Microsoft Enables Nested Virtualization on Select Azure Virtual Machines

Microsoft offers its customers more testing environment flexibility by enabling a feature that allows virtual machines to run within other virtual machines.

Microsoft Azure

Nested virtualization is now a valid deployment option on Microsoft's new Dv3 and Ev3 series Azure virtual machines (VMs).

Dv3 and Ev3 series VMs use the Hyper-Threading technology found in Intel's Haswell and Broadwell chip architectures, allowing Microsoft to wring more processing power out of the underlying hardware and support larger VM sizes, according to the company. Currently available in a handful of Azure regions in the U.S., Western Europe and Asia Pacific, the new Dv3 and Ev3 can support up to 64 virtual cores and 431 virtual cores, respectively.

That added headroom provides ample power for nested virtualization, or the ability to run a VM within another VM.

What are the benefits of nested virtualization? "Such nested environment provides great flexibility in supporting your needs in various areas such as development, testing, customer training, demo, etc.," explained Microsoft senior manager Joy Fan, in a blog post. "For example, suppose you have a testing team using Hyper-V hosts on-prem today. They can now easily move their workloads to Azure by using nested VMs as virtualized test machines."

Similarly, developers can use nested VMs to run test code on a current VM that already supports multiple users without affecting their application experience. Essentially, nested virtualization offers customers more options in terms of organizing, managing and fine-tuning their cloud application environments.

A diagram on how nested virtualization works along with a video walkthrough is available here.

Elsewhere in the Microsoft cloud ecosystem, the company announced that Stream Analytics is now available in three additional Azure cloud data center regions (UK West, Canada Central and Canada East), for a total of 26 regions. Azure Stream Analytics allows users to perform real-time analytics on data generated by Internet of Things (IoT) devices using an SQL-like language.

Customers of Microsoft's Azure SQL cloud database offering are being treated to a new feature that can save time and take some of the risk out of rebuilding an index. A public preview of Resumable Online Index Rebuild is now available, and as its name suggests, it enables users to pause index rebuilds without having to start from the beginning when they wish to resume.

In a June 17 announcement, Mirek Sztajno, senior program manager of SQL Server Security at Microsoft, explained that the feature can save customers a significant amount of time if they are rebuilding indexes involving large tables or if they encounter a rebuild failure due to a database failover or simply running out of disk space. The feature can also be used to free up resources if a high-priority task comes up or if database administrators wish to spread a rebuilds of large indexes across multiple maintenance windows.

Also available is a preview of a feature that enables users to create global temporary tables for a specific database and the user sessions connected to it. More information on the Database Scoped Global Temporary Tables feature is available here.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...