Everything you need to know about What’s New in Microsoft Azure

…or maybe “How the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks do you keep up with What’s New in Azure?” would be better. 😉

 It’s just about an impossible feat to accomplish – based on the number of teams working on this massive thing called “Microsoft Azure”, all with a cadence of what seems like 1-2 weeks…

Welcome to the world of “The Cloud”. As Mark Russinovich said to me during an interview at TechEd:

“In order to go fast in a cloud world, you actually have to go fast”

He wasn’t joking.

Part of what I do for my Job at Microsoft is talk about technologies in a specific area in context of the bigger picture of the IT Industry. I work with various Engineering / product teams to understand their technologies and how it would apply to solve issues in “the real world”. I used to focus exclusively on the core infrastructure of Windows Server. Over the last couple of years I decided to expand that focus to include Microsoft Azure. But wait, Azure is a big place – lots of innovation in all sorts of areas. How do I narrow it down? I focus my effort on technologies and solutions using Azure that would be beneficial for IT Professionals and SysAdmins to  bring into their organizations to be more successful.

Besides talking and meeting with the Teams here on Campus – one of the best places to find out what is new is via the official Azure Blog.  I find I tend to focus just on Virtual Machines and supporting technologies categories (View all posts in Virtual Machines).  From there, I dug up my “top 3” things from the past year that I thought I’d share with you here:

#3) D Series Machines – with SSD

As we roll out new hardware in our datacenters around the world, we are able to offer up new capabilities to our services. Virtual Machines is no exception to that. As a result – we get a new series of machines that have faster processing power, better memory to core ratio and faster disk options. Introducing The D-Series Machines.

Name vCores Memory (GB) Local SSD (GB)
Standard_D1 1 3.5 50
Standard_D2 2 7 100
Standard_D3 4 14 200
Standard_D4 8 28 400
Standard_D11 2 14 100
Standard_D12 4 28 200
Standard_D13 8 56 400
Standard_D14 16 112 800

Get more information about them, what they can do and how to use them (as well as pricing links) from the Azure Blog. http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2014/09/22/new-d-series-virtual-machine-sizes

#2) ExpressRoute and other VPN solutions

When I talk about “The Cloud” and Microsoft Azure with anyone, I always make sure to do it as an AND conversation, not an OR conversation.  I see the Public Cloud as an extra tool you can use in your toolbox when designing architecture for new or existing projects.  It’s an AND, mainly because of our connectivity options AND existing skillsets. 

HybridOptions

VPN Connectivity could mean a point-to-site discussion for a specific box that is located on-prem or it could be a Site-to-Site connectivity option to truly act as an extension of your on-premises environment.  We announced in May 2014 the addition of what we’re calling ExpressRoute connectivity to select datacenters. Think of this as your internet provider with whom you already have WAN connectivity or Internet connectivity with now having the option to route traffic directly into an Azure Datacenter instead of going across the public internet. 

ExpressRoute1

Want to know more? Check out these posts from Ganesh:

#1) – Azure Site Recovery in General Availability

Think of this scenario for a minute.  You are working with SystemCenter on-premises to define your “clouds” of VMs managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  You want to enable a level of disaster recovery that you currently can’t have, because you only have one Datacenter.  You can now use Azure as your second site and replicate them (provided they are Generation 1VMs) up to Microsoft Azure – using Azure Site Recovery.

DRtoAzureGA

Not only is this useful for Disaster Recovery – it could also be used to spin off isolated development environments or as a method of migration from on premises to Azure IaaS… I’ll be honest – it’s a bit tricky to setup and has some hefty requirements on the on-premises side (SystemCenter), but it’s a very attractive option for some DR goodness.

My friend Abhishek has a good starting point for you to research how to enable this… http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2014/10/02/disaster-recovery-to-azure-using-azure-site-recovery-is-now-ga/ It’s something I also plan on documenting in a simpler format here on the blog.

There you have it – my “Top 3” things that I’ve found interesting from the past year. What about you – got anything that you find particularly useful to share in the Azure space? Any cool sources – share theme here in the comments!

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Rick


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