Microsoft Azure's B-Series virtual machines, a set of "burstable" cloud instances, have shed their preview status are now generally available, meaning the company's cloud customers can use the offerings for their production workloads.
First appearing as a beta release in September, B-Series instances are a money-saving alternative to overpaying for resources that are rarely used in order to safely accommodate workloads that may occasionally require a more compute power. According to Microsoft, most of the cloud application and database workloads hosted on Azure fall into that description.
Now, customers will have an opportunity to trim their cloud costs by moving those workloads to a lower performance tier that can still handle brief periods of intense demand.
"These are useful for workloads like web servers, small databases and development or test environments where CPU utilization is low most of the time but spikes for short durations. B-Series VMs [virtual machines] offer consistent baseline CPU performance and let you build up credits which can be used for peak CPU usage," blogged Corey Sanders, director of Compute at Microsoft Azure. "These sizes give you extreme cost flexibility and flexible value."
A total of six B-Series sizes are available, ranging from a single virtual CPU option with 1GB of memory and 4GB of SSD storage to an instance with eight virtual CPUs, 32GB of memory and 64GB of SSD storage.
Currently, B-Series virtual machines are available in several, but not all, Microsoft Azure regions. A list of available regions, which includes much of the U.S. and Canada, is available in this blog post.
For businesses that can use all the cloud-computing power they can get, Microsoft also announced the general availability of its new M-Series instances, the largest virtual machines available on Azure capable of accommodating SAP HANA Large Instances with up to 20TB of memory.
Designed for large, in-memory solutions such as SQL Hekaton based on Microsoft SQL Server and of course SAP HANA, along with other resource-intensive workloads, M-Series virtual machines are powered by Xeon E7-8890 v3 server processors from Intel and offer a terabyte of memory, or more.
Four options are available. Smallest (M64s) provides access to up 64 virtual CPUs, 1,024GB of memory, 2,048GB of SSD storage and up to 32 data disks. The largest M-Series virtual machines (M128ms) weigh in at 128 virtual CPUs, 3,800GB of memory, 4,096GB of SSD storage and up to 64 data disks.
Finally, AMD's efforts to attract cloud data center customers appears to be paying off.
Microsoft announced a preview release of its updated "storage-optimized" L-Series instances, this time based on AMD's Epyc processors. Azure L-Series virtual machines originally launched in March used Intel Xeon E5 v3 processors.
Using AMD Epyc 7551 chips, the new instances run at 2.2GHz but can reach speeds of 3.0GHz in turbo mode. "The Lv2-Series is designed to support customers with demanding workloads like MongoDB, Cassandra, and Cloudera that are storage intensive and demand high levels of I/O," said Sanders in a separate announcement.