Boost Your Azure Cloud Environment’s Network Performance

 In Microsoft Azure, Cloud, Microsoft

Cloud computing means working in a distributed environment, so the performance you experience will be highly affected by your network performance. This is especially true in the case of hybrid clouds. In this case, “your network” doesn’t mean just the connectivity between you and your cloud provider, but also the connectivity between the virtual machines (VMs) in your cloud provider’s data center. A new feature in Azure lets you boost this performance.

Network Performance in the Azure Data Center

Microsoft recently announced the rollout of new hardware which will enable faster networking between VMs in their Azure data centers. The new deployment uses chips called Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) to support Accelerated Networking and other functionality.

For users, the impact of turning on Accelerated Networking is highly improved inter-VM networking: their network latency can be reduced up to 10 times, dropping to just 25-50 microseconds.

Accelerated Networking works by enabling Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) on a VM. When Accelerated Networking isn’t active, all network traffic to or from the VM passes through a virtual switch that enforces security policies such as access control lists. When Accelerated Networking is active, that trip through the switch is eliminated. Instead, the traffic arrives at the Network Interface Card (NIC), policies are applied in hardware, and the traffic is passed directly to the VM.

In addition to reducing latency by eliminating the switch processing time, Accelerated Networking also reduces the jitter caused by the virtual switch’s variable performance as well as decreases CPU utilization by moving the tasks to the dedicated hardware.

Accelerated Networking is still in beta and will be rolled out through Microsoft Azure’s regions over time. Businesses can take other steps to improve performance while waiting for Accelerated Networking to become available in their region by optimizing their local networks. WAN acceleration lets you make use of caching, de-duplication, and compression to reduce your traffic demands and improve performance. You should also make use of traffic management strategies that prioritize your most critical traffic. These techniques are especially important if you have a hybrid cloud.

Keep in Mind Variable Workloads

Your network demands aren’t static over time, and workloads will vary both predictably due to application schedules and unpredictably due to changes in the business environment. Through using Microsoft Azure and careful network planning, your business can cope with these challenges.

The team at Prescient Solutions can help you figure out how to use Azure most effectively and make sure your network is up to the challenge. Contact us to learn how our certified professionals can help you take advantage of Accelerated Networking and other technologies to get the performance and services you need from your Azure cloud.

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