January 11, 2023
Welcome to the first edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2023.
I hope you had a wonderful, restful holiday season. I did. Last year at this time, I was in the midst of moving from Canada to Portugal. Now it’s a year later, and I’m happy to have had a quiet holiday and am ready to tackle 2023!
Let’s see what has been happening in the world of Azure since we last looked.
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In my first newsletter of 2022, I was talking to you about Microsoft potentially developing its own chips the way Apple has been successfully doing.
Well, the first big news in 2023 is that Azure acquired a chip-maker named Fungible.
Fungible creates specialized chips called “Data Processing Units” or DPUs.
From the article: “A DPU is a dedicated piece of hardware designed to handle certain data processing tasks, including security and network routing for data traffic. The approach is intended to help reduce the load on CPUs and GPUs for core computing tasks related to a given workload.”
This appears to be a bit of a rescue for the company, as the rumored acquisition price is far less than the total amount of capital the company has raised from investors. This could be considered an “acqui-hire” although they seem excited about acquiring the technology, not just the people.
I’m not sure if Microsoft intends to use this technology for its own data centers or provide this type of thing as a cloud service to its customers. I can imagine a special set of VM instances that are collectively used as a cluster of servers that use a DPU to move data between them most effectively. We’ll see how this develops.
A couple of years ago, I recorded a video on my YouTube channel that showed how an Azure VM could be used to mine bitcoin. It wasn’t too difficult to set up with a GPU VM instance. Several services exist that allow you to sell your hashing power.
Of course, even at that time, I mentioned that it wasn’t going to be possible to make a profit doing this. Cloud services like Azure sell their computing power at a rate that might be considered cheap for customers who host computers themselves but is considered expensive for miners.
There was just no way for that to be a profitable thing. Except of course if you could get computing services for free somehow.
“Neither Customer, nor those that access an Online Service through Customer, may use an Online Service: to mine cryptocurrency without Microsoft’s prior written approval.”
We can only speculate as to the reasons for this ban. I think that one reason is what I stated above. Since it’s not easy or usual for this to be profitable, why would someone do it? They would do it if they were not paying for it. And this includes hacked customer accounts, stolen credit cards, and other methods for a crypto miner to avoid paying for the service.
It makes sense to ban it without permission in that context. It seems ripe for fraud against Microsoft or one of their customers.
AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.
Since the last newsletter was sent at the beginning of December, a lot has happened. Here’s a summary of the highlights.
The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:
- Kubernetes 1.25 support in AKS, now in GA
- Static Web Apps Diagnostics, now in GA
- Azure Functions support for Java 17, now in GA
- Durable Functions support for Java, now in GA
- Azure Functions support for Python 3.10, now in preview
- Azure Arc enabled Azure Container Apps, now in preview
- Azure Site Recovery Higher Churn Support, now in preview
- JSON support in Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise tiers, now in GA
- Materialized view for Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra, now in preview
- Updated API names for Azure Cosmos DB, now in GA
- Build a business case with Azure Migrate, now in preview
- Feature enhancements to Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF), now in GA
- Azure Dedicated Host – Restart, now in GA
- At-scale monitoring for Azure Site Recovery with Backup center
Check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.
COMING UP FOR ME.
Don’t have any big announcements to make at this time. I’ll keep you updated in this section in future newsletters.
WHERE TO FIND ME.
And that’s it for issue 4.01. Thanks for reading this far. Talk to you again in two weeks.
What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.
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