Azure: Product Updates & Announcements

Azure: Product Updates & Announcements

In this blog, you’ll find important Azure product updates and announcements!

Azure Batch: Public preview of low-priority virtual machines, a limited preview of large-scale rendering.

Azure Batch delivers cloud-scale job scheduling and computer management for batch and HPC applications, enabling you to scale to thousands of virtual machines. Customers can use either Linux or Windows and autoscale based on workload, while only paying for what they use. 

New updates include:

  • Reduce costs with low-priority virtual machines
    You can significantly reduce the costs of running certain workloads or run bigger workloads at a greater scale—for the same cost—with low-priority virtual machines. Now in public preview for Batch, low-priority virtual machines are available at a large discount compared to regular on-demand virtual machines.
  • Enable large-scale rendering with Autodesk and Azure
    You can run rendering jobs in the cloud using Batch and avoid the complexities of managing resources while reducing the time needed to complete those jobs. Whether your customer is an individual or a studio, they can rely on Batch rendering for:
      Photorealistic rendering
      Fast rigging
      Excellent simulation and game creation

Batch gives your customers the resources to render animation in a realistic time frame to meet project deadlines.

In collaboration with Autodesk, Azure Batch Rendering is in private preview. As part of this offering, we’re working with Autodesk to enable customers to run Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max applications, and Autodesk’s Arnold renderer in Azure with a pay-per-use model. This collaboration lets artists, engineers, and designers submit rendering jobs seamlessly via their client applications or the SDKs and get results quickly. 

Power BI Embedded migration to Power BI service

Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools via the desktop, web client, and mobile apps to analyze data and share insights. You can unify all their organization’s data, whether in the cloud or on-premises. You can connect Microsoft SQL Server databases, Analysis Services models, and other third-party data sources to visualize their data into impactful dashboards, updated in real-time, and available on all devices.

Power BI Embedded, delivered as an Azure service, enables partners and app developers to surface Power BI data experiences within their applications. As of July 1, 2017, the Power BI Embedded Azure service is converging with the core Power BI service and it will be part of a new capacity-based licensing model called “Power BI Premium”. This change will enable one API surface, access to the latest Power BI features in embedding scenarios, and enhanced scale and performance. The current Power BI Embedded Azure service will continue to be available for one year until July 2018 following general availability of the converged offering, under Power BI Premium.

Guidance and recommendations:

  • Customers under an Enterprise Agreement will have access to their current Power BI offering through the expiration of their existing agreements. 

Azure VPN Gateway: Introducing the next generation of VPN gateways

Azure VPN Gateway allows you to connect your on-premises networks and individual client computers securely to Azure, over industry-standard connections such as IPSEC and SSTP. With flexible deployment choices and no region constraints, VPN Gateway gives your customers high availability and secure connections from anywhere, anytime.

Industry-standard Site-to-Site (S2S) IPsec VPNs
Point-to-Site (P2S) VPN access from anywhere
Up to 99.95 percent or higher uptime service-level agreement (SLA) for VPN gateways
Highly available and easy to manage
Secure connections from anywhere


Recently, Azure introduced 3 new VPN gateways to the Azure VPN Gateway service (VpnGw1, VpnGw2, and VpnGw3), with significant increases to both bandwidth and service-level agreement (SLA).

Guidance and recommendations:

  • Of the existing tiers, the Basic tier will not change. The Standard and High-Performance tiers are being replaced with VpnGw1, VpnGw2, and VpnGw3.
  • Currently deployed VPN gateways will not be changed automatically to the new tiers and will retain current performance and pricing. However, we recommend that  customers consider migrating their existing gateways to one of the new tiers. The new gateways could provide them with up to six times more performance for the same price. 
  • After September 15, 2017, Azure will retire the ability to create new Standard and High-Performance VPN Gateways.

Azure Virtual Machines: N-Series instances for visualization now available in Japan East

The N-Series is a family of Azure Virtual Machines with GPU capabilities. GPUs are ideal for compute and graphics-intensive workloads, helping customers to fuel innovation through scenarios like high-end remote visualization, deep learning, and predictive analytics. Azure N-Series instances are powered by NVIDIA graphics processing units and are highly optimized for accelerated compute jobs running CUDA, AI training jobs, and remote visualization. These powerful sizes come with the agility your customers have come to expect from Azure, paying per minute of usage.

Azure Virtual Machines N-Series instances for visualization (NV-Series), currently available in the East US, South Central US, North Central US, and West US 2 regions, are also now available in the Japan East region. 

We hope you found the information in this blog helpful.


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