Preview of Azure Spot virtual machines

Microsoft announce the preview of Azure spot virtual machines. Azure Spot VMs let you access unused Azure compute capacity at large discounts compared to pay-as-you-go prices. These VMs are evicted when Azure no longer has available compute capacity and must reallocate its resources. At that point, the VM is deallocated and no additional VM-related changes are incurred, but other resources, such as disk or network, continue to run and accrue charges.

Ideal workloads for Azure Spot VMs include:

  • development and test
  • workloads that can recover from interruptions
  • short-lived jobs which can easily be run again if the virtual machine is evicted.

Azure Spot VMs are created in the same way as regular VMs, but a flag is set at the time of creation, designating it as a Spot VM. At this point in the preview the pricing is fixed for a Spot VM, but in the future the pricing will vary based on capacity for a particular VM in a particular region. You’ll be able to choose your eviction terms: when Azure needs the capacity, or when the variable pricing reaches a maximum price that you have set.

As a comparison of pricing, for an Fsv2 VM, the pay-as-you-go price per hour is $0.163, while the Spot price is $0.065 per hour, with 1-year and 3-year Reserved Instances at $0.142 and $0.1227 per hour respectively.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/36O659J and there’s a useful FAQ at the bottom of this page: http://bit.ly/2tsxXBO.

General Availability of Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft announce the General Availability of Windows Virtual Desktop on 30 September, 2019: http://bit.ly/33abTIG. This page is a useful reminder of the licences required to access WVD: http://bit.ly/2UxKalz, and it’s been updated with the changes to the Microsoft 365 licence assignment rules where customers can now assign Microsoft 365 licences to any user, regardless of the user’s primary device, to use WVD and Office 365 – see the September 2019 Product Terms for details. If you’re a partner, then you’ll find some useful partner resources on WVD here: http://bit.ly/33fm4eS.

Forms Pro Generally Available

Microsoft announce the General Availability of Forms Pro from 1st July 2019, a product that enables organisations to collect feedback from customers and employees and to gain actionable insights from the results. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2xDCgsR.

From a licensing perspective, Forms Pro with 2,000 survey responses per tenant per month is included for Dynamics 365 customers with the following licences:

  • Dynamics 365 Plan
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan
  • Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Plan
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Server Enterprise
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent
  • Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation

Additionally, there’s a pack of 2,000 survey responses available to purchase for $100 per tenant per month. This is suitable for the above customers who want to add extra survey responses, or for other Dynamics 365 customers who don’t have any of these qualifying licences, or for Office 365 customers who want to upgrade from the included not-as-full-featured Office 365 Forms product. Find this information here: http://bit.ly/2XvYaJ7.

And finally, with the release of Forms Pro, Microsoft announce the deprecation of the Voice of the Customer product. Existing customers will be able to create new surveys up until 1st July 2020, and after that survey data will be available and stored in Dynamics 365. Find further information here: http://bit.ly/30lEoSa.

Azure Cost Management

Microsoft announce the General Availability of Azure Cost Management for customers buying through Azure.com and Azure Government customers.

You can find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2LdDQLM with details of new features (a downloadable Azure usage CSV file) and the generally available features (cost analysis, budgets and exports).

There’s also information on what’s not currently supported: Marketplace purchases, data from earlier than September 2018, and Reserved Instances.

General Availability of System Center 2019

Microsoft announce the General Availability of System Center 2019 with no changes to the licensing or pricing.

There will no longer be Semi-Annual Channel releases, but new features will be delivered through Update Rollups. Note that System Center Configuration Manager will continue with a current branch release cadence of three times per year.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2T7YfQN.