August was a slow month for tech news, but Microsoft continued to update its Azure cloud platform with a variety of new features, including a new type of instance for high-performance computing. Here's the breakdown of all the features you need to know about:
A new instance type powered by Nvidia Tesla GPUs
Microsoft announced the private beta of a set of new compute instance types to power applications that need a lot of parallel processing. The new N-series virtual machines are powered by Nvidia's Tesla GPUs and built for high-performance computing.
The VMs come in two types, called the NC and NV series.
The NC-series instances are built for compute-focused workloads using CUDA or OpenCL. They're powered by Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs, with the most powerful instance getting 24 processor cores, 4 GPUs, 224GB of RAM and 1.44TB of solid-state storage.
NV-series instances are built for graphics-intensive visualization workloads like encoding and rendering. They're powered by Nvidia Tesla M60 GPUs.
All that power comes at a price. Even with a preview discount, the most powerful N-series VMs are the priciest instance type Microsoft offers in its South Central US region, which is the only one that has them available during the beta.
Azure Stack's 2nd tech preview starts rolling out
Microsoft announced that it's starting to roll out the second technical preview of its Azure Stack private cloud software to a hand-picked set of users, with a public beta of that version of the software coming later this year. It's hot on the heels of the company's announcement in July that Azure Stack will only run on certain converged hardware, not a broad swath of servers.