Ignite March 2021 Azure Announcement Highlights

So, Ignite is a twice a year thing now, at least in it’s virtual format. This week we saw the March 2021 edition of Ignite. As usual this is accompanied by a plethora of announcements about Azure new releases and updates. You can find the full list of announcements in the Ignite Book of News, but in this article we’ll take a look at some of the highlights (at least in my view) in the Azure space. This focus is around data, compute, PaaS and serverless, areas like Machine Learning and AI, and IoT aren’t featured.


Azure Trusted Launch for Virtual Machines in preview

Trusted Launch allows the deployment of virtual machines with verified and signed bootloaders, OS Kernels and drivers. This allows you to secure the entire boot chain and monitor this in Azure Security Centre.

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Automatic VM Guest Patching for Azure VM’s

This has been available in Windows for a little while, but now you can do automatic patching of your Linux VMs.

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New Orchestration Mode for VMSS in Preview

New flexible orchestration mode for scale sets that allow you greater control of your VM’s inside the scale set and increase high availability.

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On-demand Capacity Reservations in Public Preview

This feature allows you to reserve capacity at a lower cost, for your on -demand workloads, rather than having to reserve complete VM capacity for 24/7 workloads.

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App Gateway Ingress Controller GA

Not a new feature, but this has been in preview for a long time so it’s good to see it go to GA. This allows you to use App Gateway to provide an ingress controller for your Kubernetes cluster.

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Calico Support for Windows Nodes in AKS

This has been a while coming, but we finally have preview support for Calico network policies in Windows nodes on AKS. This will allow us to restrict traffic inside our clusters and namespaces on Windows and Linux nodes. This does require Kubernetes 1.20 which is in preview in AKS.

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Planned Maintenance Windows in AKS

This feature allows you to specify maintenance windows for your AKS cluster. Not much detail on this one, as the link seems to go to some Github code for using it with the Rest API rather than any actual explanation of the preview.

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Dynamic IP allocation and Enhanced Subnet Support in AKS

AKS CNI networking now supports dynamic IP allocation for containers rather than needing pre-allocate IP’s up front.

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JIT and Conditional Access Support GA

Just in Time access to AKS through PIM, and conditional access for AKS is new GA.

Azure Migrate App Containerization

This new migration tool helps you containerize and migrate existing applications into AKS. This currently supports both ASP.net and Java web applications.

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Cosmos DB Continuous Backup Preview

You can finally configure backup and point in time restore on your Cosmos DB to protect against accidental deletaion.

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RBAC for Cosmos DB Data

You can now set RBAC and fine grained permissions to control data in your Cosmos DB.

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Maintenance Window for Azure SQL and Azure SQL Managed Instance Preview

This feature allows you to schedule maintenance on your SQL databases for Microsoft maintenance which may result in failovers.

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Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra

Automated Deployment and Scaling for Apache Cassandra instance in Azure.

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Premium SSD Tier Change Without Downtime Preview

This preview allows for changing the tier of your Premium SSD disks without any downtime.

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Zone Redundant Storage for Managed Disks Preview

Preview of protecting your managed disks from zonal failures.

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On Demand Bursting for Premium SSD’s

This preview allows you to burst above the specified IOPs and MB/s for the tier of disk you are using for short periods of time. This is separate to VM bursting.

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Operational Backup for Azure Blobs Preview

Finally! This preview provides a solution for backing up Blob storage to handle accidently deletes or overwrites. We’ll look at this in more detail soon.

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Bicep Production Support

The Bicep language for ARM templates now has feature parity with ARM templates and is support in production as of version 0.3.

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