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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Launches Preview of Arm-Based Azure VMs Featuring Cobalt 100 Processor

Microsoft Launches Preview of Arm-Based Azure VMs Featuring Cobalt 100 Processor

The new Cobalt 100 Arm-based virtual machine (VM), based on Microsoft’s custom silicon series announced in November 2023, is currently in preview.

The Cobalt 100 Arm-based VMs are the first generation of VMs to feature Microsoft’s new Cobalt 100 processor, custom-built on an Arm architecture. These VMs are optimized for efficiency and performance when running general-purpose and cloud-native workloads. They offer users both performance consistency and linear performance scaling with workloads like web apps, microservices, and open-source databases.

The company labeled the Cobalt Arm-based VMs, Dpsv6, Dplsv6, and Epsv6, all with access to 96 virtual cores; each one offers a different RAM to core ratio, with Dplsv6 VMs getting 2GB per core, Dpsv6 4GB per core, and Epsv6 up to 8GB per core.

Stefanie Lemon, a principal program manager at Microsoft, writes:

The new Azure Cobalt 100 VMs support a wide range of Linux OS distributions including Canonical Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, Alma Linux, Azure Linux (via AKS), Flatcar Linux and more. For Windows developers, Insider Preview of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise are available for Azure Cobalt 100 VMs. Customers can access the full list of images in the Azure Marketplace.

According to the company, users can expect up to a 40% improvement in performance compared to the previous generation of Arm-based (Ampere-Altra) VMs on Azure. These VMs are also available in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) node pools.

In Microsoft Azure, developers can deploy their cloud-native containerized workloads using Arm-based virtual machines (VMs) integrated with managed services such as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). They can also compile the application source code using a native Arm-based GitHub Actions runner and then deploy it in the cloud.

Pranay Bakre, a principal solutions engineer at Arm, concluded in a blog post on the Cobalt 100 Arm-based VMs:

The preview of the new Azure VMs at Microsoft Build is a great example of the exciting computing innovation from our partners in the infrastructure market that use Arm as their technology foundation. Through leveraging the strength of the Arm Neoverse platform and broad software ecosystem, Microsoft is unlocking the efficiency, performance and flexibility capabilities required for developers to deliver innovative software and services for the next decade of compute.

The VMs are currently available only through a request form. During the preview period, the VMs are available in the Azure regions: Central US, East US, East US 2, North Europe, Southeast Asia, West Europe, and West US 2. The company stated that the number of regions will continue to expand in 2024 and beyond.

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