Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.4

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021. Thanks so much for subscribing.

Microsoft Ignite was last week, and I caught several of the sessions over the two days. In the certification space, there were not too many exam-update announcements. I was glad about that. I was sure they’d introduce more changes, but I am not complaining.

Microsoft summarizes all of their announcements from Ignite into a website called “The Book of News”. You can read about every announcement and product update that they made last week here.

If you registered for the Cloud Skills Challenge, don’t forget that you still have some time (until the end of March) to finish that and earn a free exam voucher.

Now on to the newsletter! As always, if you don’t want to receive this anymore, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom. No worries!


The top story has to be Ignite. I linked to the Book of News above. It’s well worth a read if you want to see all of the announcements in one place.

Microsoft is getting better at online events, I think. The event went off without a hitch, from my perspective at least. I was able to view all of the sessions that I wanted to. Never saw an issue with lag or tech issues. It all just worked.

That must be difficult. So kudos to the team (must be a lot of people) who pulled that off.

I wonder when Ignite will be in person again. And if so, if it will be scaled down with many more sessions online. Microsoft can now do a worldwide event with over 100,000 attendees with no issues. Sure, they don’t charge $2,500 for tickets, but there are also no logistics to deal with in terms of busses, lunches, and t-shirt sizes.

One of the most talked-about announcements was the demonstration of the Microsoft Mesh – their Mixed Reality experience. This is their Hololens and augmented reality experience. Microsoft is pushing the technology forward with “Object Anchors”, eliminating the need for a physical printed marker having to be in place for an AR to render something in its place.

Azure Arc was also expanding. It was one of the big announcements from the last Ignite, and Microsoft announced some additional capability there.


Time to say goodbye to more Azure services.

In the last 2 weeks, Microsoft has announced that almost two dozen Azure Services are being retired in 2022 and 2024. Instead of listing them all at the bottom, I figure I’d bring them to your attention here. If you rely on any of these services, you had better start thinking about the effort required to migrate them to their replacements.

Services/features retiring this year:

  • “Community support” for Azure Python 3.6 on December 23, 2021
  • “Community support” for Azure Database PostgreSQL version 9.6 ends November 11, 2021
  • More info

Services/features retiring in 2022:

  • GS5 losing SAP HANA certification as of February 2022
  • G5, GS5, E64i_v2, and E64is_v3 no longer hardware isolated as of February 2022
  • More info

Services/features retiring in 2024:

  • Network Performance Monitor retiring February 2024
  • Network Watcher Connection Monitor (classic) retiring February 2024
  • Jenkins Plugins for Azure retiring February 2024
  • AKS legacy Azure AD Integration retiring February 2024
  • Classic Application Insights retiring February 2024
  • AzureRM Powershell retiring February 2024
  • Azure Application Gateway Analytics retiring February 2024
  • Azure AD Connect Sync (older versions) retiring February 2024
  • Azure Cognitive Services Text Analytics v2 retiring February 2024
  • Standard Version of Custom Voice retiring February 2024
  • Marketplace VM Images that contain Azure Batch rendering applications retiring February 2024
  • Azure Stack Edge Pro FPGA retiring February 2024
  • Classic alerts in Azure Monitor (China, Government) retiring February 2024
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen1 retiring February 2024
  • Classic Azure Migrate retiring February 2024
  • More info

Those are just the ones announced in the last 2 weeks. Of course, there are more services being retired this year and next which were previously announced.

For me, what’s interesting here is the end of AzureRM Powershell. I can’t imagine how many people have dozens or hundreds of scripts that still rely on that old module. You have a couple of years to plan the migration of that.

A lot of the old monitoring tools are finally retiring. They have been running alongside the new tools in the Portal for a while. But there’s now an end date on those. Network Performance Monitor and the Classic Alerts stand out as two interesting ones. And Classic Application Insights too.

And it seems some of the SAP HANA hardware is being decertified by HANA and you’ll have to move those apps to more modern servers in the next few months.


If you remember, the US Department of Defence awarded Microsoft the JEDI contract in 2019. This contract was supposed to modernize the US military and was one of the largest single contracts ever awarded, worth about $10 billion over 10 years if all the options were taken.

The big controversy was that it’s “single source”, which means that a single vendor was chosen instead of multiple winners each getting a piece.

Amazon AWS has been protesting it voraciously, and their latest court challenge seems to have pushed the government to the edge of its patience.

The government is threatening to cancel the contract because fighting Amazon in court would take several years to defend if it’s allowed to continue. A contract that is meant to modernize the military is now delayed by over a year with no end in sight.

Would be a shame if this ended like this. Not because I think Microsoft Azure is better than Amazon AWS in any regard, but because using the court system to tie up a decision for years is poor sportsmanship when you lose a fair contest.


There were SO MANY announcements made in the past couple of weeks. After having a short period where there were less than a dozen, we now have several pages of announcements to choose from.

I tried to choose a few that felt significant, where it would affect many people who read this. Here are a bunch that caught my eye from the last couple of weeks.

  • MFA (email one-time passcode) will be on by default for Azure Active Directory B2B guest users starting October 2021
  • New datacenter region in Indonesia in development
  • New datacenter region in China (China North 3) in development
  • Azure Backup for Azure Blobs is now in public preview
  • Azure Backup for SAP HANA now supports incremental backup
  • Azure Private Marketplace now generally available
  • Backup Reports is now generally available
  • Azure Monitor Alerts for Azure Backup is in public preview
  • Azure Load Balancer can now handle IP addresses in the backend pool
  • Advance notice of planned maintenance events for Azure SQL Database is now in public preview
  • Azure Spring Cloud: General availability of Managed Virtual Network and Autoscale
  • Backup Center is now generally available
  • Just-In-Time Access support in AKS
  • Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes is now generally available
  • Azure Backup now supports archive tier for backup of VMs and SQL Server in a VM, in preview
  • Windows Server 2022 is now available in preview
  • Automatic key rotation for customer-managed keys for disk encryption, in preview
  • Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) for Azure managed disks in preview
  • Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra, in preview
  • Azure Arc enabled machine learning, in preview
  • Azure Percept in public preview
  • Azure trusted launch for Virtual Machines, in public preview
  • Automatic VM guest patching is now in public preview for Linux VMs

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


Lots of things have happened recently. If you’re a student in one or more of my courses, you might be interested in this:

  • My next course, on DP-100, has been recorded and is going through video editing right now. The launch date for that course is tentatively March 30.


And that’s it for issue 2.4. Thanks for reading this far.

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

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