Cray Supercomputers Now Available in Select Microsoft Azure Datacenters

Azure gets Big Computing capabilities in the cloud like HPC and AI through Cray supercomputers.

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Cray CS cluster supercomputer series

Microsoft teaming up with Cray are providing its Azure customers with access to supercomputing capabilities in Azure.

Big Computing capabilities in the cloud is already availble to Microsoft Azure customers through InfiniBand, and recently acquired Cycle Computing, which simplify management of hybrid HPC deployments, as well as edge GPUs availble to public cloud.

Now, together with Cray, Microsoft bring customers the right combination of extreme performance, scalability, and elasticity with access to dedicated Cray XC or CS series supercomputers. So, they can run data-intentsive HPC and artificial intelligence (AI) applications alongside other cloud workloads directly on the Azure.

"Cray systems easily integrate with Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Data Lake storage, Microsoft AI platform, and Azure Machine Learning services," says Microsoft.

All of these capabilities are now provided in the cloud with most Azure datacenters worldwide, as well as most compliance certifications, and dedicated regions for government agencies and their partners.

To learn more about this offering, head over to the Cray website.

Cray XC series supercomputers

Fv2 VMs are now generally available on Azure offers fastest Intel Xeon Scalable processor, code-named "Skylake," in the public cloud.

These new hyper-threaded VM sizes run on Intel Xeon Platinum 8168 processor, a base core frequency of 2.7 GHz and a maximum single-core turbo frequency of 3.7 GHz.

"Intel AVX-512 instructions, which are new on Intel Scalable Processors, will provide up to a 2X performance boost to vector processing workloads on both single and double precision floating point operations," writes Microsoft.

The Fv2 VMs will be available in 7 sizes, with the largest size featuring 72 vCPUs and 144 GiB of RAM — see the new Fv2 VM sizes table below:

Fv2 VM sizes table

A new Cloud Service Map for Amazon AWS and Azure available now help quickly compare the cloud capabilities in all categories. The cloud service map is broken out into 13 sections to make navigation between each service simple, see this PDF.

"Whether you are planning a multi-cloud solution with Azure and AWS, or simply migrating to Azure, you will be able to use this service map to quickly orient yourself with the services required for a successful migration. You can use the service map side-by-side with other useful resources found in our documentation."

The new family of Intel Xeon Scalable Processors ("Purley") with Microsoft Azure Stack offer new IO stack improvements, support up to 28 cores per CPU, and offer a 50% improvement in memory bandwidth (up to 1.5TB).

"Availability dates of these new systems will vary by hardware vendor (Cisco, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Lenovo, and Wortmann/Terra), starting in November 2017 and continuing through February 2018." the team writes.

Azure Data Factory V2 (ADF v2) brings visual monitoring capabilities to easily monitor the data factory v2 pipelines and activity runs without writing a single line of code.

With this release, customers can use a simple and intuitive list based interface to monitor runs and perform various operations on these lists, including filtering and sorting, among others. Also, through the guided tours you can learn about how to use enabled visual monitoring features.

Azure Service Bus and Azure Event Hubs, released a preview of an upcoming generally available Geo-disaster recovery feature. With this feature, client need not to manage Geo-disaster recovery scenarios anymore via code, but, can instead "rely on the services doing the metadata synchronization between two independent namespaces," the team said. At this time, "data replication is not yet supported and will be added at a later point in time (post-general availability)."

To set up disaster recovery, select two namespaces in independent regions, for example, US North Central and US South Central, and define a primary and a secondary namespace, then create a pairing between them. In case of a disaster, trigger the failover.

Azure Event Grid now supports Event Hubs as a new subscription endpoint type available via the CLI by using the --endpoint-type parameter and specifying eventhub instead of the default webhook.

When using this option, "you specify an endpoint as Azure Resource Manager path of the Event Hub you want to send the events to." Assuming, an Event Hub already availble, you can get this resource path and navigate to your Event Hub in the portal.

Transactional replication to Azure SQL Database is now generally available, allows you to migrate on-premises SQL Server databases to Azure SQL Databases with minimal downtime. It can also be used to synchronize data from on-premises SQL Server to Azure SQL Databases in one direction, as well as to migrate a subset of source database.

For more details about SQL Server database migration to SQL Database in the cloud, see the document.

Azure Cosmos DB in Azure Storage Explorer let you explore and manage Azure Cosmos DB databases with the same consistent user experiences that make Azure Storage Explorer a powerful developer tool for managing Azure storage.

Last week, at Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington D.C., the company announced several important advances for Azure Government, including:

  • Azure Government Secret - multi-tenant cloud infrastructure and cloud capabilities to U.S. Federal Civilian, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and U.S. Government partners working within Secret enclaves.
  • Blockchain for Azure Government - support for a wide array of our Azure blockchain and distributed ledger marketplace solutions, which automate the deployment and configuration of blockchain infrastructure across multiple organizations, allowing our customers to focus on government transformation and application development.
  • Unified security management with Azure Security Center - a unified security management and advanced threat protection for hybrid cloud workloads, enabling government agencies to take on evolving security threats.
  • Expanding High Performance Computing in Azure Government - Azure H-series virtual machines, with InfiniBand and Linux RDMA technology, are designed to deliver cutting-edge performance for complex engineering and scientific workloads such as weather prediction and climate modeling, trajectory modeling, and other memory-intensive projects.
  • New Virtual Desktop Infrastructure options in the cloud - extend existing Citrix environments and deploy Windows 10 desktops into Azure Government from Citrix Cloud.

Microsoft today, open sourcing both Java Debugger Extension as well as the backend Java Debug Server, along with publishing a few feature improvements and bug fixes.

Java Debugger for Visual Studio Code

Lastly, as of this month, Power BI Embedded capacity based SKUs can be consumed in Azure. With the new SKUs, ISVs and developers can enjoy the full elasticity and flexibility that an Azure resource provides, while managing it in a familiar environment.

For those who are not familiar with Power BI Embedded, watch the video below: