24

Mar

Advancing Azure business continuity management
Advancing Azure business continuity management

“Microsoft Azure has always been committed to providing highly reliable, available, and recoverable services to our customers. This customer-focused passion is reflected at every level in the Microsoft Azure Business Continuity Management (BCM) program. At the direction of the Microsoft board of directors, in 2007 we established a comprehensive risk program including the BCM program to address assured recoverability of services for our customers. For today’s post in our Advancing Reliability series, I’ve asked Robert Arco, our Senior Program Manager overseeing this program, to explain how we approach business continuity management in Azure, and how we’re continuing to improve the program as our platform evolves.”—Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure

How we define a “service” for our BCM program

If you ask three people what a service is, you may get three different answers. At Microsoft, we define a service (business process or technology) as a means of delivering value to customers (first- or third-party) by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve.

To ensure the highest level of resiliency for each of our “services” we include:

People: The people who are responsible for providing the service. Process: The methodology used to provide the service. Technology: The tools used to

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17

Mar

Limited-time free quantities offer for Azure Synapse Analytics

Customers with qualifying subscription types* can now try the new serverless SQL pool and Apache Spark pool resources in Azure Synapse Analytics using free quantities until July 31, 2021. Sign-in to your Azure Synapse Analytics account to get started.

Serverless SQL pool

Customers can enjoy up to 10TB of free queries per month using the serverless SQL pool resource until July 31, 2021.

  Free quantity Serverless *10 TB of free queries per month until July 31, 2021

The new flexible service model for query processing in Azure Synapse Analytics allows data teams to use both serverless and dedicated options. Organizations can now choose the most cost-effective option for each use case—enjoying the advantages of a data lake for quick data exploration with pay-per-query pricing and or a dedicated data warehouse for more predictable and mission-critical workloads.

A serverless SQL pool is serverless, so there’s no infrastructure to set up or clusters to maintain. A default endpoint for this service is provided within every Azure Synapse Analytics workspace, so customers can start querying data as soon as the workspace is created.

Apache Spark pool

Customers can enjoy up to 120 free vCore-hours per month

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17

Mar

Our commitment to expand Azure Availability Zones to more regions

The cloud continues to play a critical role in our everyday lives. Our customers range from classrooms and small businesses to critical life and safety services and Fortune 500 companies. Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure—the largest in the world—is the backbone for many of these experiences which have been essential to connecting people, businesses, and governments and running mission-critical applications. We believe that a trusted cloud is one that is secure, reliable, and supports regulatory compliance. We continue to build Azure to support customer needs for low-latency, high-availability cloud services and with the ability to both store and process data within a country or geography.

In 2020, Microsoft announced development of new Azure datacenter regions that will bring local low-latency, data-resident cloud solutions to 14 new countries and expanding global availability. Already in 2021, we’ve continued our plans to expand our datacenter regions to new markets like Indonesia and grow in existing markets in the United States and China. As we continue to bring local cloud services to more countries, we are doing so with resilience and high availability in mind.

Key takeways By end of 2021, every country in which we operate a datacenter region will deliver Azure Availability

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17

Mar

Accelerate your cloud adoption with the start small and expand landing zone

This post was co-authored by Thomas Maurer, Senior Cloud Avocate, Azure

Tailwind Traders1 is a retail company that is looking to adopt Azure as part of its IT strategy. The IT team is familiar with deploying infrastructure on-premises and are now researching what they need to do in order to run their workloads within Azure. In this blog post, we will walk you through Tailwind Traders’ experience running workloads on Azure using Cloud Adoption Framework and Azure landing zones.

Start small and expand

Tailwind Traders has been researching Azure landing zones and have become familiar with the options available: Start small and expand, enterprise-scale, and partner landing zones.

As Tailwind Traders is just starting their cloud adoption journey and are looking to learn and grow on this journey, they have decided to use the start small and expand landing zone. One thing that Tailwind Traders has learned over the years is that IT is always changing, and there are many benefits and innovations that come with the changes. They understand that as their journey matures, their requirements and needs may change, and, as cloud providers add new features and products to their range, new opportunities will arise. Tailwind Traders has decided this is the

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16

Mar

Do more for the National Security mission with Azure
Do more for the National Security mission with Azure

As we continue to deliver on our commitment to providing the broadest range of commercial innovation for government, we’re rapidly advancing new capabilities for the National Security mission. Azure helps mission teams gain insight from data—at any security level—anywhere. For example, our customers are taking full advantage of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), enabling our National Security customers to operate remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through WVD, customers can access critical applications and data in their unique, secured environment. Our team is committed to continually delivering new capabilities as demonstrated by the release of 66 new services to Azure Government and 28 new services on Azure Government Secret since January 2021.

Whether your workforce is stateside or deployed to remote and or disadvantaged locations, Azure gives you access to the most advanced technology platform—providing compute, storage, and advanced analytics capabilities to the warfighter and providing actionable intelligence in near real-time. This leads to greater intelligence at the edge, unified security to protect the nation’s most critical and sensitive data, and elastic capacity to support secure remote collaboration for analysts and forward-deployed teams working around the world.

Delivering mission intelligence at the edge

To help our customers maintain strategic advantage, our

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15

Mar

Prevent exceeding Azure budget with forecasted cost alerts

Forecasted cost alerts within budgets in Azure Cost Management and Billing is now generally available. Forecasted cost alerts provide advanced notification that your spending trends are likely to exceed your allocated budget. This empowers you to proactively investigate and make changes to your spending well in advance of actually breaching your budget at the end of the period. Budgets and alerting gives you the ability to hold your organization accountable for its spending to ensure there are no surprises with your cloud costs.

Rest easy knowing that budgets can now alert you based off of both your actual costs and our projections of your future costs. Never get caught off guard by your spending again. In this blog, we would like to explain how to get started with configuring your first forecasted cost alert.

Configure your forecast alert using the Azure portal

Follow the steps below to configure your first forecasted cost alert using the Azure portal.

Navigate to the Cost Management and Billing blade in the Azure portal and select Budgets from the menu. Once on the Budgets blade, click Add to create your new budget.

Enter in details for your new budget, including the Scope you

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15

Mar

Azure and AMD announce landmark in confidential computing evolution

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation globally and the scalability and security advantages offered by Microsoft Azure have helped many customers move forward. One key tenet we have in Azure is that your data is your data.   

In Azure, we take your data security seriously and have built numerous controls around data at rest and data at flight. As a founding member of the Confidential Computing Consortium, we are also an innovator in confidential computing which extends those protections to data running on the processor itself. For more than 3 years financial services, governments, health care providers, and even messaging companies have been using Azure confidential computing to unlock new scenarios like multi-party machine learning and move their more sensitive applications to the cloud.

Today, I am announcing that we are further broadening the confidential computing options available to Azure customers through our technology partnership with AMD, specifically by being the first major cloud provider to offer confidential virtual machines on the new AMD EPYC™ 7003 series processors. This new approach complements existing Azure confidential computing solutions such as confidential containers for Azure Kubernetes Service and opens the possibility to create new confidential applications without requiring code modifications which in turn substantially simplifies the process of creating confidential applications. 

Key technology enablers to the AMD-centered solution include the advanced security feature called Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging, or SEV-SNP. SEV-SNP enables protection of virtual machines by creating a trusted execution environment and has been substantially enhanced in the 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processor. 

These AMD EPYC-CPU powered Azure VMs are fully encrypted at runtime, fulfilling the promise of confidential

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15

Mar

More performance and choice with new Azure HBv3 virtual machines for HPC

HPC-optimized virtual machines featuring AMD EPYC 7003-series processors

Today Azure advances the velocity at which we bring the latest technologies to our HPC customers and the compute performance we put at their fingertips. We are excited to announce Azure HBv3-series virtual machines (VMs) for high-performance computing (HPC) are generally available in the East US, South Central US, and West Europe Azure regions. HBv3 VMs will also be available in the West US3 and Southeast Asia regions soon.

HBv3 VMs are designed to deliver leadership-class performance, message passing interface (MPI) scalability, and cost efficiency for a variety of real-world HPC workloads such as CFD, finite element analysis, computational geoscience, rendering, weather simulation, financial risk analysis, and RTL simulation.

HBv3 VMs bring new capabilities to Azure’s fleet of HPC and AI-optimized VM offerings:

Azure’s first VMs with AMD EPYC 7003 series processors. Up to 19 percent higher per core performance. Up to 2.6 times higher per VM performance for lightly-threaded workloads. Up to 1.9 times higher performance for large-scale MPI workloads. Multiple VM sizes so customers can deploy fit-for-purpose HPC compute. H-series’ highest performance local SSD configuration to date, with up to 7 GB/s of read performance, 3 GB/s of

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11

Mar

Advancing failure prediction and mitigation—introducing Narya

“This post continues our Advancing Reliability series highlighting initiatives underway to constantly improve the reliability of the Azure platform. In 2018 we shared steps we’re taking to improve virtual machine (VM) resiliency using live migration. In 2019 we shared how we’re further improving virtual machine resiliency with Project Tardigrade, which identifies host failures and recovers from them through memory-preserving soft kernel reboots. In 2020 we shared our AIOps vision for improving service quality using artificial intelligence. Today, we wanted to provide an update on how these efforts are evolving by introducing Project Narya, an end-to-end prediction, and mitigation service. As I shared at Microsoft Ignite last week, Narya has become an important part of the intelligent infrastructure of Azure. The post that follows was written by Jeffrey He, a Program Manager from our Azure Compute team.”—Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure

This post includes contributions from Principal Data Scientist Manager Yingnong Dang and Senior Data Scientists Sebastien Levy, Randolph Yao, and Youjiang Wu.

Project Narya is a holistic, end-to-end prediction and mitigation service—named after the “ring of fire” from Lord of the Rings, known to resist the weariness of time. Narya is designed not only to predict and mitigate Azure host

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10

Mar

Digital event: Extend to the cloud with Azure VMware solution

Find out how to easily shift your VMware workloads to the cloud on your own terms and modernize your investments. Join us on March 23, 2021, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Pacific Time (UTC-8), for the Extend to the Cloud with Azure VMware Solution digital event—delivered in partnership with Intel and VMware—and get to know Microsoft Azure VMware Solution: a cloud service that lets you run VMware natively on Azure.

Join industry experts and VMware users at this free digital event to:

Learn how to cost-effectively shift your VMware workloads, skills, and tools to the cloud. Find out how to optimize and scale your Microsoft Windows and SQL Server workloads on Azure. See demos of Azure VMware Solution in action and hear about new and upcoming product features. Join interactive and technical sessions on deployment, migration, disaster recovery, and connecting to other Azure services. Plus, ask the experts your questions and network with your peers in the live chat and moderated roundtables.

We have a fantastic line-up of speakers and sessions for you at this event to help you learn how to easily shift your VMware workloads to the cloud on your own terms.

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