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InfoQ Homepage News Enabling Single Tenant Workloads in the Cloud, Microsoft Introduces Azure Dedicated Host

Enabling Single Tenant Workloads in the Cloud, Microsoft Introduces Azure Dedicated Host

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In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced Azure Dedicated Hosts in preview, a service that allows organizations to run Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers. This service was introduced to address customer compliance and regulatory requirements. Organizations can also take advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefits which allows them to leverage existing software investments in the cloud.

While many organizations seek cost savings by using multi-tenant services, not all organizations are able to take advantage of this architecture. As a result, this prevents organizations from moving some workloads to the cloud. Ziv Rafalovich, a principal program manager on the Azure Compute team, describes how Azure Dedicated Hosts may address hosting requirements for these types of organizations:

Azure Dedicated Hosts can help address compliance requirements organizations may have in terms of physical security, data integrity, and monitoring. This is accomplished by giving you the ability to place Azure VMs on a specific and dedicated physical server. This offering also meets the needs of IT organizations seeking host-level isolation.

Since Azure Dedicated Hosts provide greater isolation over multi-tenant workloads, organizations have more control over their infrastructure, including the underlying hardware infrastructure (host type), processor brand and capabilities, number of cores and the configuration of virtual machines that you would like to run on this host.

When Microsoft is hosting your workloads in a multi-tenant configuration, they need to control maintenance activities in order to avoid disruption to other customers. However, since Azure Dedicated Hosts provide more isolation, customers now have more control over maintenance activities. Rafalovich explains:

With an Azure Dedicated Host, you can control all host-level platform maintenance initiated by Azure (e.g., host OS updates). An Azure Dedicated Host gives you the option to defer host maintenance operations and apply them within a defined maintenance window, 35 days. During this self-maintenance window, you can apply maintenance to your hosts at your convenience, thus gaining full control over the sequence and velocity of the maintenance process.

As part of Microsoft’s announcement, they also included information about Azure Hybrid Benefits which allow customers to use existing Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance, in Azure, at a reduced rate.

In addition, customers who transition legacy Windows Server 2008/R2 and SQL Server 2008/R2 workloads to Azure Dedicated Hosts, can continue to get Extended Security Updates since SQL Server 2008/R2 had its support end on July 9th, 2019 and support for Windows Server 2008/R2 ends on January 14th, 2020. 

For customers who use non-Windows Operating Systems, like SUSE or RedHat Linux, Microsoft will allow these organizations to bring their software licenses to Azure Dedicated Hosts.

Azure Dedicated Hosts can be deployed through an ARM template, CLI, PowerShell or the Azure Portal. For a list of frequently asked questions, please refer to the Microsoft blog post.

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