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New Azure Front Door Service Now Available To Protect and Scale Apps

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the "general availability" (GA) commercial release of Azure Front Door, its latest content delivery network (CDN) service for securing and supporting high-availability Web content and "global" applications.

The service is described by Microsoft as "the new Azure Front Door," with two product offerings, Standard and Premium. The "new" aspect is somewhat like a home improvement makeover-type reference, as it will replace two older products -- namely, the current Azure Front Door and Azure CDN.

Dead-End 'Classic' Products
The current Azure Front Door and Azure CDN products aren't going be further developed, and they are getting renamed as "classic." Here's how Microsoft expressed that concept:

The existing Azure Front Door and Azure CDN from Microsoft will now be known as Azure Front Door (classic) and Azure CDN from Microsoft (classic) moving forward. Azure Front Door (classic), as well as Azure CDN from Microsoft (classic), will continue to be fully supported and you can continue to use them. However, we encourage you to take advantage of Azure Front Door Standard and Premium as the latest capabilities and future enhancements will not be available on Azure Front Door (classic).

Microsoft is promising to enable "zero downtime migrations" for users of the older products to the new Azure Front Door service, which will be arriving "over the coming months."

Azure Front Door has been around since 2019, but, in February of 2021, Microsoft revamped it and announced a preview of a "new" product. It evolved from a security solution for microservice-based Web applications to a cloud-based CDN that protects applications and Web sites, per Microsoft's descriptions.

New Azure Front Door Offerings
The new Azure Front Door service is currently available in two "tiers," namely Standard and Premium.

The Premium offering is described as being optimized for security and integration with other Azure services. The Premium offering includes two Azure services at no extra cost, namely the Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Private Link services.

Microsoft described the Standard offering of Azure Front Door as being "delivery optimized." It enables:

  • Static and dynamic content acceleration
  • Global load balancing
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) offload
  • Domain and certificate management
  • Enhanced traffic analytics, and
  • Basic security capabilities.

Pricing for both the Standard and Premium offerings is based on "base fees" billed hourly, plus two outbound data transfer costs, plus incoming "requests," according to Microsoft's pricing page description. Microsoft throws in Azure data transfers to the Azure Front Door's edge for "free." This pricing model was described as a "simplified cost model" in the announcement.

At press time, Microsoft's pricing page included a footnote stating that its base fees currently shown represented discounted preview costs (50 percent). It added that "these prices will go up to GA pricing effective May 1st, 2022."

Microsoft touted the new Azure Front Door service as leveraging more than "118 edge locations across 100 metro cities" via its "private enterprise-grade WAN [wide area network]," in a document description.

The new Azure Front Door service provides support for "end-to-end IPv6 connectivity and the HTTP/2 protocol" and features "integrated certificate management." The service also provides application scalability capabilities, such as "caching, SSL offload, and layer 3-4 DDoS [distributed denial of service] protection." It uses rules based on Microsoft Threat Intelligence information to protect apps against Bot attacks.

A list of the capabilities that were released at GA with the new Azure Front Door service can be found in this Azure announcement.

About the Author

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

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