Microsoft Releases FreeBSD Virtual Machine Image for Azure

by Pedro Hernandez

The new image, based on FreeBSD 10.3, is intended to help make Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform more welcoming to virtual appliances.

Microsoft has released a FreeBSD virtual machine (VM) image to the Azure cloud computing marketplace, announced Jason Anderson, a Microsoft Open Source Technology Center principal program manager. FreeBSD is an open-source, Unix-like operating system that has proven popular with major virtual appliance vendors, one of the main reasons Microsoft decided to float is own FreeBSD VM image for Azure, he said.

Previously, running a FreeBSD image on the cloud platform required importing a custom image. Now, with the availability of the new image on the Azure Marketplace, users can massively streamline the process of setting up a FreeBSD VM. Azure customers can find the image by typing "FreeBSD 10.3" in the Marketplace's search box.

Observant administrators will notice that Microsoft is listed as the publisher of the FreeBSD VM image, instead of the FreeBSD Foundation. "In order to ensure our customers have an enterprise SLA [service-level agreement] for their FreeBSD VMs running in Azure, we took on the work of building, testing, releasing and maintaining the image in order to remove that burden from the Foundation," explained Anderson, in a blog post. "We will continue to partner closely with the Foundation as we make further investments in FreeBSD on Hyper-V and in Azure."

Also this week, Microsoft announced a new class of Azure VM sizes called the F-Series. The 10 new F-Series VMs are suitable for batch processing, game servers, Web servers and similar workloads that don't require vast amounts of memory or SSD capacity. F-Series VMs run on servers powered by 2.4GHz Xeon E5-2673 v3 processors from Intel. When Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 kicks in, the processors can achieve clock speeds of up to 3.1GHz.

The introduction of the F-Series also serves as the debut of a new, more descriptive Azure VM naming scheme that better represents the cloud resources customers are paying for.

"For this series and VM sizes released in the future, the numeric value after the family name letter will match the number of CPU cores," wrote Drew McDaniel, principal program manager of Microsoft Azure Compute in a June 8 announcement. For example, the new Standard_F8 VM, denotes that it uses eight CPU cores.

"Additional capabilities, such as optimized for premium storage, will be designated by letters following the numeric CPU core count," continued McDaniel. Microsoft has no plans to retroactively rename existing VM sizes, he said.

For administrators who use the Azure Storage Explorer client to manage their cloud storage, Microsoft on June 9 announced a new update that includes a guided storage account connection experience, fixes to issues affecting large blob uploads, new file-management tools and other enhancements.

"For Azure Files, you'll be able to create and delete File Shares and view their contents," said Cristy Gonzalez, a program manager for Microsoft Azure Tools, in a June 9 announcement. "You'll also be able to upload and download individual files as well as directories."

Originally published on eWeek.
This article was originally published on Thursday Jun 9th 2016
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