and business continuity have become a crucial focus. From online commerce systems in retail to customer-facing applications in financial services, the stakes are high for organizations and enterprises to deliver for their customers. Even a minor issue can have a major impact on a company’s brand reputation, customer satisfaction, and bottom line. In this environment, it’s imperative to develop applications with the highest operations standards anchored by a multi-layered resiliency approach.

“Availability Zones give us the combination of

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28

Mar

Using artificial intelligence to analyze roads

Imagine you’re driving down the road. As long as the road is straight, you can see everything in front of you. But what happens when the road curves? Your brain makes assumptions based on past experiences to fill in what can’t be seen. For autonomous vehicles, the challenge is to give them the ability to make the same assumptions.

Our customer Elektronische Fahrwerksysteme GmbH (EFS) is working on that problem for a major auto manufacturer. We recently published a case study that describes how EFS uses NVIDIA GPUs in Microsoft Azure to analyze 2D images.

EFS had never applied deep learning to this kind of image processing before. Using Azure allowed them to quickly create a proof of concept environment. This allowed them to verify their algorithms and show value without having to make large upfront investments in time and capital.

“The innovative ideas we’ve implemented so far give us trust in a new deep learning architecture and in solutions that will rely on it,” EFS software developer Max Jesch said. “We proved that it’s possible to use deep learning to analyze roads. That is a really big deal. As far as we know, EFS is the first company to

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26

Mar

Virtual Machine Serial Console access
Virtual Machine Serial Console access

Ever since I started working on the Virtual Machine (VM) platform in Azure, there has been one feature request that I consistently hear customers asking for us to build. I don’t think words can describe how excited I am to announce that today we are launching the public preview of Serial Console access for both Linux and Windows VMs.

Managing and running virtual machines can be hard. We offer extensive tools to help you manage and secure your VMs, including patching management, configuration management, agent-based scripting, automation, SSH/RDP connectivity, and support for DevOps tooling like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet. However, we have learned from many of you that sometimes this isn’t enough to diagnose and fix issues. Maybe a change you made resulted in an fstab error on Linux and you cannot connect to fix it. Maybe a bcdedit change you made pushed Windows into a weird boot state. Now, you can debug both with direct serial-based access and fix these issues with the tiniest of effort. It’s like having a keyboard plugged into the server in our datacenter but in the comfort of your office or home.

Serial Console for Virtual Machines is available in all global regions starting

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19

Mar

Join Microsoft at the GPU technology conference

High-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and visualization GPUs have a wide variety of uses. That’s why Microsoft has partnered with NVIDIA to bring a wide variety of NVIDIA GPUs to Azure. Join us in San Jose next week at NVIDIA’s GPU technology conference to learn how Azure customers combine the flexibility and elasticity of the cloud with the capability of NVIDIA’s GPUs.

At Booth 603, Microsoft and partners will have demos of customer use cases and experts on hand to talk about how Azure is the cloud for any GPU workload. We will have demos from our partners at Altair, PipelineFX, and Workspot. In addition, you can learn about work we’ve done in oil & gas, automotive, and artificial intelligence.

Partner and customer sessions in the conference program include:

Transforming the AEC business with cloud workstations in Azure – Jimmy Chang (Workspot) Deploying machine learning on the oilfield: from the labs to the edge – Matthieu Boujonnier (Schneider Electric), Bartosz Boguslawski (Schneider Electric), Loryne Bissuel-Beauvais (Schneider Electric) Autodesk BIM Cloud Workspace on Azure (panel) – Frank Wolbertus (TBI), Adam Jull (IMSCAD Global), Marc Sleegers (Autodesk), Allen Furmanski (Citrix Systems) Identifying new therapeutics for Parkinson’s Disease using virtual neurons on an Azure-hosted

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13

Mar

Announcing backup and restore performance improvements and support for large disk backup

Today, we are excited to announce the support for backup of large disk VMs and set of improvements aimed at reducing the time taken for backup and restore. These set of improvements and large disk support is based on a new VM backup stack and are available for both managed and unmanaged disks. You can seamlessly upgrade to this new stack without any impact to your on-going backup jobs and there is no change to how you setup backup or restore.

This announcement combines multiple feature improvements:

Large disk support – Now you can backup VMs with disk sizes up to 4TB(4095GB), both managed and unmanaged. Instant recovery point – A recovery point is available as soon as the snapshot is done as part of the backup job. This eliminates the need to wait to trigger restore till data transfer phase of the backup is completed. This is particularly useful in scenarios where you want to apply a patch. Now you can go ahead with the patch once the snapshot phase is done and you can use the local snapshot to revert back if the patch goes bad. This is analogous to checkpoint solution offered by Hyper-V or VMware with

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12

Mar

Azure Batch for oil and gas
Azure Batch for oil and gas

There is a new urgency for reaching oil more efficiently in a capital and risk intensive environment, especially with narrow margins around non-traditional exploration. The cost of offshore drilling for oil could be several hundred million dollars, with no guarantee of finding oil at all. On top of that, the high cost of data acquisition, drilling, and production reduces average profit margins to less than ten percent. Also, the expense and strict time limits of petroleum licenses impose a fixed time for exploration. This limit requires data acquisition, data processing, and interpretation of 3-D images with a limited amount of time to a solution envelope.

High performance computing (HPC) helps oil and gas companies accelerate ROI and minimize risk. This is done by providing engineers and geoscientists engaged in identifying and analyzing resource with the potential to map crucial project decisions. Azure provides true HPC on the cloud for customers in the oil and gas industry. Azure provides a broad range of compute resources to meet the needs of oil and gas workloads. This ranges from single-node jobs that use our compute optimized F-series virtual machines to tightly coupled many-node jobs that run on the H-series virtual machines, and all

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