News for IT Pros from AzureCon

[Image Credit: Microsoft]

Microsoft announced a bunch of new stuff in the Azure world today for AzureCon. Here’s a summary of the stuff relevant to IT pros. Azure is growing still:

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Azure Container Service

Microsoft describes this as:

… an open source container scheduling and orchestration service which builds on our partnerships with both Docker and Mesosphere, as well as our contributions to open source projects in this space.

This gives you Docker service delivery and Apache Mesos orchestrator. Other pieces included are Marathon for launching/scaling container-based application and Chronos, offering distribute cron job and batch workload management.

Azure Container Service will be in preview before the end of 2016.

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Note that in the above slide (presented at AzureCon by Scott Guthrie) mentions the future on-premises Azure Stack.

More Regions

Three new regions just opened in India:

  • Central Indi (Pune)
  • South India (Chennai)
  • West India (Mumbai)

That should add about 60 new jobs to the Indian economy – it doesn’t take much labour to run one of these regions! Azure is available now, O365 will be there in October, and Dynamics CRM will come in H1 2016.

Azure Security Center

This is similar to something that was launched for O365 recently. Azure Security Center is:

… an integrated security solution that gives customers end to end visibility and control of the security of their Azure resources, helping them to stay ahead of threats as they evolve.

This solution integrates with partner solutions from the likes of Barracuda, Checkpoint, Cisco, CloudFlare, F5 Networks, Imperva, Incapsula, and Trend Micro.

You’ll get the usual monitoring and policy management, but ASC will also use information about global threats and your environment to make recommendations; that’s an interesting development! ASC will be broadly available by the end of 2016.

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Guthrie said at AzureCon that there is DDOS detection built into this service.

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Easier deployment of security appliances. And there’s best practices and scanning of network security groups (Extended Port ACLs in Azure). There is security alerting, that ingests data from the various partner vendors. Hadoop is analysing this data. SQL injection and DDOS attacks will appear in the alerts, maybe even pinpointing the location of those attacks.

This is a huge achievement of integrated advanced services.

N-Series VMs

This had to come – N-Series VMs can be thought of as the NVIDIA VMs, because that’s exactly what they are, VMs with GPU capabilities. GPUs are great for graphic and compute intensive workloads. N-Series will be available in preview in the coming months, and will feature:

… NVIDIA Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform as well as NVIDIA GRID 2.0 technology, providing the highest-end graphics support available in the cloud today.

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I think I heard Guthrie say that N-Series has Infiniband networking.

DV2 D-Series Virtual Machines

DV2 is D-Series Version 2 virtual machines. These VMs use a customized 2.4 GHz Intel Zeon E5 v3. With turbo boost 2.0 the clock can run up to 3.2 GHz, making it 32% faster than current D-series VMs.

Other News

Some bullets:

  • The general availability of ExpressRoute for O365 and Skype for Business, as well as the ability to connect to Microsoft Azure’s Government Cloud via ExpressRoute.
  • New pricing plans for ExpressRoute. Effective Oct 1st 2015, customers will have two different data plans for their ExpressRoute connections.
  • A8-A11 VM instances will be reduced in price by as much as 60%, starting Oct 1st. They needed this – it’s been much cheaper to run big workloads in traditional hosting or on-premises.
  • Azure File Storage is GA. Whoah – it’s based on SMB 3.0!
  • The general availability of Azure Backup of application workloads … Hmm, I’m reading this in-between the lines as the start of Project Venus, and “direct” might not be “direct”.  [EDIT] It was confirmed to me that this is Project Venus, and it is not live yet.
  • Upcoming availability of Azure Resource Health, a new service that exposes the health of each of Azure resources such as Virtual Machines, websites and SQL Databases to help customers quickly identify the root cause of a problem.

Lots of stuff there to keep the Azure bigwigs busy in their AzureCon keynotes.

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6 Comments on News for IT Pros from AzureCon

  1. The arrival of V2 D-Series explains why weeks ago, Microsoft announced lowering the prices of D-Series VMs starting October 1. At that time, I was really surprised because D-Series become more advantageous than A-Series. I think Microsoft should decrease the A-Series prices in order to balance its offer.
    Thanks for the resumè.

  2. Hmm. three new datacenters in India, and only 60 new jobs to the Indian economy?? 20 persons per one DataCenter?
    It not enough for Security Officers in 24/7 😉

  3. I have found – http://up2v.nl/2012/11/11/a-look-into-windows-azure-datacenter/
    (…)
    The datacenters are heavily automated. There are just 12 staff members working in 3 shifts per 24 hour: 9 armed security guards and 3 administrators.
    (…)

    • Remember that a region has multiple datacenters, possibly side by side or enclosed, and that they might only need that headcount for a region rather than a data center. And I question a lot of the marketing about the facilities – there are some proclamations that are simply not true. And I can confirm that no security facility can legally be armed in Ireland. Best they can do here is take a shoe off and wallop you with it.

      The point here is that when any company announces a cloud facility, government-types brag about the “400 jobs” that will be created … what they neglect to mention is that those are temporary construction jobs, with all senior positions coming from HQ, and afterwards, the small contingent of permanent staff is not far from minimum wage. The security staff are … security staff, and the operators aren’t even disk-monkeys.

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