Azure Products Reaching 'General Availability' at Microsoft Ignite

A lot of products were announced at the "general availability" (GA) commercial-release stage during this week's Microsoft Ignite event, which kicked off on Wednesday.

Azure GA announcements predominated. The following compendium of GA products, available this month, was extracted from Microsoft's "Book of News" (BoN) publication.

Azure Stack HCI and Network ATC
Network ATC for Azure Stack HCI is Microsoft's "intent-based deployment" solution that lets IT pros set up configurations to apply to "all nodes in the cluster." The meaning of "ATC" doesn't seem to be defined in Microsoft's documentation, but the concept was described in this 2021 Microsoft announcement. The Network ATC feature is now at the GA stage to support Azure Stack HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure), which is Microsoft's "Azure in a box" for use by organizations in their infrastructures. (BoN 2.2.3.)

Azure Arc for SQL Server
Azure Arc, Microsoft multicloud management solution, now has a single sign-on capability via Azure Active Directory that permits the management of "all Azure resources and their SQL environments" within the portal. Also, Azure Arc has improvements that let Microsoft Defender "assess and secure SQL Server estates across multicloud [and] hybrid environments." (BoN 2.2.1.)

Azure Automanage Support on Azure Arc and Azure VMs
The Azure Automanage feature automates best-practice baseline settings for organizations that use the Windows Server 2022 Azure Datacenter edition or Azure Stack HCI. It will monitor those settings, too. Azure Automanage now works with Azure virtual machines (VMs) and Azure Arc, which is Microsoft's multicloud management solution. In that respect, Azure Automanage can now apply backup settings, use Log Analytics Workspace and Azure tags, support Windows 10 VMs and enable the Microsoft Antimalware service. (BoN 2.3.1.)

Azure Premium SSD Disk Storage Version 2
Microsoft commercially released Azure Premium SSD Disk version 2, which offers "flexible and scalable general-purpose block storage in the cloud." This service provides "64 tebibytes (TiBs) of storage capacity, 80,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 1,200 megabits per second throughput on a single disk." It's optimal for use with production database workloads, big data implementations, virtual machines and stateful containers. (BoN 2.3.3.)

Azure Portal Inclusion of Windows Admin Center
Microsoft browser-based management console, Windows Admin Center, is now accessible in the Azure Portal. (BoN 2.3.7.)

Azure Monitor Perks
Azure Monitor now has a "predictive autoscale" capability for Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets that's based on the CPU load and network demand. There's also a "basic logs and data archive" capability that promises reduced log ingestion costs (one fifth of current costs), plus archiving for up to seven years. The Azure Monitor Agent, used to collect user data "telemetry," now supports Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices, and Microsoft has released a migration tool to move from the "legacy" Log Analytics agent. (BoN 2.3.4.)

Azure Portal Enables Server Bus Explorer
The Azure Portal can now be used to carry out Server Bus operations. (BoN 2.5.12.)

Azure Support for Nutanix Cloud Clusters
Organizations can access Nutanix Cloud Clusters on Azure, which lets them use "their existing Nutanix skills and tools." (BoN 2.3.5.)

Azure Networking DNS Private Resolver
Microsoft released an "Azure Domain Name System private resolver" capability. This service can forward queries from virtual networks and on-premises networks to other DNS servers, without having to be customized. (BoN 2.3.6.)

Azure Savings Plan for Compute
Microsoft is planning to release a GA of its new savings plan for Azure compute services, will reach the GA stage "later in October." The savings will be based on customer commitment to spend a fixed hourly amount "for one or three years." (BoN 2.3.8.)

Azure Machine Learning
The Azure Machine Learning service now supports "natural language processing and image tasks." It has an automated code generation capability for "tabular, image and text data" tasks, too. A "Responsible AI dashboard" for debugging machine learning models will be reaching GA "soon." (BoN 1.1.3.)

Azure Cosmos DB
Azure Cosmos DB now supports MongoDB document storage at up to 16MB. The experience for developers when using open source technologies has been improved. (BoN 2.1.2.)

Azure Data Explorer
Azure Data Explorer, Microsoft's big data analytics solution, has access to new data types for the data ingestion process that used for setting up queries. The following data types are now supported:

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Azure Event Grid
  • Azure Cosmos DB via a new Azure Synapse Link connector to stream data from Azure Cosmos DB to Azure Data Explorer
  • OpenTelemetry Metrics, Logs and Traces

It's also possible now to use the "open standard Parquet and Delta formats" to read and write data. (BoN 2.1.8.)

Azure Data Factory and SAP Data
Microsoft has released an "SAP Change Data Connector" for Azure Data Factory which is Microsoft's serverless data transformation service. The connector lets organizations "easily bring SAP data into Azure for analytics, AI and other apps." (BoN 2.1.9.)

Azure Kubernetes Service Confidential Node Pools
The Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) now supports both confidential and nonconfidential node pools "in a single cluster." AKS also added support for AMD's third-generation Epyc processors to enable confidential virtual machine node pools. "These confidential node pools on AKS enable a seamless lift and shift of Linux container workloads to Azure." (BoN 8.1.14.)

Microsoft Entra
Microsoft Entra, which is the product family name for Permissions Management, Verified ID and Azure Active Directory services, now has a "Conditional Access Authentication Context" feature that lets organization set policies on the actions users can take in applications. (BoN 8.1.5.)

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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