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In Azure: New ND-Series GPUs, Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtualized Next-gen Firewalls Available

Microsoft will be expanding its GPU-based offerings on Azure with the new ND-series, which will allow deploying cutting-edge virtual machines for accelerated workloads.

The new series powered by NVIDIA Tesla P40 GPUs are designed for training and inference and is based on the new Pascal Architecture. The instances provide more than two times the performance versus the previous generation for FP32 (single precision floating point operations) for artificial intelligence workloads.

The ND-series enable customers to fit much larger neural net models, as it offers a much larger GPU memory size (24GB), says the team.

Finally, like NC-series, the ND-series will also offer RDMA and InfiniBand connectivity, so you can run large-scale training jobs spanning hundreds of GPUs.

Microsoft Azure ND-series GPUs Table
Microsoft Azure ND-series GPUs Table

The Palo Alto Networks VM-Series virtualized next-generation firewall on Microsoft Azure, available Monday, allows government agencies to apply advanced threat prevention features and next-gen firewall application policy controls used in physical data centers to Azure Government Cloud.

“The Palo Alto Networks VM-Series on Azure and Azure Gov natively analyze all traffic in a single pass to determine the application identity, the content within, and the user identity,” writes Azure team. It helps accomplish several security-related objectives like:

  • Identify and control applications traversing Azure deployment, regardless of which ports they may use.
  • Safely enable applications and users. Using the application as the basis for your Azure security policy allows you to create application whitelisting and segmentation policies that leverage the deny-all-else premise upon which a firewall is based. Allow the applications you want in use, deny all others, and grant access based on need and credentials.
  • Block lateral (east-west) movement of cyber threats (e.g., malware). By exerting application-level controls using Zero Trust principles in between VMs, government agencies can reduce the threat footprint, and apply policies to block known and unknown threats.
  • Automate security deployment and policy updates. Native management features – including bootstrapping, dynamic address groups and a fully documented XML API – allow you to deploy new applications and next-generation security in an automated manner.
  • Simplified, centrally managed virtual and physical firewalls ensure policy consistency and cohesiveness across virtual and physical firewall form factors with Palo Alto Networks Panorama network security management.

“Microsoft Azure Government Cloud, a physically isolated instance of Microsoft Azure, is designed exclusively for government agencies and partners to migrate their mission-critical workloads to the cloud while maintaining high security and meeting complex government compliance regulations.”

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