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Microsoft today announced the launch of a new type of compute-intensive virtual machine (VM) instances for its Azure public cloud, along with a public preview for a new cloud infrastructure monitoring service called Azure Monitor.

Azure Monitor gives Azure customers a tool for checking the status of Azure resources they’re using, including VMs. The service provides an activity log and metrics, and it lets users create shareable dashboards and sign up for notifications. It’s accessible from the Azure portal, but data can also be accessed through application programming interfaces (APIs), Azure Monitor senior program manager Ashwin Kamath wrote in a blog post.

Now Azure has its own first-party monitoring tool, just like public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) has CloudWatch and Google Cloud Platform has StackDriver.

Microsoft does already offer cloud-based monitoring tools, and some of them can be used as extensions of Azure Monitor. “Azure Monitor enables you to easily stream metrics and diagnostic logs to OMS [Operations Management Suite] Log Analytics to perform custom log search and advanced alerting on the data across resources and subscriptions,” Kamath wrote. “Azure Monitor metrics and logs for Web Sites and VMs can be easily routed to Visual Studio Application Insights, unlocking deep application performance management within the Azure portal.”

On top of that, Azure Monitor has integrations with monitoring and log analysis tools from other companies, including AppDynamics, Atlassian, Cloudyn, DataDog, New Relic, PagerDuty, Splunk, and Sumo Logic.

The new H-Series instances are now available only through the South Central US Azure region, with more geographical availability to come, Azure compute principal program manager Tejas Karmarkar wrote in a blog post. The instances have 8-16 cores, 56-224 GiB of RAM, and 1-2 TiB of solid-state local disk space.

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