What’s New in Azure Stack TP3?

Wednesday , 1, March 2017 Leave a comment

 

 

Well Azure Stack TP3 has landed, and with it a whole host of excitement and capability! Jeffrey Snover has laid out the improvements and roadmap for TP3 through to GA in this blog, so I thought I’d note some thoughts about a few of the listed capabilities while my CloudBuilder VHDX extracts ๐Ÿ™‚

Whatโ€™s new in Azure Stack TP3

  • Deploy with ADFS for disconnected scenarios

I wonder if the only use case here is in disconnected scenarios as noted, or rather also perhaps for scenarios where the customer is comfortable with their Azure Stack having internet access, but not with their identity being synchronised to Azure Active Directory (AAD).

  • Start using Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets for scale out workloads

These are self-explanatory and I look forward to trying this functionality – the ability to scale a set of identical IaaS VMs in or out with ease, just like Azure.

  • Syndicate content from the Azure Marketplace to make available in Azure Stack

This is hugely exciting to me, even if it is just limited to Bring Your Own License (BYOL) scenarios at this time. One of the major pains of Azure Pack was having to custom build all of the gallery items you wanted to deploy to your tenants. Now with marketplace syndication we can pull relevant gallery items directly from Azure into our Azure stack environments and make them available to our tenants. For me, this is the biggest new feature in TP3 ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Use Azure D-Series VM sizes

But probably not the higher spec ones for those using 96GB or 128GB RAM hostsโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚ I should be able to deploy up to Standard_D14 in size, all things being equal.

  • Deploy and create templates with Temp Disks that are consistent with Azure

This is interesting, as in Azure a temp disk is non-permanent and exists on the same host as the VM, rather than in Azure Storage. If the host reboots, the contents of the temp disk are lost. In Azure Stack the underlying storage is hyperconverged Storage Spaces Direct rather than Azure Storage. Performance of temporary disks typically has better IOPS and latency than data disks, this is presumably not the case in Azure Stack though as it’s all the same storage on the same hosts. Will temp disk storage be wiped if a host reboots? Are the use cases the same as in Azure? Or is this purely a consistency item? Stay tuned and find out!

  • Take comfort in the enhanced security of an isolated administrator portal

I feel the comfort like a warm fuzzy blanket enveloping me, letting us split out the tenant and admin portals into separate security zones in the same way as Azure Pack ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Take advantage of improvements to IaaS and PaaS functionality

In the short term I’ll be spending the next few days testing and documenting changes/improvements in the IaaS portion of TP3, and look forward to the PaaS services landing so I can go through them with rigor as well!

  • Use enhanced infrastructure management functionality, such as improved alerting

Alerting and monitoring are very important, I’d like to be able to gather data into any or all of SCOM, OMS, Power BI, or Grafana.ย I’m also very excited to see if Usage and Rate Card data are now available from TP3, as that functionality was broken (at least for me!) in TP2.

Well the CloudBuilder.vhdx is just about finished extracting, so time to document the deployment process – fingers crossed!

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