Azure This Week

Azure SQL VMs & Azure Monitor Updates

Episode description

In Azure updates this week, James Lee is back and bringing you updates galore! We have some welcome enhancements to Azure SQL VMs, making them much easier to deploy and manage. Also, news for you power users, if you use hyperscale hosting with Azure PostgreSQL databases, you now have access to Private Link. Azure Monitor also comes to the party, now allowing you to test Action Groups without wreaking havoc!

0:00 Introduction
0:48 Azure SQL VM updates
3:04 Azure Monitor – Test Action Groups in Preview
4:46 Azure Database for PostgreSQL updates


Azure This Week Resources

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Azure SQL VM Updates
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/general-availability-enhanced-storage-configuration-with-tempdb/
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/general-availability-deployment-enhancements-for-sql-server-on-azure-virtual-machines/
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/general-availability-automated-backup-enhancements-for-sql-server-on-azure-virtual-machines/

Public Preview: Test Action Groups in Azure Monitor
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/public-preview-test-action-groups-in-azure-monitor/

General availability: Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Hyperscale (Citus): Private access support
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/general-availability-azure-database-for-postgresql-hyperscale-citus-private-access-support/

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Series description

Azure This Week is your weekly news roundup for all things Azure. Join our expert hosts as they cover everything you need to know about the past week’s developments, keeping it short, fun and informative. Whether you’re just beginning your cloud journey, or you know your stuff, there’s something for everyone!

Oh, hi everyone. Did you know that this month, 10 years ago, Microsoft Azure was released in 21 countries around the world. That's right. In February, 2010, Azure was announced generally available. Pretty cool, right? But you're not here for really old news.

You're here for up-to-date service announcements and releases for news that happened in Azure this week. In this episode, we'll have a chat about a range of updates to Azure SQL for Virtual Machines, a public preview of test functionality for Action Groups, and the general availability of private access for Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale. The product team responsible for Azure SQL for Virtual Machines have hit the ground running this year because there are not only one but three updates. That's right. We now have access to deployment enhancements, enhanced storage configuration, and automated backup enhancements.

All of these improvements really help to streamline the way in which you can deploy and manage your Azure SQL Virtual Machines. Now Azure SQL VMs are really useful in organizations where you want to use Azure SQL Database platform-as-a-service, but you can't. Maybe you depend on some SQL functionality that Azure SQL Database just doesn't support. And so you need to use Azure SQL for VMs. Now it sounds like SQL for VMs is really just SQL server and installed on infrastructure-as-a-service VMs right? But with improvements like these, it's actually a lot more streamlined than you might think.

With the release of improvements to the deployment and storage configuration experiences, you can now manage even more of the SQL configuration itself through the Azure portal. Settings, like tempdb data and log files, the collation, and much more. Added to this, improvements to the automated backup see an increased backup retention period from 30 days to 90 days, and the ability to specify storage containers on a per VM basis. Overall, what we're really seeing here is a lot of the benefits you'd expect from a PaaS service, but for an IaaS service that supports more of the traditional SQL features that you might require. Did you know, just like Azure - ACG has a free tier? Yep that’s right.

With ACG’s free plan, you can get access to free courses, quizzes, learning paths and original series content. For the entire month of February, the full course “Introduction to the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure” is free, as well as a bunch of other content. And you don’t even need a credit card to sign up. Now if you’re interested, check out the links in the description below. Are you monitoring your environment in Azure? I'm sure you are.

And maybe you are even using Azure Monitor to do so. Now Azure Monitor is a great tool for looking out for things going wrong in your environment. VMs with CPUs that are spiking, high memory consumption in your web apps and much, much more. Well taking that to the next step, Action Groups lets you go and do something about it. Because whilst it's good to know if something is going wrong in your environment, it's even better if we can take some automated action group.

With Action Groups, that might be as simple as sending an email to your administrators, or something as complicated as fully-automated responses using Azure Functions. But how do you test all of this functionality? Should you go and crash your production web apps or spike the CPU on your production VMs? Well, no you probably don't wanna do that. The safest way to test Action Groups so far has been to create fake workloads and trigger an Action Group there. But now you don't have to crash your production environment or fake it, because Microsoft are working on test functionality for Action Groups in Azure Monitor. This public preview of the test functionality allows you to simply click a test button during the creation of your action group.

You can choose an alert template to, to use and select the notifications or actions that you'd like to trigger. The preview is currently embedded within the creation wizard, but it does provide you with a status and test details to help you build and troubleshoot your Action Groups. If you are using Azure Database for PostgreSQL to get all of your cloudy PaaS goodness for your open-source relational databases and you process so much data that you require Hyperscale hosting, and you need connectivity to your data to be isolated and private...well then I've got just the update for you. With the general availability of private access support for Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale, you can now use Private Link.

In this scenario, Private Link would help to provide secure connectivity by keeping your data inside Azure networks and removing exposure to the public internet. So now you'll be able to access your Hyperscale PostgreSQL database more securely. You'll be able to use private IP addresses for your nodes, and you can even use this connectivity from sites connected using ExpressRoute. This is a great example of where a range of tools and technologies can be used together to support your own unique requirements. Well, that's a wrap for today everybody.

I hope you've enjoyed this episode of Databases This Week. Uh, I mean of Azure, Azure This Week. Well, close enough, so much database news. Keep being awesome Cloud Gurus.

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