Microsoft Azure’s first Arm-based VMs become generally available

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Microsoft Corp. announced that Arm-based virtual machines are now ready for prime time on the Azure cloud platform, following a preview launched in April.

The company explained that Arm VMs, which are essentially software computers, will be generally available on September 1 in ten of its global Azure regions. They include five in the United States, two in Europe, two in Asia and one in Australia. Additionally, he announced that customers will now have the ability to use Arm-based instances in Kubernetes clusters through the Azure Kubernetes service. This feature will be previewed in the coming weeks in the same Azure regions.

During their preview launch in April, Microsoft explained that the D-series and E-series virtual machines are powered by Ampere Computing LLC’s Arm-based Altra server chips, which are designed for scalable and native applications of the cloud. At the time, Microsoft said the virtual machines would offer up to 50% better value for money than comparable instances powered by x860 chips.

Arm-based processors such as Ampere’s Altra chips and Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Graviton silicon are increasingly popular in the cloud server market as enterprises seek better performance and power consumption. reduced energy. This is a concern for companies such as Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which sell x86 chips that do most of today’s cloud data processing work. For now, Arm-based chips only represent a minority of cloud-based server workloads, but they are said to be slowly gaining popularity.

Microsoft Vice President of Azure Compute Platform Paul Nash said in a blog post that customers seek to “maximize operational efficiency and take a holistic approach across their application portfolios”. During the preview, hundreds of customers evaluated Arm-based hardware for various workloads, Nash said, including web and application servers, open source databases, Java and .NET applications. , microservices, games and media servers.

Microsoft added that while the preview was live, it also worked closely with open-source software vendors to ensure Arm virtual machines support a number of Linux distributions. These include Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Debian. Support for Alma Linux and Rocky Linux is also on the way, Microsoft said.

Microsoft said the D-series virtual machines are general-purpose, while the E-series are memory-optimized. For example, Dpsv5-series virtual machines can support up to 64 virtual CPUs with up to 208 gigabytes of memory each. Meanwhile, the Epsv5 series can only support up to 32 vCPUs, but with a maximum of 208 GB of memory per vCPU. Virtual machines will come with up to 40 gigabytes per second of network bandwidth, and customers can choose from standard solid-state storage or HDD storage, Premium SSDs, and Ultra disk storage options. .

Photo: Microsoft

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