Microsoft has announced the general availability of a new series of VM sizes for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines and Web/Worker Roles called the D-Series.
These sizes offer up to 112 GB in memory with compute processors that are approximately 60 percent faster than the A-Series VM sizes, and have up to 800 GB of local SSD disk for blazingly fast reads and writes. The D-series instances are well suited for applications that demand faster CPU performance, local disk performance, or higher memories.
The new sizes are defined as follows:
Local Storage SSD Drive
On these new sizes, the temporary drive (D:\ on Windows, /mnt or /mnt/resource on Linux) are local SSDs. This high-speed local disk is best used for workloads that replicate across multiple instances, like MongoDB, or can leverage this high I/O disk for a local and temporary cache, like SQL Server 2014?s Buffer Pool Extensions. These drives are not guaranteed to be persistent. Thus, while physical hardware failure is rare, when it occurs, the data on this disk may be lost, unlike your OS disk and any attached durable disks that are persisted in Azure Storage.
SQL 2014 Buffer Pool Extensions
Buffer Pool Extensions (BPE), introduced in SQL Server 2014, allows extending the SQL Engine Buffer Pool using local SSDs to significantly improve the read latency of database workloads. The Buffer Pool is a global memory resource used to cache data pages for more efficient reads. Database read scenarios where the working set doesn’t fit in the memory will benefit significantly from configuring BPE.
With the local SSDs available on the D-Series Virtual Machines in Azure, you can now achieve unprecedented read speeds for SQL Server.
In addition to BPE, a common practice for SQL Server is to improve performance by configuring TempDB on SSDs. Now, you will be able to achieve this great performance in the Azure cloud as well by taking advantage of the local SSD provided in the Azure D-Series Virtual Machine.
Here’s a video for more information and a demo of the provisioning of the D-Series VM’s.