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Official: Arm-based VMs available on Microsoft Azure

Going live in 10 regions, running Ampere Altra silicon

Microsoft has opened up Arm-based virtual machines for general availability on its Azure cloud platform, after previewing the technology earlier this year.

The Redmond outfit said that Arm-based virtual machines will be generally available from September 1, initially in 10 Azure regions around the world. Also in preview will be the ability to include Arm-based instances in Kubernetes clusters managed using the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and this will be available over the coming weeks in the same regions.

Microsoft announced its preview of Arm support on Azure in April, stating that the D-series and E-series virtual machines would be operated using servers based on the Ampere Altra processors, which are designed for scale-out, cloud-native workloads. At the time it claimed that these would be able to deliver up to 50 percent better price-performance than comparable instances operating on x86 hardware.

"Customers build and run a vast variety of workloads on Azure, whether they are digitally transforming and modernizing their businesses or building all-new innovative distributed apps and servicess," said Microsoft's VP for the Azure Compute Platform Paul Nash, writing on the Azure blog.

"At the same time, customers want to maximize operational efficiency and are taking a holistic approach across their application portfolio."

Microsoft says that during the preview, hundreds of customers evaluated the Arm architecture for a variety of workloads, listing web and application servers, open-source databases, microservices, Java and .NET applications, gaming, and media servers.

Microsoft also said it has been working with open-source providers to make various Linux distributions available on Azure for its Arm-based virtual machines, including Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Suse Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Debian. Alma Linux and Rocky Linux are promised for the future.

The D-series virtual machines are general purpose, while the E-series are memory optimized. As an example, the Dpsv5 series supports up to 64 vCPUs and 4GiB to 208GiB of memory per vCPU, and the Dplsv5 series provides 2GiB to 128GiB per vCPU. The Epsv5 series supports only up to 32 vCPUs, but with 8GiB up to 208iGB of memory per vCPU.

All the new virtual machines are given up to 40Gbps of networking bandwidth, while the usual choices of Standard SSDs, Standard HDDs, Premium SSDs, and Ultra Disk Storage can be attached. Some virtual machine instances feature local SSD storage, such as the Dpdv5, Dpldv5, and Epdv5 series.

The Azure regions where the Arm-based instances are now available include five in the US, two in Europe, two in Asia, plus Australia. Microsoft said it plans to expand beyond this in the future. ®

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