Azure News 2017 – Week 11

ARM on ARM, new Azure SQL service tiers, Visual Studio 2017 Launch, TechFemme Sydney 2017, PowerShell v6.0.0 and Microsoft Global Cloud Network Switch (SONiC) are all in the news this week on the Need To Know podcast.


Microsoft is moving beyond Intel in its Azure cloud and is going to start using ARM-based servers in its Azure cloud Microsoft has been testing Windows Server running on ARM-based servers made by Qualcomm and Cavium. They are testing Qualcomm’s ARM-based 10 nanometre Centriq 2400 processor, available with up to 48 cores. They plan on using ARM based servers to run search, storage, machine-learning and big data-related tasks.

More than 9 out of 10 of the world’s smartphones run on ARM-based processors, have not really penetrated the datacentre market as Intel has lowered the energy in their CPUs.

Intel estimates its processors are inside 98% of cloud based servers. Last year Intel’s Data Center Group reported $17.2bn sales and $7.5bn operating profit.

More Info.

SONiC: The networking switch software that powers the Microsoft Global Cloud

As Microsoft has gained a lot of insight into building and managing a global, high performance, highly available, and secure network. Their experience with hundreds of datacenters and tens of thousands of switches tells them they need to:

  • The best switching hardware for the various tiers of the network.
  • Deploy new features without impacting end users.
  • Roll out updates securely and reliably across the fleet in hours instead of weeks.
  • Utilize cloud-scale deep telemetry and fully automated failure mitigation.
  • Enable our Software-Defined Networking software to easily control all hardware elements in the network using a unified structure to eliminate duplication and reduce failures.

To address these requirements, Microsoft pioneered Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC), a breakthrough for network switch operations and management and now Microsoft has open-sourced this innovation to the community, making it available on our SONiC GitHub Repository.

SONiC is a uniquely extensible platform built on the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), which defines a standardised API. Network hardware vendors can use it to develop innovative hardware platforms that can achieve great speeds while keeping the programming interface to ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) consistent. Microsoft open sourced SAI in 2015. This approach enables operators to take advantage of the rapid innovation in silicon, CPU, power, port density, optics, and speed, while preserving their investment in one unified software solution across multiple platforms.

More Info.

Networking innovations that drive the cloud disruption

As you know, Microsoft Azure has a massive datacenter infrastructure behind them with robust and secure networks.

Microsoft’s goal is to offer cloud services that any customer, anywhere in the world doesn’t have to worry about capacity constraints or service quality and to be able to get to their resources from anywhere, at any scale, with no limitations, easily and securely.

When Microsoft started developing cloud offerings, they quickly realised that traditional networking approaches wouldn’t give the speed, reliability, and security needed by customers. Microsoft has been innovating and heavily investing in network infrastructure.

Microsoft global network

They built a scalable and flexible datacenter network which uses a virtualised layer 3 overlay network that is independent of a physical network topology. Multiple virtual networks run on the same physical network in the datacenter, similar to multiple virtual machines on the same physical server. Each customer has their own isolated virtual network.

Microsoft have replaced hardware load balancers with standard compute servers that runs the Azure Load Balancer.

Microsoft have built a backbone network that spans the globe laying undersea cables to Europe and Asia. Microsoft have invested in under sea cables which run from North America to Ireland and on to the United Kingdom. Also a physical landing station in the US connecting North America to Asia via the the New Cross Pacific (NCP) Cable Network.

Azure VMs have up to 25 Gbps bandwidth with very low latency within each region. Servers running in Azure datacenters have special network cards (NICs) that offload network processing to the hardware. Both Linux and Windows VMs will experience these performance improvements while returning valuable CPU cycles to the application.

More Info.

Azure SQL Database Premium RS & 4TB storage options

Microsoft has announced the preview of the latest edition of Azure SQL service tiers, Premium RS and a 4TB increase of storage limits for Premium P11 and P15.

Premium RS is designed for your IO-intensive workloads that need Premium performance but do not require the highest availability guarantees.

You can now use up to 4TB of included storage with P11 and P15 Premium databases at no additional charge.

More Info.

Visual Studio 2017 Launch Event

Visual Studio 2017 is now available and to celebrate the occasion there is a Visual Studio 2017 Launch Event!

Microsoft will be celebrating the launch of the latest version as well as 20 years of Visual Studio. There will be the team from Microsoft, Xamarin and Readify who will be sharing the latest innovations in Visual Studio, .NET, Xamarin, Azure and more. It’ll be a day packed with technical demos sessions to help you get the most out of Visual Studio 2017!

Event Agenda:
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM What’s new in VS2017
10:30AM – 11:00AM Morning tea
11:00AM – 12:00PM DevOps
12:00PM – 1:00PM Lunch
1:00PM – 2:00PM C# 7.0
2:00PM – 3:00PM Mobile Application Development with VS2017
3:00PM – 3:30PM Afternoon tea
3:30PM – 4:30PM App Insights & Test Hub

SYDNEY – March 21
CANBERRA – March 23
PERTH – March 28
MELBOURNE – March 31

Reserve your spot today!

TechFemme Sydney 2017

For women… This is a unique event designed to inspire and empower young women from STEM-related backgrounds (science, technology, engineering and maths). Happening on Thursday March 20, 2017, from 4:45 pm – 8:30 pm at the University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo.

More Info.

PowerShell update v6.0.0

In case you’re not keeping up, PowerShell v5 is included as part of Windows 10. And since PowerShell has now been open sourced, there’s now a brand new version that you can install in your computer.

There’s a whole bunch of changes and updates.

More Info.

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