It is an interesting time; but Azure has absolutely not slowed down on the innovation. I have been busy with a few things and came back to write a blog about Azure Advisor after seeing a great one by Phoummala Schmitt, but figured I’d instead highlight the Storage enhancements since they are plentiful!

There are many updates that have come through in March 2020, here is the short list of ones that I like (and we still have 7 days of March!):

  • Append Blob immutability support now generally available
  • Azure Shared Disks for clustered applications preview now available
  • Active Directory for authentication on SMB access to Azure File in preview

Let’s go through each of these quickly:

Append Blob immutability support now generally available

This was announced on 18-March and this aligns to something that I have been watching closely in the broader set of efforts to ensure absolute integrity of data. Blob immutability in Azure is different than that of other cloud platforms and this new enhancement introduces a capability of allowing additional new data at the end of an object. Azure immutability has been container-level where now a blob can have an append within an immutability policy protected container. Smart!

Azure Shared Disks for clustered applications preview now available

Also on 18-March (Busy day!) there was a new preview in place for Azure Shared Disks for clustered applications. This is a block storage offering in the cloud – but in the form of shared storage meant for traditional deployment scenarios.  This is best suited for clustered database deployments (not SQL managed instances), specific file systems, persistent containers and machine learning implementations according to the preview note. This is rather interesting as you have both traditional clustered app and file systems deployments that are on-premises staples coupled with two cloud-native options using the same design model. The cloud can do it all now!

Active Directory for authentication on SMB access to Azure File in preview

On 11-march, there was an announcement for a capability to mount Azure files with Active Directory credentials as a preview. This is available in most public regions, but is not available in West US, West US 2, East US, East US 2, West Europe and North Europe. AD authentication for Azure files is visualized in the figure below:

Image reproduced from: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-files-identity-auth-active-directory-enable#regional-availability

This is really compelling and in very good time considering there is a boost in work from home use cases as well as be a relief for new file resource decision considerations to being deployed either on-premises or in Azure.

There were plenty more announcements across Azure Storage and other Azure services; but make no mistake there is plenty of innovation still coming from the Azure team.

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