Azure World Newsletter – Issue 1.14

It’s nearing the end of “summer” in the Northern Hemisphere! I can’t believe that we’re at the end of August already. I’m sure those below the equator are cheering the hotter weather, but I am not looking forward to the cold.

Anyways, let’s not think about that. What’s been going on with Azure these last two weeks?


Chalk up another win for Team Redmond. DreamWorks, the film studio behind such movies as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, are moving their animation film production to Azure. That will include live-action mixed with animation.

Article: Universal Adopts Microsoft Azure for Animation, Live-Action Production

I sometimes use the example of “animated film rendering” when describing the use case for Azure Batch. I have no idea if Azure Batch will be involved in this new film production platform, but I finally have a real example of an animation company using Azure.


I have a preoccupation with cloud-based supercomputers, and so I was excited to read that Azure is releasing a new ND A100 v4 VM series, in which each instance contains eight NVIDIA Ampere A100 Tensor Core GPUs.

Each of those GPUs has 54 billion (billion, with a B) transistors, 3456 FP64 cores, 6912 FP32 cores, and 432 Tensor cores. It rings in at 16.5 teraflops of peak processing speed. NVIDIA claims it’s the biggest chip NVIDIA has ever made. And there are eight of them in one VM.

And this system has been designed to be clustered so you can potentially get thousands of those powerful GPUs working together.

This series promises a speed-increase of 2X to 3X over the previous NVIDIA VMs with no re-coding required.

If you have a GPU workload and would love to see a 2X or 3X speed boost, here we go. 

I have no idea if this is suitable for Bitcoin mining. Let me know if you try it.

Article: Bringing AI supercomputing to customers | Azure Blog and Updates


Some updates to Azure over the past two weeks:

  • Encryption of backup data using customer-managed keys (in preview)
  • VM backup now supports VM scale sets
  • Node-level upgrades for AKS, instead of updating the full cluster
  • Soft Delete for Storage Blob Containers (in preview)
  • Cosmos DB Serverless offer (in preview)
  • Expansion of Azure Ultra Disk to more regions
  • Azure Advisor adds more cost optimizations
  • Azure Migrate now assesses physical servers as well as AWS and GCP VMs

Be sure and check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.


I’ve finished another course for LinkedIn Learning. AZ-303 and AZ-304 exam tips courses coming out once their production team is ready to launch those courses.

I’ve been recording a lot for the AZ-300 (now AZ-303) course on Udemy. I now have 4 hours of AZ-303 content in there, and I intend to record more every day until it’s done. Aiming for Aug 31. 

Then on to AZ-304 updates.

Azure has updated the AZ-900 course as of Sept 15, 2020 and I’ve already updated my Udemy course with new videos on that. Probably the first course anywhere to be updated for all the new topics.

Thank you for reading this. I really do appreciate that you take the time every two weeks.


And that’s it for issue 1.14. Thanks for reading this far.

What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.

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See you in two weeks!