July is here and we are halfway through the year. Am I the only one that feels like 2021 is zipping by? I have been working non-stop for the last 6 months preparing for and migrating legacy workloads from a data center to Microsoft Azure and I have barely had time to look up from my monitor. But that ends next week – I will be looking back on this series of articles and finding things that I need to start playing within the lab! And maybe I’ll try to get a gaming controller for my iPad.
While “Bicep” (the higher-level language alternative for ARM/JSON) has been getting all the publicity, the new ARM feature that I’ve been looking forward to is Template Specs.
One of the ambitions of templates is that you can create a “best practice” way of deploying something. This might be a template that deploys a simple workload or even just a single resource type (referred to as a module).
Wait – isn’t Blueprints for this? Blueprints have been in preview for … I’ve lost track of how many years it’s been. Blueprints are D-E-A-D. OK, the official line is that Blueprints are still supported, etc, but they are D-E-A-D.
So, I have this great module and I want to share it. How do I do that? Some of us create libraries that we share it using DevOps or GitHub (probably a better choice, technically, thanks to raw file sharing). But what if my devs/ops want to use the Azure Portal? You are out of luck! There was a template sharing system there, but that has been in Preview since an arc sailed two kangaroos to Australia.
With Template Specs you can bring your code-managed templates into the Azure Portal and share them with your colleagues/customers. Now, everyone can work off of the same standard deployment. And Template Specs are generally available now.
Microsoft made two announcements about performance bursting for disks last month:
Imagine you have virtual machines using disks. Each disk (and virtual machine SKU/size) has limited performance constraints. For example:
Disk performance requirements can sometimes be “bursty”. Maybe a batch job kicks in once a week/month and hammers an application or database virtual machine. Or maybe Citrix Cloud creates/starts a bunch of new virtual machines for your machine catalog on a Monday morning and you want to minimize latency from create-to-login. Some of us have been in situations where you have over-provisioned disk capacity to get more IOPS:
What if we just need that capacity for the burst scenarios? The good news is that Microsoft has added that capability to Standard SSD and Premium SSD in two forms:
Keep in mind that a virtual machine also has a limit on how many IOPS it will handle! Today, only the following series support machine-level bursting:
As a father to young twins, I have approximately zero time (or less) for my Xbox. My favorite games are the Rockstar games like GTA or Red Dead Redemption series. Once upon a time, I might find myself alone in the house with no jobs to do and I would power up and drop out, running rampant around a mythical wild west or fictionalized version of Los Angeles.
Like many who attended Microsoft Ignite Online last year, I had a surprise in my inbox soon afterward. I was granted an allowance (to spend my own money) in the Microsoft employee online store. As a Microsoft Valuable Professional, I knew this would be of awesome value – Microsoft employees can buy Microsoft products at “cost price”. For example, I have years of activated credit for Office 365 Home for less than the cost of 1 year. I didn’t need any Microsoft software so I purchase 1 year of Xbox Gamepass Ultimate. I have gotten some games on the Xbox and even thrown a few touchdowns or cruised around Gotham. I even tried Flight Simulator on my under-powered Intel NUC PC. But last Sunday, I was in for a shock.
I was awake early and started reading the news in bed. I read that “X-Cloud” was GA. Oh wow! My Gamepass Ultimate gives me rights to that. A couple of minutes later, GTA V was running on my iPhone – not exactly a great gaming experience, especially considering that I didn’t have a controller.
That got me thinking about the loops and roundabouts in life. I once lived my life in the Hyper-V world. I was a Hyper-V MVP, writing books about Hyper-V, blogging about Hyper-V, presenting about Hyper-V, and I had some connections to the team and related teams in Redmond. I saw some of those folks move to Xbox. Later we learned that Xbox One uses Hyper-V to run gaming and UI partitions – Windows-supremo Dave Cutler was a part of the engineering of that.
Windows Server 2008 R2 added RemoteFX, an acquired technology to accelerate graphics. I was convinced that this could be used for gaming in the future – why manufacture consoles and limit your market to those customers if you could reach all TVs (with a client)? The downside was that this would require a global network of data centers close to the customer. Hmm!
And then I notice a few people leaving Xbox and going to Azure and vice versa! Hmm – interesting! What we know now is that:
It’s kind of cool to see the threads of the past intertwine to create the future.