Azure News 2017 – Week 15

Alibaba using Microsoft’s open source software, Citrix Essentials now in Azure, Azure Stack TP3 refresh and more as heard on the Need to Know podcast.

Alibaba is using Microsoft’s Azure networking switch for its public cloud

Last year, Microsoft contributed its Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONIC) to the Open Compute Project datacenter foundation. Almost exactly a year later, Alibaba announced that it is starting to use SONIC for its own public cloud datacenters.

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Azure surpasses AWS as the public cloud of choice

A new survey of IT professionals shows Microsoft Azure has overtaken Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the public cloud provider of choice. Around two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents said they use Azure while 55 percent said they use AWS. More than half of the Azure users were from enterprises with more than 10,000 employees. This is the first survey to put Azure ahead of AWS.

Also growing in popularity is DevOps, the new means of application development, which goes hand-in-hand with cloud use. Speaking of DevOps, we asked Adam Cogan recently about the biggest change in Microsoft in the past 12 months.

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Price reductions on L Series and announcing next generation Hyper-threaded virtual machines

Microsoft have announced price reductions of up to 69% on our storage-optimised virtual machines, L Series.

Microsoft are reducing prices by 60% to 69% on their newly-launched L Series virtual machines, effective April 1st to match recent price changes from AWS. These VMs are storage optimised sizes, best suited for low latency workloads such as NoSQL databases including Cassandra and MongoDB. L Series offers virtual machines from 4 to 32 vCPUs, based on Intel® Xeon® processor E5 v3 family with 32 to 256 GiB memory, and from 678 GB to 5.6TB of SSD disk.

New Hyper-Threaded VMs and Dv2 limited time promotion

In the next few months, Microsoft will be introducing a new generation of Hyper-Threading Technology virtual machines for general purpose workloads, Dv3, and a new family for memory optimised workloads, Ev3. This is a shift from physical cores to virtual cores. This will introduce VM sizes up to 64 vCPUs on Intel® Broadwell E5-2673 v4 2.3 processor and with 432 GBs of memory on the largest Ev3 sizes.

These new Hyper-Threaded VMs will be priced up to 28% lower than Dv2 Series VMs, matching the comparable AWS instance prices. Starting now, you can provision a Dv2 Promo VM on Azure’s current generation hardware at the lower Dv3 and Ev3 VM prices, allowing you to take advantage of these cost savings now.

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XenDesktop Essentials & XenApp Essentials Now Available in Azure Marketplace!

April 3 marked a monumental milestone for the Citrix and Microsoft partnership. Citrix XenDesktop Essentials Service and Citrix XenApp Essentials Service nicknamed Azure RemoteApp v2 is now available in the Azure Marketplace. You can purchase Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop technology directly from the Azure Marketplace on a subscription basis.

We asked Daniel Mar about Azure RemoteApp just last week at ExpertsLive in Melbourne.

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Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 refresh with Azure PaaS services

Microsoft have announced preview releases of Azure PaaS services for Azure Stack and a refresh to Azure Stack TP3. Last month, they released Azure Stack TP3 and provided additional information about hybrid use cases, the pay-as-you-use business model for Azure Stack and roadmap updates. Additionally, Microsoft put together a whitepaper with an even more detailed roadmap of Azure services, integrated systems details and initial geo-availability.

This release includes:

  • Azure App Service (Web apps, API apps, and Mobile apps)
  • Azure Functions
  • Updated versions of SQL/MySQL database services
  • New to App Service this release:
    • Azure Functions preview for AAD based deployments
    • Deployment in disconnected environments
    • Deployment on ADFS authenticated Azure Stack
    • Installation and deployment improvements
    • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) API version 2016-03-01 support for App Services
    • Synchronisation of SKUs with Azure – i.e. Free (F1), Shared (D1), and Standard (S1, S2, S3)
  • Service reliability improvements

We spoke to Thomas Maurer (MVP) recently about how IT services companies are going to have to change, the difference between Azure Pack where you have more control over the hardware behind the scenes Vs Azure Stack which comes as a turnkey solution.

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Azure Resource Manager template reference now available

Microsoft have published new documentation for creating Azure Resource Manager templates. The documentation includes reference content that presents the JSON syntax and property values you need when adding resources to your templates.

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