Microsoft brings ARM support to Azure virtual machines

It’s been a long road, but Microsoft announced a preview of Arm support on Azure virtual machines on April 4 through its work with Ampere Computing. Ampere is a startup that makes server chips. Ampere announced last year that it had signed up Microsoft and Tencent Holdings as major customers.

“We now also support Arm on Azure. It has been a long road to bring Ampere to Azure with Windows as the root host OS! We also support Windows 11 Arm VMs as developer preview!” Pulapaka Day’s tweeted, the director of PM for Azure Host OS and the Windows OS platform. “FYI, all Windows developers who have asked for VM support in Azure, it’s here now.”

Azure VMs with Ampere Altra Arm-based processors offer up to 50 percent better value for money than comparable x86-based VMs for scale-out workloads, Microsoft officials said. These new VMs are also for web servers, application servers, open source databases, gaming servers, media servers and more, she added.

The preview is initially available in the West US 2, West Central US, and West Europe Azure regions. Ampere’s announcement of the Azure VM preview is here.

The Dpsv5 and Epsv5 Azure VM series feature the Ampere Altra Arm-based processor operating at up to 3.0GHz, according to Microsoft’s blog post. The new VMs offer up to 64 vCPUs and include VM sizes with 2GiB, 4GiB, and 8GiB per vCPU memory configurations, up to 40 Gbps networking, and optional high-performance SSD local storage.

The VMs currently in preview support Canonical Ubuntu Linux, CentOS and Windows 11 Professional and Enterprise Edition on Arm. Support for additional operating systems, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Debian, AlmaLinux and Flatcar is on the way, officials said.

In 2020, Microsoft officially announced that it is partnering with Intel, AMD and two ARM vendors (Qualcomm and Cavium) to support Project Olympus, Microsoft’s next-generation cloud hardware design that is being delivered to the Open Compute Project. Microsoft has also announced that it has engaged with multiple ARM vendors, including Qualcomm and Cavium, to allow Windows Server to use ARM only for its own internal data center use.


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