Azure World Newsletter – Issue 3.02

February 9, 2021

Welcome to the second edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2022.

I hope everything is well with you. I very much appreciate that you read these emails from me, and I just want to say “Thank You”.

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ONE.

When I was a teenager, I was fascinated with supercomputers like the Cray-1. I think at one point I had a poster of a Cray in my bedroom. True geek credentials +1. (There was a poster of a Lamborghini Countach next to that, so it’s not like I had a bedroom wall full of computer posters.)

We don’t hear a lot about supercomputers these days (although you can get access to a Cray using your Azure account if you need one). But we do hear about quantum computers.

If you’re not familiar, the great power of a quantum computer is that can (potentially) solve traditional computing problems in a fraction of the time that a powerful computer can today. I say “potentially” because we’re still at the experimental phase of this technology. If it can be proven reliable, and the potential is realized, it would have major implications for many fields including finance and cryptography.

Azure actually provides quantum computing from four different vendors. And they are offering up to $500 credits from each of them to anyone who wants to try it.

I believe quantum computers have their own programming language, so it’s not like you can just run your existing Web App on that hardware. So there’s a technical challenge to do that.

There do not seem to be any prerequisites for getting the credits. So if you’ve always wanted to try programming for a quantum computer, now’s your chance.


TWO.

Over the last year, Microsoft has been working hard to improve the experience for customers running SQL Server in a Virtual Machine.

In my Azure courses, I used to be able to say “if you choose to run SQL Server in a VM, that’s IaaS. You’re completely on your own. You are responsible for patching the software and the OS. You are responsible for backups. All of the work you did for SQL Server on-premises has to also be done in the cloud because you’re running SQL Server inside a VM.”

But that’s not true anymore.

Over the last year or two, you can now do some management of SQL Server in a VM from the Azure Portal. There is actually an Agent that runs in the virtual machine that allows the Azure Portal to interact with the SQL Server instance.

In the Azure Portal, now you can schedule Automated Patching. Important or Critical SQL Server updates can be installed automatically during a predefined maintenance window.

You can also schedule Automated Backups from the Portal. These are database-level backups that take into account things such as always-on availability groups. It also supports point-in-time recovery. Backups for SQL Server in a VM now have features that used to be reserved for Azure SQL Database.

In the past week, Azure has released an update that allows you to manage the tempdb storage settings from the Portal.

Pulling some of these management settings from SQL Server into the Portal makes it easier to manage these databases at scale, and improves the experience for database administrators. While still keeping the compatibility of running SQL Server in a virtual machine instead of the platform option.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-sql/virtual-machines/windows/sql-server-on-azure-vm-iaas-what-is-overview


AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.

Now that we are into February, it seems that Azure engineers are back from their winter breaks and releasing new features again. 🙂

The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:

  • Azure Site Recovery (ASR) now supports Zone-Redundant Storage disks
  • Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server is now available in China
  • Azure Cost Management has a new tabbed experience in preview mode
  • Azure Key Vault service throughput limits have been increased for each vault
  • Azure Maps now has historical weather, air quality and tropical storm data
  • Azure PostgreSQL can now keep backups up to 10 years
  • Azure Monitory supports testing of action groups
  • Azure Container Apps can be deployed to virtual networks, in preview mode
  • Azure Functions now supports PowerShell on Linux
  • Azure Cache for Redis active geo-replication in enterprise tiers
  • New SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines setup-like experience when deploying from the Marketplace
  • Automated backup enhancements for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
  • Enhanced storage configuration with tempdb for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines

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

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/


COMING UP FOR ME.

Not much to talk about at the current time. I’m currently getting settled in Portugal, and am getting in touch with the local Azure and Microsoft MVP communities. I’m starting a couple of interesting projects, but that will take some time to develop into something worth talking about.


WHERE TO FIND ME.

And that’s it for issue 3.02. Thanks for reading this far.

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

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