Microsoft has added a new tier to the Azure Storage service, using flash-based drives to meet the needs of applications and services that call for high speed and low latency, enabling customers to lift-and-shift demanding enterprise applications to the cloud.
Available now, Microsoft Azure Premium Storage is designed for virtual machines hosted in the firm's cloud running workloads that require consistent high input/output performance and low latency to host I/O intensive workloads such as online transaction processing, big data and data warehousing.
The move means that Microsoft's Azure cloud platform now offers two types of durable storage: Premium Storage, which uses the latest SSD technology, according to Microsoft, and Standard Storage, which still relies on hard disks.
Premium Storage enables customers to provision a Data Disk with the right performance characteristics to meet the requirements of their application, Microsoft said.
Any Azure virtual machine can have multiple disks attached for up to 32TB of storage supporting more than 64,000 input/output operations per second with latency in the low millisecond range.
"Since we launched our Premium Storage Preview last December, thousands of Azure customers have used this capability and experienced the tremendous improvement it brings to their virtual machines' performance," said Microsoft Azure chief technology officer Mark Russinovich.
"Many customers are already running production VMs using our new DS Series VMs which support Premium Storage Data Disks. Preview customers have been running a wide range of scenarios like Windows Server, Linux, SQL Server, Microsoft Dynamics, Exchange, SharePoint, Oracle, SAP, MySQL, MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis and others," he wrote on the Microsoft Azure blog.
The new D-Series virtual machines have faster processors than other types in addition to SSD storage. They also make use of a new caching capability that enables extremely low latency for read operations, Microsoft said.
The introduction of this capability is designed to assure customers that they can host mission-critical workloads in the Azure cloud. Microsoft claimed that customers on the preview programme have already achieved throughput to a SQL database running on Premium at double the rate for the same database running on an on-premise mid-level SAN.
Microsoft said that Premium Storage is also built on the firm's existing Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) technology, which stores three replicas of data in the same region for failover purposes. A write will be confirmed back to the customer application only when it has been successfully replicated by the LRS system, the firm said.
Premium Storage is currently available from Azure regions in the US, West Europe and Asia. The firm said it intends to expand the service to more regions in the near future.
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