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Microsoft Unveils F-Series Azure Virtual Machines

Microsoft recently took the wraps off its new Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) F-Series, aimed at organizations running "gaming servers, Web servers and batch processing."

The new F-Series has the same CPU performance as Microsoft's Dv2-Series of VMs, but at "a lower per-hour price," according to Microsoft's announcement.

The F-Series and the Dv2-Series both use 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2673 version 3 Haswell processors. Organizations might select the F-Series, though, if they "do not need as much memory or local SSD [solid-state disk] per CPU core" as provided by the Dv2-Series, Microsoft said.

The F-Series come as Standard offerings, but there's also Premium storage-optimized product. Both are named based on the number of processor core sizes, ranging from 1 core to 16 cores. For instance, the "Standard_F1" option has one core, while the "Standard_F16" offering has 16 cores.

Microsoft adds the letter "s" to the series name to distinguish its Premium options. For example, its top-of-the-line "Standard_F16s" option has 16 cores, 32GB of memory, 64GB of temporary SSD space, 192GB of premium storage cache and bandwidth ranging from moderate to very high.

This new naming convention (with core number designation and "s" for storage) is Microsoft's new model for its future Azure VM product offerings. Older Azure VM product names won't change, though.

The Premium F-Series is broadly available across Microsoft's Azure datacenters worldwide. The Standard option is just available today in the following regions: North Central U.S., East Asia, Japan East, Australia East and Australia Southeast.

Microsoft bills for its Azure VMs on a per-minute basis. Organizations can select from Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Windows, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint and Oracle options.

Microsoft's Azure VM series offerings include "A, D, DS, F, Fs, G, and GS" VM sizes, which are described at this page. In a nutshell, the A8-A11 VMs are for "compute-intensive instances," such as high-performance computing. Enterprise-grade applications may need the "Dv2-Series, D-Series, G-Series, and the DS/GS counterparts." As noted, the F-Series is much like the Dv2-Series except it's for organizations with fewer memory and local SSD demands to address.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.