AzureCon Announcements

There were several announcements from AzureCon last week. Here are some of the highlights.

New N family of Azure Virtual Machines. These have the latest flagship NVIDIA Tesla GPU, the K80, superfast RDMA network & high-end remote virtualisation. Azure becomes the first hyperscale cloud provider to bring the capabilities of NVidia’s Quadro High End Graphics Support to the cloud.

Azure Compute Pre-Purchase Plan. Pre-purchase compute hours for one year and save up to 63% on compute costs. This plan will be available globally starting December 1. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/building-the-intelligent-cloud-announcing-new-azure-innovations-to-transform-business/

Announcing general availability of ExpressRoute for Office 365. Everyone knows that Office 365 is hosted in Azure. If you have an ExpressRoute connection in Azure right now, the Office 365 component is a separate peer/route in which all Office 365 related traffic is routed over the ExpressRoute connection. A bit of background information here, with ExpressRoute, it’s all about peerings, which are similar to network routes. Private peering is used by Azure Compute and cloud services and is considered a trusted extension of on-premises core network into Azure. Public Peering is used by services like Azure Storage, SQL databases and websites that need public IPs and the last one Microsoft peering is Office 365.

  • Depending on how you are setup with ExpressRoute. If you have 802.1ad setup on your network, a single service key (single dedicated circuit) can be used to create the virtual circuit pair (primary and secondary VC) which can be used for both Private, Public and Microsoft peering. Different C-tags within the 802.1ad tag can be used to separate the private, public and Microsoft peering sessions using the same pair of VCs.
  • If you have 802.1Q (Dot1Q) setup on your network, you are required to order two separate dedicated circuits on Azure; each with a unique Service key. One service key for a pair of virtual circuits (primary and secondary VC) for private peering, another service key for a pair of virtual circuits (primary and secondary VC) for public peering and another service key for a pair of virtual circuits (primary and secondary VC) for Microsoft (Office 365) peering.
  • Microsoft Azure always uses 802.1ad (QinQ) on their side.

New DV2 virtual machines in Azure, Haswell processors, 35% faster than the D series http://screencast.com/t/s5395tz819. You can attached up to 32x 500 IOPS disks each at 1024 MBs in size.

A 5 TB SMB3 file server in the cloud, Azure Files now accessible outside the Azure data centre. Simply map a drive to it. You can map a drive using PowerShell:

Create a new Azure Files share:

# Get Storage account key
$StorageAccount = "<storage_account>"
$StorageKey = (Get-AzureStorageKey -StorageAccountName $StorageAccount).Primary
$context = New-AzureStorageContext -StorageAccountName $StorageAccount -StorageAccountKey $StorageKey

# create a new share
$s = New-AzureStorageShare contributor -Context $context
$s = New-AzureStorageShare reader -Context $context

# create a directory in the test share just created
New-AzureStorageDirectory -Share $s -Path contribute
New-AzureStorageDirectory -Share $s -Path read

Map a drive to it:

$net1 = new-object -ComObject WScript.Network
$net2 = new-object -ComObject Shell.Application
$net1.MapNetworkDrive("m:", "\<storage_account>.file.core.windows.netsharename", $true, "<storage_account>", "<storage_key>")
$net2.NameSpace('m:').Self.Name = "My Share"

Most significant advantage for SMB3? Encryped connections using AES-CCM [RFC5084] as the encryption algorithm.

3 new Azure regions now GA online, India Central / India South / India West. This takes the total of Azure regions to 20 https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/regions/ and not 22 as what was told to us at the conference, they are jumping the gun, there are two new Azure regions announced to be opened for business next year 2016 in Canada – Toronto and Quebec City.

Computers and Internet

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