Devops

Maximize Your Cloud Efficiency with Azure Virtual Machine Types

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Introduction

Microsoft Azure holds a 23% market share and is the second-largest cloud service globally. Moreover, 63% of SMB (small and medium-sized) workloads and 62% of SMB data are now moved to the cloud

These stats are living proof of the significance of cloud services. Azure cloud services offer many benefits, making them ideal for on-prem to cloud migrations. 

One of their scalable and on-demand computing resources includes Azure VMs (virtual machines). They come in series or families that you can choose to get more control over the cloud computing environment.

What is Azure VM?

A virtual machine is a software-defined and code-based computer that exists within a physical server. Like physical computers, it consists of components like memory, CPU, and disks for storage and can also connect to the Internet (if required). 

A VM (typically called an image) acts like an actual computer. You can use it in Windows as a separate computing environment to run a different operating system. Yet, the software inside the VM is partitioned from the rest of the system. It doesn’t interfere with the host's computer's primary operating system. 

Uses of Azure Virtual Machines

Azure offers about 70 different VM types. They belong to 11 main VM families. Before you explore the types, take a quick look at various ways an Azure virtual machine can be used.

  • Development and test

They offer a quick and easy way to code and test an application after its deployment with specific configurations.

  • Applications in the cloud

It’s also economical to run your application on an Azure VM. You can deploy them whenever needed and shut them down when you don’t require them.

  • Extended datacenter

You can easily connect to your organization’s network using virtual machines in an Azure network. 

Azure Virtual Machine Types/Series 

The different types of Azure VMs come in series or families. For instance, A-series VMs include types such as Av2. Similarly, the D-series has types, including Dasv5, Dadsv5, Dpsv5, Dpdsv5, and more. Let’s learn more about the types below without any further delay!

1 - A-Series (Entry-Level VMs)

It is best suited for entry-level dev/test workloads with sufficient and ideal memory and CPU performance configurations. It is a low-cost (pricing starts from $11.68/mo) and economical option to get started. Av2 Standard is the latest generation of A-Series VMs with faster disks and more RAM per vCPU. Its example workloads include code repositorieslow-traffic web serverssmall to medium databases, and more. 

2 - Bs-Series (Economical burstable VMs)

This is an ideal series to consider if you want to run applications at a low to moderate baseline CPU utilization with a demand-driven burst to higher CPU utilization. It is a non-hyperthreaded series with example workloads ranging from low-traffic web serversmicroservicessmall databasesservers for proof-of-concepts, and more. The pricing starts from $3.80/mo.

3 - D-Series (General Purpose Compute)

It is a hyper-threaded VM series associated with most production workloads (pricing starts from $41.61/mo). Their Dv3 types operate on 2.3 GHz Intel® XEON ® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) and can expand up to 3.5 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. Its machine types include Dv3, Dv4, Ddv4, Dv5, Ddv5, Dav4, Dasv4, Dasv5, Dadsv5, Dpsv5Dpdsv5, and more. 

4 - E-Series (Optimized For In-Memory Applications)

This series (pricing starts from $58.40/mo) is optimized for in-memory applications like SAP HANA. The example workloads include the SAP NetWeaver application layer, large relational database servers, business intelligence applications, data warehousing workloads, and more. The machine types include Ev3, Ev4, Edv4, Ev5, Edv5, Eav4, Easv4, Easv5, Eadsv5, Ebds, Eps, and more.

5 - F-Series (Compute Optimized VMs)

These machines operate on a higher CPU-to-memory ratio. It is a hyper-threaded series (pricing starts from $35.77/mo) equipped with 2GB RAM and 16GB of local SSD per CPU score. Its Fsv2 machine type features 2 GiB RAM and 8 GB of local (SSD) per vCPU. The example workloads include web servers, batch processing, gaming, and analytics

6 - G-Series (Memory & Storage Optimized VMs)

These VMs feature two times more memory, Intel® Xeon® processor E5 v3 family, and 4x more SSDs than the general-purpose D-series. These machines are pretty expensive (pricing starts from $320.47/mo). The example workloads include ERP, large SQL and NoSQL databases, data warehousing, and SAP solutions

7 - H-Series (High-Performance Computing VMs)

It consists of HB and HC-series VMs. HB-series are optimized for high-performance applications, including weather simulation, financial analysis, and silicon RTL modelling. HB-series VMs provide clock frequencies up to 3.675 GHz350 GB/sec of memory bandwidth, and up to 7 GB/s of block device SSD performance. The pricing of these VMs starts from $581.08/mo.

8 - Ls-Series (Storage Optimized VMs

These VMs (pricing starts from $455.52/mo) are ideal for deploying applications requiring high throughput, low latency, and large local disk storage. The machine types include Lsv2Lasv3, and Lsv3. You can attach Standard HDDsStandard SSDsUltra Disks, and Premium SSDs based on regional availability. 

9 - M-Series (Memory Optimized VMs)

They are memory-optimized VMs ideal for workloads like SAP HANA,  SQL Hekaton, SAP S/4 HANA, and other in-memory business-critical workloads. It provides up to 4TB RAM and up to 128 vCPUs in a single VM. Its pricing starts from $1,121.28/mo

10 - Mv2-Series (Largest Memory Optimized VMs)

These are hyper-threaded VMs that provide up to 416 vCPU, and 3 TB, 6 TB, and 12 TB of memory configurations on a single VM. Its pricing starts from $16,286.30/mo its example workloads include SQL Hekaton, SAP HANA, SAP S/4 HANA, and other large in-memory business workloads. Plus, these machines feature Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180M 2.5GHz (Skylake) processors. 

11 - N-Series (GPU Enabled VMs)

These machine types (pricing starts from $657/mo) feature GPU capabilities. It has three different types, namely the NC-seriesNDs-series, and NV-series. The example workloads for these VMs include deep learningsimulation, video editing, graphics rendering, gaming, and remote visualization

Performance Metrics of Azure Virtual Machine Types/Series 

MetricDescriptionMonitoring ToolsOptimization Tips
CPU UtilizationMeasures the percentage of CPU capacity used.Azure Monitor, VM InsightsRight-size VMs and use auto-scaling.
Memory UsageIndicates the amount of RAM being used.Azure Monitor, Log AnalyticsAllocate sufficient memory, and upgrade VM size if needed.
Disk I/OMonitors the read/write operations on disk.Azure Monitor, Disk MetricsUse premium disks and optimize application I/O patterns.
Network ThroughputMeasures data transfer rates.Network Watcher, Azure MonitorUse VMs with better network capabilities and optimize configurations.
LatencyTracks response time for requests.Application Insights, Network Performance MonitorMinimize network hops, use faster disks, and optimize application code.
Disk Queue LengthIndicates the number of IO operations waiting to be processed.Azure MonitorUpgrade to SSDs, optimize disk performance.
Error RatesMeasures the rate of errors or failures.Azure Monitor, Application InsightsAnalyze and fix errors and improve application resilience.
AvailabilityTracks the uptime and availability of the VM.Azure Service HealthUse availability sets or zones.

Pricing List of Azure Virtual Machine Types/Series 

VM SeriesPricing (per hour)
A-series$0.018 - $0.078
B-series$0.006 - $0.204
D-series$0.096 - $1.52
E-series$0.126 - $4.596
F-series$0.068 - $1.352
G-series$0.648 - $9.66
Lsv2-series$0.504 - $8.064
M-series$1.965 - $15.751
N-series$0.90 - $3.90

Pricing Calculator for Azure Virtual Machine Types/Series 

Conclusion

So, Azure comes with a huge array of virtual machines that can handle various workload instances as we have discussed above. Each machine contains several memory configurations and thus pricing also varies based on the features. 

Also, every VM is labeled as either entry-level, memory-optimized, GPU-enabled, storage-optimized, or high-performance. It helps you decide on a specific VM based on your business needs. You can also consider factors like memory needs, CPU types, or storage requirements to choose a VM.

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