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Microsoft Azure First to Offer VMs Running on AMD Epyc Rome

AMD EPYC Processor

(Image credit: AMD)

Microsoft Azure is the first public cloud services to offer customers instances, or virtual machines (VMs), using AMD's latest Epyc Rome processors, Microsoft announced at its Ignite 2019 conference this week, as detailed by HPCwire . Microsoft was also one of the first to adopt AMD’s first-generation Epyc server processors in 2017, which it used for storage workloads. 

AMD announced its 7nm Epyc Rome server CPUs in August. The processors feature up to 64 cores and 128 threads. Microsoft's fourth-generation D-series and E-series VMs run on the latest Epyc 7452 32-core server processors and are now generally available to Azure customers. 

Azure’s fourth-generation D-series instances (Da_v4 and Das_v4) target enterprise-grade applications, relational databases, in-memory caching and analytics. These are Microsoft’s fastest VMs in thus class and are powered by Epyc 7452 processors that support up to 96 vCPUs, 384GB of DDR4 RAM and 2.4TB of SSD-based temporary storage for each VM.

The fourth-generation E-series VMs (Ea_v4 and Eas_v4) target business-critical workloads that need large amounts of memory. These virtual machines also run on Epyc 7452 CPUs, supporting up to 96 vCPUs, 674GB of DDR4 RAM and 2.4TB SSD-based temporary storage for each VM. Microsoft and AMD have claimed that these Azure E-series instances offer a 22% better performance per dollar compared to competing offerings.

Azure also introduced the NVv4 instance series for virtual desktops powered with the 64-core Epyc 7742 CPUs and Radeon Instinct MI25 GPUs. The new NVv4 instances, which target visualization applications on virtual desktops, also tap Vega MI25 GPUs. In a blog post, AMD said that this is “the first VM on Microsoft Azure to take advantage of SR-IOV technologies (Single-root input/output virtualization) and introduces GPU partitioning across four new options.” This means that a single GPU can support up to eight VMs.

Azure also previewed its HBv2 instance running on Epyc 7742. The HBv2 instance supports 200 Gbps HDR InfiniBand and can scale to 80,000 cores. According to AMD, it will be available by the end of the year in the South Central U.S. and West Europe Azure regions.