Microsoft launches Azure VMs powered by new Ampere Altra Arm-based chips

Microsoft launches Azure VMs powered by new Ampere Altra Arm-based chips

Microsoft has announced the public preview of its new Azure virtual machines powered by the Arm-based Ampere Altra server processors.

The VM series includes the general-purpose Dpsv5 and memory-optimized Epsv5 virtual machines, which Microsoft claims can deliver up to 50% better price-performance than comparable IBM x86-based VMs.

The new VMs have been specifically engineered to efficiently run scale-out workloads, web servers, application servers, open-source databases, cloud-native and rich .NET applications, Java applications, gaming servers, and media servers.

“Azure customers will benefit from the improvements the new VMs provide in terms of scalability, performance, and operational efficiency,” Paul Nash, head of product at the Azure Compute Platform wrote in a blog post.

Ampere, the California-based chip startup that builds Arm-based server processors, first announced it would be partnering with Microsoft in May 2021.

The public preview is initially available upon request in the West US 2, West Central US, and West Europe Azure regions and prices of the VMs will vary based on region.

What’s in the Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm-based processors?

The Dpsv5 and Epsv5 VMs feature the Ampere Altra Arm-based processor, providing up to 64 virtual CPUs and up to 3GHz clock speeds. The processors come in 2GiB, 4GiB, and 8GiB per vCPU memory configurations, speeds of up to 40 Gbps and optional high-performance local SSD storage.

The Windows 11 Professional and Enterprise Edition, Ubuntu Linux, and CentOS operating systems are currently supported by the preview. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Flatcar support are all currently in development. The VMs have container support, too, via the Azure Kubernetes Service.

Last year AWS announced a host of new compute options based on custom silicon of its own, including C7g, a new EC2 instance powered by Graviton3, the latest iteration of its own Arm-based portfolio.