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Developing Cloud-native Applications with New Arm Neoverse CSS-based Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100 Virtual Machines  

Microsoft announces preview of new Azure virtual machines based on its Arm-powered Cobalt 100 CPU.
By Pranay Bakre, Principal Solutions Engineer, Arm

Custom silicon helps address the computing challenges of modern infrastructure, such as growing compute complexity in the age of AI. Solutions built using Arm Neoverse Compute Subsystems (CSS), like the Microsoft Azure Cobalt 100, are tailored to run modern general-purpose cloud workloads and optimized to deliver greater efficiency and performance for cloud-native offerings.

Arm-based VMs in Azure

For the past several years, Microsoft has collaborated with Arm to deliver Arm Neoverse-based virtual machines (VMs) in Azure. These VMs can demonstrate the price-performance and power efficiency gains compared to other architectures. Microsoft is also enabling the adoption of cloud-native technologies on Arm-based systems by providing developers with the tools and resources they need to succeed. With Arm’s proven track record in power efficiency and scalability, developers are embracing the enhanced performance and cost-effectiveness when running their workloads in Azure.

Preview of new Cobalt 100-based Azure VMs at Microsoft Build

Today at Microsoft Build, Microsoft announced a preview of the new Azure VMs – Dpsv6/Dplsv6 (general purpose) and Epsv6 (memory optimized) – based on the Cobalt 100 CPU. These VMs support a wide variety of compute workloads, such as open-source databases, application servers, web servers, media servers, microservices, containerized applications, and CI/CD pipelines for development and test environments. This latest announcement from Microsoft reflects its fast-paced commitment to driving innovation in the cloud – on Arm.

The benefits to developers

The Arm-based Cobalt 100 VMs will also offer seamless integration with Microsoft Azure services, such as the Azure Kubernetes Service. This allows developers to focus on building innovative solutions without worrying about the underlying infrastructure complexities.

Moreover, Arm’s mature cloud-native software ecosystem enables developers to build and run their applications efficiently, sustainably and with better performance on Arm Neoverse-based VMs in the cloud. This software ecosystem grows each day, with native support for the following:

  • All major Linux OS distributions, including Ubuntu, RHEL and more;
  • Databases, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and Redis;
  • Languages and frameworks, such as Java and .NET;
  • Containers and orchestration technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes; and
  • CI/CD tools, such as GitHub Actions, GitLab and Circle CI.

In Microsoft Azure, developers can leverage the native integration of Arm-based VMs with managed services, like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), to deploy their cloud-native containerized workloads. Additionally, they can build the application source code with native Arm-based GitHub Actions runner and deploy it in the cloud.

The figure below showcases a native development workflow with Arm-based native GitHub Actions as CI/CD and deployment on AKS. It goes as follows:

  1. A developer commits a change to the application source code hosted in a GitHub repository.
  2. Arm-based GitHub Actions runner picks up the build and compiles the source code.
  3. This build gets pushed to Azure Container Registry and deployed on the AKS cluster running Arm-based Cobalt 100 VM nodes.
ComponentVM Type
Cloud-native Containerized Application D2ps_v6
AKS ClusterD4ps_v6
GutHub Actions RunnerManaged Arm-based Instance

The latest Arm ecosystem developments

To further enhance the experience of developers and helping them with finding software packages and ISVs that are supported on Arm Neoverse-based platforms, we have recently launched the Software Ecosystem Dashboard. This dashboard gives developers a holistic view of software packages supported on Arm and provides guidance on the versions and documentation links. For more information on the dashboard, please read this blog.

Furthermore, Arm is actively working to enable a broad ecosystem of partners and developers to take advantage of Arm-based platforms. Through initiatives, such as the Arm Developer Program and ecosystem partnerships, we aim to foster a thriving community of innovators driving the next wave of cloud-native solutions. One such effort is our Learning Paths, which provide technical guidance to developers on how to develop their software on Arm-based platforms. These are created by Arm experts and community members in the Arm Developer Program and cover a wide range of technologies.

Accelerating infrastructure innovation

The preview of the new Azure VMs at Microsoft Build is a great example of the exciting computing innovation from our partners in the infrastructure market that use Arm as their technology foundation. Through leveraging the strength of the Arm Neoverse platform and broad software ecosystem, Microsoft is unlocking the efficiency, performance and flexibility capabilities required for developers to deliver innovative software and services for the next decade of compute.

To try the new Azure Cobalt 100 VMs or signup for the preview click here.

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