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Microsoft’s Accelerated Networking for virtual machines now generally available

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Microsoft has announced the general availability of its Accelerated Networking (AN) for Azure virtual machines (VMs). The AN can be used for both Windows and latest distributions of Linux.

How does Accelerated Networking work?

In AN, the software defined networking (SDN) of Azure is moved from CPUs, into the SmartNICs (smart networking interface) based on FPGA (field programmable gate-array). It enables a single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) to a VM, which lessens the compute cycles by end user applications. Hence, the load on VMs is reduced, along with the decrease in inconsistency in latency.

Benefits of Accelerated Networking

The Accelerated Networking will speed up the networking throughput of Azure VMs up to 30 Gbps.

  • Low latency
  • Reduced jitter
  • Reduced CPU usage

Supported versions

AN supports Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and Windows Server 2016, and these VMs- D/DSv2, D/DSv3, E/ESv3, F/FS, FSv2, and Ms/Mms.

AN was available in public preview only till 4th January. In the generally available Accelerated Networking model, Microsoft has enhanced the deployment experience, and integrated it with the security patches to protect Windows and Linux users from Meltdown and Spectre.

“We’ve worked to optimize the CPU and disk I/O path and are not seeing noticeable performance impact after the fix has been applied. A small set of customers may experience some networking performance impact. This can be addressed by using Azure Accelerated Networking, for Windows or Linux, which is a free capability available to all Azure customers.”

Also read: Microsoft embraces Kubernetes to auto-scale deep learning training

The Accelerated Networking is now generally available in all public Azure regions.

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