Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors offer customers the opportunity to take advantage of the ARM instruction set architecture for various workloads, including web hosting, data science, and machine learning. This FAQ will provide an overview of these processors and their benefits.
Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors
Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors (formerly known as Azure HBv2 VMs) provide a secure and reliable platform for cloud-native applications and workloads. Running on the latest powerful Ampere Altra Arm processors, these virtual machines are designed for high performance and long-term reliability. In addition, they’re built with an integrated security model optimized for cloud operations and powered by the Azure intelligent fabric.
Supporting up to 56 cores per CPU and 256GB of RAM per VM, these virtual machines are well-suited for compute intensive workloads such as high-performance computing (HPC), web serving, digital media streaming, image processing, real-time analytics, gaming servers, content delivery networks (CDNs), and other cloud-native applications. Furthermore, with its higher clock speeds and memory bandwidths compared to ARMv7 systems its predecessor replaced, this next-generation ARM processor is designed for speed and power efficiency.
Enhancing built in security features also make these virtual machines an ideal platform for mission-critical workloads like national defense applications or confidential financial transactions. Powered by the Arm architecture trusted in trillions of connected devices worldwide, you can trust these virtual machines with your most sensitive data sets.
What are the benefits of using Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors?
Adding Azure Virtual Machines based on Ampere Altra Arm–based processors to your cloud environment can offer multiple benefits over a traditional Intel or AMD-based architecture. By leveraging the energy efficient, purpose-built capabilities of the Ampere Altra Arm–based processor, you can achieve cost savings and performance advantages for your workloads.
The Ampere Altra provides improved memory allocation, high core counts, and simultaneous multithreading compared to other architectures that enable a low-latency, low-cost user experience for most common cloud scenarios. Furthermore, Ampere’s distributed fabric technology gives users top performance consistent with high-end ARM chipsets.
These capabilities translate into greater price/performance benefit when compared to Intel or AMD servers running high throughput applications such as HPC computing or AI/machine learning workloads. Additionally, since the Ampere Altra uses less power than an equivalent Intel or AMD server while maintaining higher performance levels, organizations can benefit from significant savings in operational costs. On top of that, the power efficiency of these servers enables datacenter cooling requirements to be reduced significantly to further drive down operational costs in azure cloud ecosystems.
If you are considering Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors for your project, it is important to understand the pricing.
The pricing for these services can vary depending on the type of services you need and the amount of resources you will use.
How much do Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors cost?
Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra arm-based processors are an ideal platform for applications that take advantage of the scalability and simplification offered by cloud computing. The cost associated with deploying and managing Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra arm-based processors varies depending on the specific system configuration you choose and the level of pricing discount you can receive when purchasing these virtual machines.
A standard measure used to compare the cost of computing on Azure is per compute unit (CoU). To calculate this metric for a given instance type, we use a “Azure Compute Value” (ACV) methodology, which considers the baseline configuration and workloads specified by customers. The CoU pricing model applies to Linux and Windows virtual machines running on Ampere Altra Arm-based processors. In addition to CoU pricing, other components such as storage, networking, and a range of other services may factor into your total cloud bill depending on your organization’s specific needs.
The base price for two generations of A100 40-core models is $1.79/hr or $1.28/hr when purchased in pre-paid packages. Additionally, Azure customers receive further discounts when they use Resource Manager deployment templates which can be applied across multiple virtual machine instances employed in your organization’s VMs fleet or when they purchase Reserved Instances through one-year or three-year commitments where customers will pay only for compute resources used within those periods at discounted rates ranging from 21%-71%. Discounts also exist through traditional Volume Licensing agreements with Enterprise Enrollment and Microsoft Products & Services Agreements (MPSAs). To understand what discounts you may qualify for, speak with an Azure representative from Microsoft today to begin optimizing your costs!
Are there any discounts available?
Yes, you may be eligible to receive discounts when using Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors. Customers may be able to take advantage of a variety of offers tailored to them. These offers can include:
- Commitment discounts – a monetary reward for buying large quantities of services upfront;
- Enterprise agreement discounts – special pricing for customers who sign up for long term use;
- Reserve instance discounts – deep discounts for customers who prepay for one or three years in advance;
- Pay as you go discounts – discounted costs by utilizing the Pay As You Go model; and
- Spot WPriority – a blend of spot and reserved instance offerings that gives users additional savings.
For more information about these offers and other discount programs available through Microsoft Azure, visit the official pricing page or contact an Azure representative.
Regarding performance, Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors can offer improved performance for applications tuned for performance and built for scale.
This section of the FAQs will cover all the performance aspects of using Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors, as well as how these processors can help you with scaling and optimizing your applications.
How powerful are Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors?
Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors offer an impressive performance. They are ideal for applications in cloud gaming, data analytics, and enterprise-level video encoding. They provide up to 90 cores at 128 GB of high-bandwidth memory per processor for maximum throughput. As a result, Ampere Altra-powered VMs have up to 4 times more computational power than typical x86 processors.
Azure also offers memory optimization technology which optimizes available system memory resources and reduces latency so that applications can perform better under peak workloads. Azure’s advanced security features also protect against cyberattacks, malware infestations, and other threats. These features make Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors an excellent choice for any organization looking for a powerful virtual machine solution that can scale accordingly to meet their needs.
Are there any performance advantages to using Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors?
Yes, Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors offer several performance advantages. These processors offer several key features that contribute to greater overall performance, such as higher clock speeds, improved single-threaded performance, better memory bandwidth and latency, and more efficient power delivery.
Additionally, the ARM architecture enables advanced virtual machine optimization techniques and better core scaling than traditional x86-based processors, resulting in performance gains for periodic workloads such as compression/decompression tasks and bursty workloads such as web servers.
Thanks to these features combined with optimized hypervisors like KVM (Kernel-Based Virtual Machine), applications running on Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors can experience improved real-world server performance when compared to x86 environments.
Regarding security, Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors offer many features that can help protect your data and applications. These features include secure boot, data encryption at rest, authentication, and authorization. Additionally, Azure provides a hardened host environment with Secure Kernel and Security Monitor to protect your machine and secure all communications with the host.
Let’s take a closer look at these security features:
What security features are included with Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors?
Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors deliver several features designed to improve organizations’ overall security posture leveraging the cloud. This includes:
- Advanced encryption libraries which allow faster and more secure data encryption/decryption while delivering significant performance gains in terms of processing time;
- Secure boot, which helps protect the system’s software stack against malware threats by ensuring that only trusted and digitally signed code is executed on startup;
- Firmware security extensions to defend against direct access attacks to the processor, memory, and storage devices;
- Virtualization-based security (VBS) tools that enable hypervisor-level control over system processes and used resources, allowing highly granular access control to run VMs securely;
- Data execution protection (DEP) technologies that help prevent malicious code from executing within memory;
- A sandboxed operating system kernel (SOSK) leverages Windows virtual secure mode technology to further protect VMs from malware threats.
Are there any additional security measures I can take?
In addition to the security measures offered by Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors, there are several other steps you can take to ensure your data is secure:
- Encryption: Encryption is important in protecting sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access. Data at rest should be encrypted with a reliable encryption solution, such as Microsoft’s BitLocker or Azure Disk Encryption services. Data in transit should be encrypted using the latest TLS version and encryption protocols such as ECC or 256-bit SSL/TLS.
- Access Control: An authentication and authorization system should be implemented to allow only authenticated and authorized users to access data stored on virtual machines running Ampere Altra Arm– based processors. Access control systems, such as Microsoft’s Active Directory, can help ensure only authorized users access the environment.
- Identity Protection: A strong identity protection system can help protect high-valued accounts from being compromised. Identity protection solutions such as Microsoft’s Intelligent Authentication technologies, multi-factor authentication access controls, and password manager applications help protect against brute force attacks and sophisticated social engineering techniques used by malicious attackers.
- Firewalls & Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) provide an additional layer of security by monitoring network traffic for suspicious activities. Firewalls can prevent malicious attackers from accessing the environment. At the same time, intrusion detection systems detect suspicious activity that may indicate a potential attack or threaten the integrity of the system or its data.
- Software Updates & Patches: To keep your virtual machines running securely and efficiently, regular software updates should be applied; Windows operating systems should always have current security updates installed on either their OS installations or through an automated patch management tool like Microsoft’s Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Additionally, both hardware-level firmware patches must be applied to quickly prevent new threats against hardware vulnerabilities or attacks on device drivers.
If you’re using Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm-based processors, you may have a few questions that need answering.
In this heading, we’ll cover the most common support questions to help you understand more about this technology. Here, you’ll find answers to questions on topics such as:
- Cost and performance optimization
- Configuring the machines
- And more.
What kind of support is available for Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors?
Microsoft Azure virtual machines (VMs) with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors are supported by various platforms, products, and services. The list includes Windows Client and Server operating systems, IaaS-compatible software images, and the popular Microsoft Hyper-V platform.
Ampere Altra Arm–based processor support is available on Azure VM SKUs such as the Standard_A4 Series, Standard_C4 Series, and StandardD16 Series. In addition, it can take advantage of networking features offered by Accelerated Networking for Linux and Windows to achieve accelerated performance in certain workloads. Customers can also use NVMe Gen 5 storage options on the A4 Series machines to benefit from higher bandwidth availability.
In addition, Ampere Altra’s high-performance math capabilities provide optimized solutions for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), fast inference applications like IQRacy neural networks and DNN models for Visual Recognition applications when using supported ML frameworks such as Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit 2.6 or TensorFlow with GPU resources enabled. Customers wanting to take advantage of these features will need to run custom ML workloads on an Azure VMs running Ubuntu or Windows with the appropriate driver installed before enabling GPU resources in their configuration.
Other available resources include:
- Azure DevOps Services such as continuous integration/continuous deployment support through Jenkins or Travis CI;
- HPC capabilities are also provided using SLURM or Open Grid Scheduler interface over internet protocol (IP).
- Maintenance operations such as troubleshooting customer environments can be completed via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) sessions initiated within an Azure VM instance itself.
- Finally, Microsoft also provides various managed services through Kusto backed solutions hosted within the cloud for deeper analysis into customer environments for advanced insights using resources deployed across different regions worldwide.
Are there any tutorials or resources available?
Yes, some resources are available to help you get started with Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm–based processors. In addition, Microsoft has put together a set of tutorials and documents that cover topics like setting up an Ampere Altra Arm–based processor-powered VM, configuring the VM, and more.
The documentation includes Azure Virtual Machines tutorials such as:
- Getting Started Tutorial – Learn how to deploy, configure and start your own Windows Server virtual machine with the new Ampere Altra Arm–based processor.
- Hybrid Networking Tutorial – Learn how to use peered VMs for communication between Compute instances in different regions.
- Storage Accecess Tutorial – Connect an existing storage account from Azure Storage Service (including Blob storage) directly from your virtual machines.
- Application Migration Tutorial – Learn how to migrate existing applications from another cloud provider or on-premises environment into an Azure Virtual Machine certified for Ampere Altra CPU.
In addition, the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) has published several resources related to Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra processors such as best practices for deployment and configuration and running workloads on ARM64 systems.
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