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Microsoft enhances Azure platform with new capabilities

22 Jul 2020

Microsoft Inspire has kicked off with a number of major announcements across Microsoft’s Azure, Microsoft 365, business applications, security, enablement, and sustainability initiatives. In this story we focus on the company’s Azure announcements.

The next generation of Azure Stack HCI

Leading the announcements, Microsoft states that the next generation of Azure Stack HCI is a native and integrated Azure service for integrating data centres with the cloud. Azure Stack HCI partners include Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. 

“Customers can use their existing skills as well as manage their Azure Stack HCI systems, Windows Server and Linux virtual machines from Azure Portal, just like any other Azure resource,” Microsoft states.

Azure Migrate

New enhancements to Azure Migrate will enable users to conduct data centre assessments using uploaded Configuration Management Database data, as well as new support for Azure VMware Solutions assessments.

Microsoft has also added several Azure disks and networking enhancements, including shared disks for Azure Disk Storage, private links for exporting and importing data securely over a private network and support for third-party virtual appliances within virtual wide-area network hubs, such as Barracuda.

Microsoft’s migration features as a glance:

  • Azure Migrate advanced specializations, training and PowerShell support now generally available.
  • Azure Migrate support for Azure VMware Solutions assessments and app compatibility in public preview.
  • Azure shared disks, new features and networking enhancements now generally available.

Supported distribution of Apache Hadoop

 Users can a new HDInsight cluster based on Apache code that is built and wholly supported by Microsoft.  

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage is in public preview and will provide more visibility into customer data, including how often data is accessed. This will enable customers to manage data lifecycles based on access time. 

A new system metadata called last access time will enable software vendors to make data placement and retention decisions.

Azure Blob Storage also supports Network File Systems (NFS) 3.0, supporting read-heavy data workloads across media, energy and financial services. This upgrade is now in public preview.

“Customers must move data frequently and within various storage platforms. Often they are challenged by legacy and read-heavy apps running on NFS protocol. NFS on Blob Storage helps customers remove silos and run applications at scale,” says Microsoft.

Azure Data Factory Managed Virtual Network in public preview

A public preview of Azure Data Factory (ADF) Managed Virtual Network (VNet Support) can now secure connections between ADF and other platform-as-a-service data stores.

HashiCorp launches fully-managed services on Azure 

HashiCorp has also announced the general availability of fully-managed HashiCorp Consul Service (HCS) on Azure. 

HCS on Azure is a fully managed service that enables customers to natively provision HashiCorp-managed Consul clusters directly through their Azure dashboard in multiple Azure regions.

HCS on Azure provides a service-networking solution so customers can easily conduct service discovery, service segmentation and service mesh across a mix of virtual machines, hybrid, on-premises and Kubernetes environments. HashiCorp takes care of operational requirements.