UPDATED 21:21 EDT / AUGUST 15 2019

CLOUD

Microsoft launches Ultra Disk cloud storage service for data-intensive workloads

Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of its new Azure Ultra Disk solid-state drive storage service in three of its cloud regions.

Azure Ultra Disk is what the company calls a next-generation distributed block storage service, designed to cater to high-throughput and high-input/output Azure virtual machines. It’s currently available in the East US 2, North Europe and Southeast Asia regions, with more to come later.

The service might be a good option for “data-intensive workloads such as SAP HANA, top tier databases, and transaction-heavy workloads,” Microsoft said in a document.

Microsoft Azure Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich said in a blog post that Ultra Disk offers a variety of storage options ranging from 4 gigabytes to 64 terabytes. Users can also customize their throughput requirements from a range of 300 megabit per second up to 2,000 MB per second, and input/output operations can be set from 1,200 IOs per second to 160,000 IOs per second.

The main advantage of being able to customize these settings is that users can dynamically scale disk performance according to their workload requirements without needing to restart their virtual machines, Russinovich said. The settings can be adjusted on the fly, and will go into effect in less than an hour.

The CTO explained that Azure Ultra Disk use locally redundant storage to keep three copies of the data within a single Azure Availability Zone. They also rely on “virtual disk client” technology, which provides metadata on disk mappings. With this metadata, the client can talk directly to the storage servers, thereby reducing latency and delivering a performance that’s comparable to enterprise flash disk arrays, Russinovich said.

Azure Ultra Disk is priced on a per-hour basis, with the costs dependent on the exact disk size and performance configuration.

Photo: efes/Pixabay

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