Azure World Newsletter – Issue 1.16

Ready? Set? Ignite!

The big news going on right now is that Microsoft Ignite 2020 kicked off on Tuesday this week. With travel being restricted and meeting in person not recommended, the event has been moved from New Orleans to online.

I’ve watched a few sessions today, and am looking through the vast catalog of sessions looking for interesting topics to spend time learning more about. 

I’m not going to try to list out all of the announcements that were made because there were so many. But here are a few that have caught my eye.


Every year, Microsoft pushes a “Ignite Book of News” that contains all of the announcements they have made during the multi-day event. 

Believe it or not, Microsoft is more than just “Azure”, and so if you’re into Dynamics, Teams, Power Platform, or any of the other areas, then there have been several announcements in each that you should check out.

Of course, there are plenty of Azure announcements in there as well. I’ll highlight the ones that caught my attention at the end of this newsletter. 

The Ignite 2020 Book of News can be found here:


Microsoft announced a new “region” to be located in Arizona – West US 3. I think they’ve run out of creative name ideas for the US regions. We have East US (1 and 2), North Central US, South Central US and West US (1, 2 and 3). 

What makes this new region special is that Microsoft is going to make it it’s more environmentally sustainable data center. For instance, they’re planning to reduce, reuse and replenish water in the region. The data centers won’t require water for cooling outside the hottest days of summer. They’re working on a solar plant in Arizona too.


I wholly recommend watching Mark Russinovich’s Inside the Azure Datacenter Architecture talk.

Mark leads us through “end-to-end” of the Azure Datacenter. Not only the physical layer, but some of the interesting things Azure is doing to improve performance at each layer between the physical layer and the layer we see.

He also gets a bit into “the future”, with a demo of holographic storage, and an interesting update on “DNA storage”.


There’s so much more I want to talk about. But I have to keep this brief. 

Have a look at the Ignite Book of News and Azure Updates for some of the following interesting updates that were announced this week:

  • Cosmos DB offering a serverless (consumption-based model) model (in preview)
  • Microsoft introduces “Bicep” as an abstraction built on-top of ARM templates, to make it easier to “build” ARM templates
  • Azure Blob Storage Lifecycle Management now supports “last access time” and not just create time
  • Canada and Australia data centers are getting Availability Zones
  • Azure Orbital is a new service for connecting to satellites 
  • Azure Resource Mover is a new service that helps move Azure resources between regions (in preview)
  • Zone to Zone disaster recovery (for Azure VMs) allows customers to replicate, failover and failback their business-critical virtual machines within the same region with zones
  • .NET 5 release candidate is now available
  • Azure App Service now available for reserved instances
  • Azure App Service has a new Premium V3 plan
  • Azure App Service now supports Windows containers
  • Azure will soon introduce a “Private Marketplace” that allows organizations to curate what services are available in the Marketplace for that organization
  • Backup Center is a new centralized place to manage backups across vaults, subscriptions, locations and even tenants
  • Azure Dedicated Host also supports Virtual Machine Scale Sets
  • Azure Hybrid Benefit now supports Red Hat and SUSE customers
  • A new Azure-supported Linux distribution, Flatcar Container Linux by Kinvolk
  • Azure Automanage helps admins to automate the management of Windows Server virtual machines (VMs)
  • Global Load Balancer feature for Azure Load Balancer (in preview)

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


The AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams have now come out of Beta and are now considered live. If you take those exams, you’ll get those scores immediately. If you took them in Beta, you’ll get the scores shortly.

A reminder that AZ-300 and AZ-301 retire next week (Sept 30), and AZ-303 and AZ-304 will be the only way to achieve Azure Architect Expert.

The AZ-304 course updates are coming along. Every day, a bit of progress is being made. That will continue into October.


And that’s it for issue 1.16. 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!