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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Previews Azure Boost to Improve Remote Storage Throughput and IOPS Performance

Microsoft Previews Azure Boost to Improve Remote Storage Throughput and IOPS Performance


During the recent Inspire 2023 conference, Microsoft announced the preview of Azure Boost to improve remote storage throughput and IOPS performance. Separating the hypervisor and host OS functions from the host infrastructure, the new option allows up to 10 Gbps throughput and 400K IOPS.

The new system offloads virtualization processes traditionally performed by the hypervisor and host OS, such as networking, storage, and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software. Azure Boost is designed to enable greater network and storage performance and to improve security. Max Uritsky, partner PM manager at Azure, explains:

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.

The announcement highlights that customers can achieve remote storage throughput and IOPS performance of 10 Gbps and 400K IOPS relying on memory-optimized E112ibsv5 VM and using NVMe-enabled Premium SSD v2 or Ultra Disk options. Uritsky adds:

While we are announcing the preview of Azure Boost today, Azure Boost has been providing benefits to millions of existing Azure VMs in production today, such as enabling the exceptional remote storage performance of the Ebsv5 VM series and networking throughput and latency improvements for the entire Ev5 and Dv5 VM series.

According to the cloud provider, the Azure Boost system can expand network bandwidth to facilitate faster and more efficient data transfers and achieve higher network availability and stability. The improvement in network performance is achieved using the Microsoft Azure Network Adapter (MANA) and providing a set of stable forward-compatible device drivers for Linux and Windows operating systems. Glenn K. Lockwood, principal product manager at Microsoft, tweets:

This MANA NIC has a Linux driver which reveals a lot of the potential capabilities of the thing. For example, the RDMA support.

Azure Boost’s isolated architecture improves security with a system-on-chip (SoC) providing hardware-based secure boot and attestation. Additionally, the new option can help reduce maintenance downtime as Azure infrastructure updates can be deployed faster by loading directly onto the Azure Boost hardware. Ganesh Swaminathan, COO at Tesser Insights, comments:

A significant advancement in the IaC domain, Azure Boost showcases how we can push the boundaries of cloud infrastructure possibilities. As a technologist, I am extremely excited to see the ripple effect this will have in our industry.

Addressing some comments from the community, Uritsky acknowledges that Azure Boost supports an increased number of flows but does not disclose the expected limits. To take part in the preview, developers have to request access.


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