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Microsoft Announces Major Azure Stack Expansion, More Azure Milestones

Microsoft is planning to expand the availability of Azure Stack to 92 countries, doubling the number from the product's initial launch back at last year's Microsoft Ignite event.

Azure Stack is Microsoft's "extension of Azure" for organizations. It can be accessed as a service, deployed by organizations as a hardware appliance in their own datacenters, or used in so-called "hybrid" (cloud plus premises) deployments. Azure Stack appliances are currently built by Dell EMC, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Lenovo and Terra. Avanade offers Azure Stack as a managed service.

Microsoft revealed its Azure Stack expansion plans last week, along with other milestones for Azure, its cloud-based platform for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.

Disaster recovery for Azure IaaS virtual machines (VMs) reached "general availability" status, meaning the capability is deemed ready for commercial use by organizations. "With the general availability of this new service, you can configure disaster recovery within minutes, not days or weeks, with a built-in disaster recovery as a service that is unique to Azure," explained Corey Sanders, corporate vice president of Azure.

Azure Backup for SQL VMs in Azure is now available in preview. The Azure Backup service is currently used for backing up Azure virtual machines (VMs), but now Microsoft is previewing the ability to back up "a SQL instance running on a VM," Sanders explained. With this preview, it's possible to "perform SQL log backups with 15-minute intervals on SQL Servers and SQL Always On Availability Groups," he claimed.

Microsoft now has a Run Command capability. It permits IT pros to "run scripts on an Azure VM directly from the Azure Portal without having to connect to the machine," Sanders noted. It can be used to troubleshoot a VM that has lost its network connection, he added. Microsoft has a Run Command for running PowerShell scripts in Windows VMs and a Run Command for running Bash scripts on Linux VMs. In addition to using the Azure Portal, the Run Command capability can be accessed using REST APIs, the Azure Command Line Interface or PowerShell.

Lastly, Sanders noted that Microsoft now has M-Series VM sizes with the largest memory option of "up to 12TB on a single VM." It can be used to boost the performance of SAP HANA enterprise resource planning solutions on Azure, he explained. It's one of the many partner expansions with SAP that Microsoft announced earlier this month.

About the Author

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

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