Microsoft Azure VMs Aimed at Bigger Enterprise Cloud Workloads

By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2015-09-02 Print this article Print
Microsoft Azure VMs

Following January's launch of the G-Series high-performance virtual machines for Azure, Microsoft is eyeing even bigger enterprise cloud workloads.

Microsoft is making more room on its cloud for big enterprise application workloads.

In January, the company announced the general availability of high-performance G-Series virtual machines (VMs) for Azure that offered up to 32 virtual CPUs powered by cutting-edge Intel Xeon server processors, 6TB of storage capacity provided by solid-state drives (SSDs) and 448GB of memory. According to Microsoft, enterprise adoption is brisk, with a 50 percent increase in use over the past three months.

Now, the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant and cloud provider is aiming even higher.

"Today, we're excited to announce a variant of G-series, the GS-series, which combines the compute power of G-series with the performance of Premium Storage to create powerful VMs for your most storage- and compute-intensive applications," wrote Corey Sanders, partner director of program management at Microsoft Azure, in a Sept. 2 announcement. Still powered by Intel Xeon E5 v3 processors, the new Azure VMs bring Premium Storage support into the mix.

GS-series VMs, which are compatible with both Windows and Linux, "can have up to 64TB of storage, provide 80,000 IOPS (storage I/Os per second) and deliver 2,000 [megabytes per second] of storage throughput," Sanders said. Microsoft claims that compared to rivals, the new VMs offer more than double the disk throughput and network bandwidth (20G bps).

The new offering is aimed at large database-driven workloads, Sanders noted. "Relational databases like SQL Server and mySQL, noSQL databases like MongoDB and data warehouses can all have significant performance gains when run on GS-series," he said.

Businesses seeking to grow or enhance the performance of their existing applications can use the VMs to trade up. "You can also use GS-series to significantly scale up the performance of enterprise applications, such as Exchange and Dynamics," Sanders added.

GS-series VMs are available in five sizes. The starter size (Standard_GS1) provides two virtual CPUs, 26GB of memory, a storage performance rating of 5,000 IOPS and a maximum disk bandwidth of 125MB per second. The top-tier Standard_GS5 supports up to 32 virtual CPUs and 448GB of memory, providing the performance Sanders used to illustrate the technology's cloud-processing potential.

For businesses that don't require quite as much cloud computing horsepower, Microsoft also announced looming price cuts for its D-Series and DS-Series VMs.

"We're continuously striving to make these more accessible at lower price points, and are pleased to announce today that we're reducing the prices on D-series and DS-series instances by as much as 27 percent," Sanders said. The new pricing goes into effect on Oct. 1.

Azure VM customers are also getting a new diagnostic tool to aid those suffering from boot or runtime failures. The tool displays the serial and console output of running VMs.


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