This year’s Microsoft Inspire digital conference introduced several new products, services and innovations. One of these innovations was Microsoft Azure Boost. Azure Boost is a new system that delivers accelerated improvements in performance and security. In this article we will cover more about Azure Boost and the key points you need to know.

What is Microsoft Azure Boost?

Azure Boost is a new system that offloads virtualisation processes traditionally performed by the hypervisor and host OS, such as networking, storage, and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software.  By separating hypervisor and host OS functions from the host infrastructure, Azure Boost enables greater network and storage performance at scale, improves security by adding another layer of logical isolation, and reduces the maintenance impact for future Azure software and hardware upgrades.

Advantages of Azure Boost

Microsoft has been working hard on innovation of this solution and of course there are several advantages that come with Azure Boost, here are just some of the benefits users can experience:

Improved network performance

Azure Boost VMs in preview can achieve up to 200 Gbps networking throughput, marking a significant improvement with a doubling in performance over other existing Azure VMs. This improvement in network performance is made possible by a critical component, the Microsoft Azure Network Adapter (MANA)MANA is tailored for optimal networking performance tailored specifically for Azure’s demands, bringing improved reliability for virtual machines while providing a set of stable forward compatible device drivers for Linux and Windows operating systemsThis means the Azure Boost system can expand network bandwidth to facilitate faster and more efficient data transfers and achieve higher network availability and stability.

Improved storage performance

Azure Boost enables Azure current customers to achieve an industry leading remote storage throughput and IOPS performance of 10 GBps and 400K IOPS with our memory optimized E112ibsv5 VM using NVMe-enabled Premium SSD v2 or Ultra Disk options. Offloading storage data plane operations from the CPU to dedicated hardware results in accelerated and consistent storage performance, as customers are already experiencing on Ev5 and Dv5 VMs.  This also enhances existing storage capabilities such as disk caching for Azure Premium SSDs.

Enhanced security

Azure Boost’s isolated architecture inherently improves security by running storage and networking processes separately on Azure Boost’s purpose-built hardware instead of running on the host server.

Reduced maintenance downtime

An additional Azure Boost benefit is the reduced downtime needed to complete updates to Azure host infrastructureAzure customer workloads increasingly demand high availability, where each second of the infrastructure downtime means greater risks to the Azure customer businessAzure Boost’s introduction means that Azure infrastructure updates can be deployed much faster by loading directly onto the Azure Boost hardware with minimal impact to customer running VMs on the host servers.

When it comes to innovation in Azure infrastructure, Azure Boost marks a significant leap forward paving the way for accelerated improvements in performance, security, and reliability.  Microsoft is currently inviting Azure partners and customers with high-performance network and storage needs, particularly those using the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), to take part in the preview.

Take part in the preview to experience the future of Azure first-hand here: Request access to the Preview. If you’d like to know more about this recent announcement, contact our team who can help. We are also running a new webinar all around boosting performance and security with Azure Virtual Desktop. If you’d like to know more, register your place here.