Last July Microsoft announced the new Azure Boost in Preview. Azure Boost is a new system that offloads virtualization processes traditionally performed by the hypervisor and host OS, such as networking, storage, and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software. By separating hypervisor and host OS functions from the host infrastructure, Azure Boost enables greater network and storage performance at scale, improves security by adding another layer of logical isolation, and reduces the maintenance impact for future Azure software and hardware upgrades.
Azure Boost will give a performance boost of 200 Gbps networking throughput and a whopping 400.000 IOPS for storage workloads reaching a 10 GBps throughput. These performance gains are available for customers participating in the Preview of Azure Boost.
Azure Boost has also been providing benefits to millions of existing Azure VMs in production today, for example in the storage performance of the Ebsv5 VM series and networking throughput and latency improvements for the entire Ev5 and Dv5 VM series.
How does it work?
This enormous performance improvement has been made possible by a custom adapter designed for the workloads hosted in Azure. This adapter has received the name Microsoft Azure Network Adapter (MANA). This adapter has been designed with optimal performance, improved reliability and improved security for virtual machines while providing a set of stable forward compatible device drivers for Linux and Windows operating systems. This means that Azure Boost can be expanded to the full network.
Another benefit of offloading Azure loads from the OS layer to dedicated hardware is that there is less downtime required to complete host updates.