#Azure notable updates weeks 33-36/19

After a long vacation here we are trying to catch up what happened in Azure in the last month.

Az powershell module version 2.6 has been released. Nothing terrific in this release, bug fixing and updates to support the latest feature set in Azure (VM Host, archive storage rehidrate, …)

It’s now possible to configure the data retention on your Azure Monitor Application Insights resources from 30 days up to 730 days. Data retained has the same cost of Azure Monitor / Log Analytics ingested data. Speaking of AI we can now say that the APM module of SCOM can be completely replaced with Application Insights. In fact You can now use Application Insights without modifying or having access to the source code of .Net Web apps hosted on IIS. Status Monitor v2 allows to ingest data and builds on Status Monitor v1 making the process even easier.

Closing a significant gap just-in-time (JIT) VM access for Azure Firewall is now generally available. Also Security Center adds “single click remediations” in the recommendations list (the feature is in preview).

Azure Sentinel is a magmatic product at this stage, I’m following its development closely ’cause I think it is a promising SIEM even if far from being ready, just to keep you on track:

  • security cases have been more appropriately renamed in security incidents
  • new CEF parser adds Zscaler to the other data sources already present (generic CEF, CheckPOint, Cisco ASA, F5, Fortinet and Palo Alto newtorks)

Azure Policy releases in preview guest customer tailored configuration capabilities. Now you’re not limited to Microsoft pre defined settings, but you can define your owns. On the governance side Azure Blueprints add a new template for NIST SP 800-53 R4 controls.

Azure Backup adds a soft delete feature to protect you backup from accidental deletion. When you delete a protected VM the data is retained for an addition 14 days. The feature comes at no additional cost. The product group also announced the limited public preview for supporting disks up to 30TB in size.

Azure Site Recovery update rollup for August has been released. Notably it adds:

  • support for the latest release of Azure Disk Encryption support (Managed Disk, Windows) 
  • Support for attaching networking resources (updating NSG, LB, and Public IP) to failover VMs in Azure
  • protection for disks up to 8 TB using Site Recovery
  • Support for 20MBps data change rate (data churn) for P20/P30/P40 disks

Azure SQL Database adds a new option for managed instances: instance pools. Instance pools allows to pre-provision the compute requirements for your farm and then split the allocated space between different instances up to the pre-provisioned capacity. This is especially useful in migration projects when you don’t want to consolidate multiple SQL Servers. The service is currently in preview. Speaking of SQL offering, SQL data discovery and classification, which provides advanced capabilities built into Azure SQL Database for discovering, classifying, labeling, and protecting sensitive data, is now available. But it’s not over, Azure SQL Database serverless can now scale to 16 vcores (up from the previous 4 vcores). SQL Database serverless is still in preview.

Cross-region read replicas in Azure Database for PostgreSQL and MySQL are now GA. As a reminder this is an asynchronous replica service between one master and up to 5 read-only replicas. On a similar announcement Azure Database for MariaDB also supports read replicas, but in the same region this time.

Service Fabric Azure Files Volume Driver is now generally available. The Azure Files volume plugin is a Docker volume plugin that provides Azure Files based volumes for Docker containers. Also you can now use user and system defined Managed Entities in Service Fabric. There’s more, finally, Service Fabric resources deployment via ARM is GA. These new capabilities are included in Azure Service Fabric 6.5 second refresh release (now don’t ask me why a release must have such a name, mah…)

Two new regions have been opened in Switzerland (North and West), and still none in Italy… Also Azure comes closer to you with 31 new Azure edge sites and 14 new ExpressRoute connection points.

Azure Archive Storage lowers its prices and adds new features:

  1. Priority retrieval from Azure Archive
  2. Upload blob direct to access tier of choice
  3. CopyBlob API is now able to support the archive access tier

Azure Ultra Disks Storage is now GA. Their performance is currently unmatched by other cloud providers.

Azure Storage adds another option for redundancy “geo zone redundant storage”. It combines Zone redundant storage (with 3 synchronous replica in different zones of one region) and geo redundant storage (with 1 asynchronous replica to another region).

Azure App Service for Linux reduces price of 35% (on average) for the Premium plan. Also on the technical side App Services and Functions now support user assigned Managed Identities for all workloads (Linux included). On the serverless side Azure Functions Python support is now GA.

Microsoft aquires Movere stately to expand Azure Migrate capabilities.

Azure reservations are improving giving more flexibility and more opportunities to save money:

  • Azure Databricks pre-purchase plan
  • App Service Isolated Stamp Fee reservations
  • Ability to automatically renew reservations
  • Ability to scope reservations to resource group
  • Enhanced usage data to help with charge back, savings, and utilization
  • API to get prices and purchase reservations

Through the recently announced Android OEMConfig support, Intune adds Zebra devices configuration support.

Microsoft Cloud App Security now provides real-time session controls for cloud apps that support Azure AD Integration.

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