Microsoft Adds Ampere ARM CPU Support to Azure Virtual Machines

Cloud Computing

Microsoft has released a preview version of Arm support on Azure virtual machines (VMs). The company claims that its new Arm-powered Azure VMs should offer up to 50 percent better price-performance compared to similar instances with x86-based processors.

“The new Azure Virtual Machines, featuring the Ampere Altra Arm-based processor, further extend our portfolio of compute solutions to help customers manage complexity and seamlessly run modern, dynamic, and scalable applications. Azure customers will benefit from the improvements the new VMs provide in terms of scalability, performance, and operational efficiency,” explained Paul Nash Head of Product, Azure Compute Platform.

The company highlighted that its new Epsv5 VM-series is built to cater to the demands of “memory-intensive Linux workloads” such as open-source databases, data analytics, and more. Moreover, the Dpsv5 series is specifically designed to run various Linux enterprise workloads, including open-source databases, .NET/Java applications, as well as web/application servers.

Microsoft Adds Ampere ARM CPU Support to Azure Virtual Machines

According to Microsoft, the latest Dpsv5 and Epsv5 virtual machines can be configured with up to 64 virtual CPUs. Furthermore, users can opt for VM sizes with 2GiB, 4GiB, and 8GiB per vCPU memory configurations. The Azure VMs also provide support for optional high-performance local SSD storage and up to 40 Gbps networking.

The new Azure VMs support a wide range of operating systems

It is important to note that the latest virtual machines currently support several operating systems. The list includes Canonical Ubuntu Linux, CentOS, and Windows 11 Professional and Enterprise Edition on Arm. Going forward, the company is also planning to add support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, AlmaLinux, Flatcar, and Debian.

As for developers, Microsoft noted that the modern .NET platform (.NET5 & .NET6) provides native support for the Arm architecture. “With Microsoft’s recent JEP 388 contribution to OpenJDK, Java applications can now run on a wider range of Arm systems with no additional changes,” Nash added.

As of this writing, the preview version of ARM support on Azure VMs is only available in select Azure regions, including the West Central US, West US 2, and West Europe. To get started, Azure customers will need to sign up for the preview on this page.