My Microsoft Ignite 2021 Spring Highlights

The corona situation brings new opportunities and one of them is that Microsoft Ignite going to a virtual conference twice a year. It used to be an in-person event only once a year. Last week the Microsoft Ignite 2021 spring conference started and in this article I will cover most of the highlights from my perspective. I would really appreciate your feedback on how valuable the article is.


Windows Server 2022 in preview

With Windows Server 2022 there coming the next Major release for as Windows Server OS. This release coming as the next LTSC release with lots of new features, such as new hybrid and security capabilities. Take a look at the MS Ignite Session about latest Azure innovation for SQL and Windows Servers

Passwordless Azure AD authentication is GA

To prevent phishing attacks Microsoft is part of the FIDO2 alliance. Azure AD supports long time ago the login with FIDO2 keys, but the service are in public preview. With this Ignite Microsoft move the service from Public Preview state into GA state and add some new capabilities, like the Temporary access pass. To unterstand how FIDO2 and TAP works, take a look at the short video. Passwordless authentication with FIDO2 keys, brings Identity Security to a new level. This prevents custom user passwords, enable higher security and preventing phishing attacks.

To enable passwordless login for the own Azure AD Tenant take a look at my blog article “Setup passwordless login for Azure & Microsoft 365 mit Yubico and FIDO2 (german)“.

Windows Admin Center in Azure Portal preview

Windows Admin Center is the successor of the Server Manager. WAC 2103 is now GA and brings the public preview of WAC in the Azure Portal.

Azure Automanage supports Linux

Azure Automanage graphic by Microsoft

Azure Automanage provides the ability to simplify and ease the management of Azure VMs. It automatically enables best practice recommendations for VMs, such as update management, backup, policies, and more. Azure Automanage expanded to support Linux distributions is now in preview. To learn more about Azure VM best practices and recommendations take a look at my article.

Azure Arc supports new workloads

Azure Arc portal server overview

With Azure Arc we get the opportunity to manage all our workloads from one central point of view. Azure Arc brings enable easier Servermanagement and brings our VMs into Azure and we can integrate them into Update Management, enable Azure Policy and integrate them into Security Center. The MS Ignite brings new capabilites for Container and Machine-learning.

Azure Purview Updates

I like the idea behind Azure Purview – a central data governance service for all the data regardless of where they are located. Azure Purview was announced in early December 2020. DIe MS Ignite brings more new updates that expand the capabilities for Azure Purview.

New Azure Backup capabilities

Backup Center is now GA

A long-requested feature has been the ability to centrally manage different Recovery Service Vault from a single point of view. Azure Backup Center provides this capability, allowing different Recovery Service Vault and Backup Vault running in different subscriptions to be managed in one central location.

Azure Backup now supports archive tier for Azure VMs and SQL Server VMs in Azure

Another long-awaited feature was enabling an archive tier for backup data to save costs and make the service more efficient. This is now available as a limited preview for Azure VMs and SQL Server running in Azure VM. You can access this feature via the article link (header). Please use this opportunity to provide feedback to improve the service and support the product group.

Azure Disk ZRS enhancements for Standard and Premium SSD

To enable higher availability for Azure VMs, Microsoft has released the limited preview of Zone Redundant Storage for Azure disks such as Standard and Premium SSD. This feature enables continuous data replication between both disks and tolerates hardware failures and natural disasters in the region.

Azure Public IP SKU upgrade GA

Public IP addresses now support the ability to be upgraded from Basic to Standard SKU and retain the same IP.

Project Bicep v. 0.3.1 announced

Infrastructure as Code is a powerful way to deploy fast and reliable resources using the ARM API in Azure. We natively provide ARM templates based on JSON for the ARM API. Anyone working with ARM templates knows that this can be very complex and ARM templates grow quickly. With Project Bicep, Microsoft has released a new option to write simpler and more readable templates for IaC on Azure. With v. 0.3.1, Project Bicep leaves experimental status and now we can deploy Bicep files directly to ARM. If you write your own templates, you should take a look at this new capability to simplify template editing and management.

Inside Azure Datacenter MS Ignite 2021 spring edition

Mark Russinovich is CTO for Azure and founder ot the Sysinternals Tools. He founded the Inside Azure Datacenter series and release every MS Ignite a new edition with the newest Azure features. This video is a must see to get a short overview about the newest features.

You can find all new MS Ignite 2021 spring announcements in the Book of News 🙂


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