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Intel Powers Memory-Optimized Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) Featuring Deep Learning Boost Technology

With Azure Virtual Machines or VMs, users can successfully create a high-performance Scale-Out/Scale-In silicon design strategy. These help DevOps teams to achieve significant run-time speedup and cost optimization.

Intel’s Deep Learning Boost Technology (Intel DL Boost) is now the central feature of new general purpose and memory-optimized Azure Virtual Machines (VM). Microsoft has announced that the new Azure VMs are based on the second generation Xenon Platinum Cascade Lake (8272 CL) configuration, capable of running at 2.5 GHz and all-core turbo frequency of 3.4 GHz. Powered by Intel DL Boost, the Azure VMs also features other top-end technologies, including the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512), Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, and Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology.

For users working with the v3 VMs, switching to v4 sizes will deliver a better price-per-core performance option.

What is Intel Deep Learning Boost (DL Boost) Technology?

Intel DL Boost Technology is a scalable embedded AI performance enhancer for complex IT workloads. It is fitted into the Intel Xeon Scalable processors to extend inference performance for Deep Learning workloads to handle the Vector Neural Network Instructions extension (VNNI). These VNNI AVX 512 are used in new-age AI applications such as Voice/Speech recognition, Object Classification, Language Translation and Image Processing, and much more.

With Intel’s DL Boost Technology at its core, Azure VMs will run a totally new line of families –

  • Azure Ddv4 and Ddsv4 and Edv4 and Edsv4; (general availability)
  • Azure Dv4 and Dsv4 and Ev4 and Esv4 (only preview).

These VMs rely on remote disks without expanding on temporary local storage, impacting performance by up to 20% of local CPU usage compared to all previous versions of Azure VM families.

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Specific Features of Azure VMs Running on Intel DL Boost

The new DDv4 and Ddsv4, and Edv4 and Edsv4 have a much larger SSD storage designed to amplify benefits from low latency and temporary storage requirements. High-speed local storage enable IT teams to manage caches or temporary files better and faster.

The previous generation of Azure VMs includes AV-series, B-series, DCv2-series and so on. These were deployed to protect various operations in CPU and GPU configuration, data management and coding facility, in addition to enhancing value proposition of the various general-usage workloads.

Apart from greater local storage, these VMs are also capable of offering better local disk IOPS for both Read and Write operations.

New VMs from Azure powered by the Intel Boost technology can balance memory-to-CPU performance up to 2400 GiB and 64 vCPUs. According to Microsoft Azure, these scenarios are ideal for development and testing, small to medium databases, and low-to-medium traffic web servers.

On the other hand, the Edv4 series includes 504 GiB of RAM, and also include local SSD storage (up to 2,400 GiB) meant for the operational management of the RDBs and in-memory analytics.

At the time of this announcement, Intel’s Jason Grebe, CVP Cloud and Enterprise, explained the deeper nuances of working with Azure VMs. Jason said, “The launch of Azure D-v4 and E-v4-series virtual machines further extends the Microsoft IaaS portfolio to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Powered by 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon Scalable Processors, these virtual machines o**** optimized application performance for web and data services, desktop virtualization and business applications moving to Azure.”

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