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FAQs

General Issues Registration Issues Billing, Subscription and Fapiao Technical Issues Online Purchase Customer Support Enterprise Customer Support Expand All

1 General inquiries

  • What is Azure?

    Azure is a flexible and open cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications in your data center. Azure supports all major operating systems, languages, and development tools and integrates public cloud applications with the existing IT infrastructure.

    Azure offers international standard Service Level Agreements that enable you to build and run highly available applications without having to focus on the infrastructure. It provides the ability to automatically repair operating systems and services and has built-in network load balancing and hardware error recovering capabilities. It supports the deployment models that allow you to upgrade applications with no downtime.

    Azure enables you to generate applications in any language and by any framework or tool; Azure utilizes the public functions and services of open REST protocol. Azure’s client libraries are available in a variety of programming languages, are published under open source licenses and hosted on GitHub.

    Azure offers a flexible cloud platform that meets the needs of any application.

  • What are the prices of Azure services in China?

    We will continue to update and release more information on pricing. You can get the latest information on the Pricing Page.

  • Are Azure services in China the same as Azure services in other areas?

    In China, Azure is operated by Shanghai Blue Cloud Technology Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijing 21Vianet Broadband Data Center Co., Ltd. (abbreviated as “21Vianet”). 21Vianet is China’s largest neutral third-party Internet infrastructure service telecommunications provider to which Microsoft has authorized technologies. In China, Azure combines Microsoft’s global technologies and 21Vianet’s local operating experience to build an enterprise-level international cloud computing platform for China.

    Outside China, Microsoft Azure is operated by Microsoft itself. China’s Azure customers will be able to enjoy entirely the same user experiences and service level as customers in other areas.

  • What is an SLA (Service Level Agreement)? What kind of SLA does Azure offer in China?

    We provide international class Service Level Agreements for each of the official and commercial Azure services. If the corresponding service level is not reached, the customer can enjoy the corresponding service fee deduction. Details on SLAs provided by Azure in China are listed at: Service Level Agreements.

  • Any examples of success stories of Azure in China?

    In China, a large number of enterprises like GMW.cn, Linekong, Spring Airlines, Mobike, Digital China, Coca Cola, Kingdee, PPTV, ChinaCache, and Qoros have landed onto the Azure platform in China. Please go to the Success Stories page for more information on these cases.

  • How are Virtual Machines charged? Why does my virtual machine still incur costs when it’s closed?

    Virtual Machines billing is divided into two parts: the cost of the virtual machine itself and the cost produced by the disk (divided into hosting disk and non-hosting disk), so as long as your virtual machine and the disk are not deleted, this part of the disk storage cost always exists. Please refer to the Price Details of Disk Storage for billing standards.

    In addition, you should note that two virtual machine statuses “Suspended” and “Suspended (de-allocated)” are charged differently. Please refer to the following table:

    Status Virtual machine cost Disk cost Detailed information
    Starting Up Yes Yes This is the initial starting state of the virtual machine, during which the machine is going through a startup cycle and is charged as normal, as the virtual machine is running.
    Running (already started) Yes Yes The virtual machine is running and will be charged as normal.
    Suspended Yes Yes The shutdown operation is performed through the virtual machine, and the virtual machine will be in a "Suspended (de-allocated)" state. During this time, the core is not released, so the virtual machine is still being charged.
    stopped-deallocated No Yes The shutdown operation is performed through the Azure portal, and the virtual machine will be “Suspended (de-allocated)”. During this time, the computing resources will no longer be allocated to the virtual machine, so the virtual machine will no longer be charged for. However, at this time, the cost of disk storage still exists, as the disk still exists.
    Deleted (including the disk) No No You should ensure the disk has been deleted while deleting the virtual machine. Otherwise, there will still be disk storage costs.
  • How do I choose between Azure computing services: Web Apps, Cloud Services or Virtual Machines? If I’m an enterprise user, which service should I select to migrate the existing enterprise applications to the Azure cloud computing platform when provided with these three different computing capabilities?

    According to the following characteristics, you can select the service that is suitable for your needs:

      Characteristics Suitable for
    Web Apps
    1. You can easily deploy a highly scalable cloud environment by building a highly scalable website on Azure, which can start at a very small scale.
    2. You can use language and open source applications selected by you, such as WordExpress, FTP, Git or TFS, and easily integrate Azure services, such as SQL databases, caches, CDN, and storage.
    1. Modern Web Apps. Include client scripts, server-side scripts and database applications, and can be scaled horizontally.
    2. Continuous development. You can use Git or Team Foundation directly from the source code libraries for deployment.
    3. Using open source applications. You can directly use open source applications, such as WordPress.
    Cloud Service
    1. Expand your enterprise applications on Azure.
    2. A rich PaaS environment is utilized to create highly available and scalable applications and services. Premium multi-layer architecture, automatic deployment and elastic computing are supported.
    3. Through a virtual network, you can connect the network of the local LAN to the Azure public cloud network to allow the enterprise network to enjoy the highly elastic computing and interoperability brought by the public cloud, while ensuring network security.
    1. For multi-layer applications, each layer can expand itself. When using Web Role and Worker Role, the Web Role can respond to the display at the front end, while the complex business is handled at the back end.
    2. Advanced management. You can use Cloud Service if your application requires administrator rights, remote desktop access, or upgraded authority to run the code.
    3. Private cloud + public cloud. You can use Azure Connect for point-to-point connection with the Azure public cloud or use the Azure virtual network to connect the enterprise internal or private network to the public cloud.
    Virtual Machines VM
    1. IaaS service is provided and the Windows and Linux operating systems are supported.
    2. You can easily deploy and run Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and transfer the operating load in a few minutes, without changing the existing code. For an application based on Windows OS, you can transfer it to Hyper-V and save it as a VHD file and upload it to Azure for deployment and hosting.
    3. Virtual network support. You can connect your LAN enterprise application with the public cloud directly and enjoy the convenience of cloud computing.
    1. Windows or Linux support. You can quickly transfer the existing Windows or Linux applications to Azure.
    2. More service applications are supported. You can use SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, and SharePoint applications in Azure.
    3. Transferring existing applications to the public cloud is supported. You can save persistent non-relational data in Azure VHD.
  • How can Azure services in China ensure the security of users’ data and services?

    The security and stability of Cloud Services have always been the focus of the industry. As the first international public cloud service landed in China, Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet has gained recognition from many industry users, and provided users with reliable, flexible and highly valuable public Cloud Services.

    By means of being the first to land all-round cloud services, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, in China, and reliable localized operation, international standard monthly Service Level Agreements with financial security, powerful data security, rich client returns and other advantages, Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet has obtained 6 credible cloud certifications including cloud, cloud engine (Cloud Services) and the whole network load balancing (Traffic Manager), representing recognition from the industry for the quality of localized international cloud service provided by 21Vianet.

    Moreover, according to the GBT 22240-2008 Information Security Technology – Guide on Determination of Security Protection Levels for Information Systems, the assessment organization authorized by the Ministry of Public Security has conducted an assessment of Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet as per GB/T 22239-2008 Information Security Technology – Basic Requirements of Security Protection Levels of Information Systems. Azure’s information security protection has been classified as Level 3 (Information System Classified Security Protection (DJCP), Level 3) and been issued with record-keeping certification.

    In full compliance with China’s policies and regulations, Azure data service in China provides up to six geo-redundant backups, distributed in 2 data centers (China North and China East). In addition, with decades of experience in providing enterprise customers with online services which are applied in the Azure platform, we strive to keep the leading position in the industry in terms of security, privacy and control and compliance practices.

    For more details, see the Data Security, Privacy and FAQ pages in the Azure Trust Center.

  • I have an MSDN subscription, and when I enable “Azure Benefit” for my account, is this service also available in Azure China?

    No. China's Azure service is operated by 21Vianet. The Azure Benefit in your account can only be operated on platforms in other areas of Azure. MSDN accounts cannot be enabled on Azure China's platform operated by 21Vianet. If you're interested in applying for one of the Microsoft Azure services operated by 21Vianet, please fill out the Azure Trial Application Form to experience Azure with the 1RMB Trial plan.

  • What kind of roles does Microsoft play in Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet?

    Microsoft Azure in China is a public cloud platform that is operated and sold independently by 21Vianet on the Chinese mainland. Based on Microsoft's decades of rich online service experience in global enterprise customers, Azure, a world-class technology, has been developed to fully serve China's customers, so as to provide a consistent service quality guarantee for our customers all over the world.

  • Where can I find details on the new features?

    You can find the details of the new features through the Latest Announcements.

  • How will 21Vianet use the information I stored in Azure?

    21Vianet will only use your customer data stored in Azure to provide you with Azure services. These services may include the troubleshooting for preventing, detecting, or fixing issues that affect the operation of Azure and the improvement of features that detect and resist emerging and evolving threats to users (such as malicious software and junk mail).

    As per 21Vianet policy, in addition to providing you with cloud productivity services, we will never mine or use your customer’s data for advertising purposes. If you want to know more about our promise regarding your data, please go to the Privacy and FAQ pages in the Azure Trust Center.

  • I want to learn more about Azure. In addition to the Starter Guide, do you have any further study materials?

    You can browse the Documentation Center.

    This page contains links and the following content:

    • Developer center: .NET, Node.js, Java, Python
    • Details of various services: Compute Services, Data Services, App Services, Network
    • Multiple resources: architectural structure, reference documentation, advice on effective use, performance, and answer to questions, etc.

    Publish and search questions in the Azure Forum.

    Browse the Azure School for related Azure courses and expert columns.

    View Common Operations Guide for FAQs and answers under Azure support.

  • Are all data stored in Azure encrypted?

    All data stored in Azure Storage is encrypted. Please refer to Azure Storage Service Encryption for Data at Rest for details.

Registration Questions

Billing, subscription, and Fapiao

  • What should I do if I cannot complete the full subscription ID due to the bank’s limits?

    You can send the following remittance information to azure_invoice@oe.21vianet.com, so that we can distinguish the remittance sources and recharge your subscription in a timely manner.

    • Subscription ID (you can sign in to the Azure Account Center, click the subscription name, and the Subscription ID will appear on the right side of the page).
    • Remittance amount
    • Remittance date
    • Remittance bank account
    • Name of remitter (remitter on the remittance slip)
    • Company name
    • Mobile phone of contact
  • How can I upgrade the 1RMB Trial to a Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription, or recharge a Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription?

    The Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription supports three payment methods, i.e. Alipay, UnionPay and Online Payment and wire transfer, and each payment method has the minimum recharge amount. If you select "Alipay" or "UnionPay Online" and other methods of online remittance, after clicking on "Upgrade" or "Recharge", enter the recharge amount according to the prompt (the minimum amount is ¥ 1,000, and the maximum amount is ¥ 150,000), and then click on the check mark. The payment page will appear and you should follow the instructions to complete the payment. If you select wire transfer, the minimum recharge amount should be ¥ 5,000. Please refer to recharging Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscriptions for details.

    Note: Microsoft Azure services currently operated by 21Vianet only accepts payments in ¥ .

  • How to download and analyze the monthly usage report?

    Users purchasing online (including 1RMB Trials and Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscriptions)

    • Download

      The usage report can be obtained via the platform, including the monthly consumption summary, billing amount and daily consumption of each service. This operation is restricted to the account managers who purchase subscriptions online. For detailed steps, please refer to Downloading monthly usage reports for online purchasers.

    • Analysis

      The monthly usage report is presented in Excel format, which consists of three parts:

      * Subscription and account validity information

      * Monthly service usage and billing information

      * Daily service usage

      Refer to Understanding monthly usage reports for details.

    Enterprise Agreement User

    • Download

      You can sign into the Enterprise Portal to view the historic usage and current remaining amount in the contract. The usage in the system can be delayed for up to 5 days, and you can see the details by date through the Download Usage feature.

      The Enterprise Portal provides customers with three viewing methods: monthly report downloading, Premium report downloading and API access key. The monthly report and advanced report provide the service content, service amount and the corresponding billing amount consumed in each department, account and subscription every day up to the date of the report. Please refer to Downloading usage reports for Enterprise Agreement users for details.

    • Analysis

      The monthly usage report is presented in CSV format, which provides each account and the corresponding usage information every day, including usage and the corresponding costs. Please refer to Understanding Monthly Usage Reports for details.

    In order to help you better use Azure and boost your cloud business, Azure provides you with informative training tutorials. You can refer to the Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA billing portal training at the Azure Video Center to understand the specific operations for creating pivot tables through bills.

  • How are the remaining days and remaining credits viewed?
    1. Sign into the Azure Account Center
    2. Click the subscription for which you want to view the remaining days and the remaining credits
    3. The remaining days and remaining credits are displayed on the right side of the page
  • Under what circumstances will my subscription be suspended? How can I reactivate it?
    • 1RMB Trial subscription

      When the remaining usage of your subscription is 0 or when the usage credits expire, your subscription will be disabled. You need to recharge it within 15 days and upgrade the subscription to the Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription, and then you may continue to use this subscription.

    • Standard Pay-in-advance (PIA) subscription

      When the remaining usage of your subscription is 0 or when the usage is expired, your subscription will be disabled. You need to recharge it within 90 days to resume this subscription.

    • Enterprise Agreement User

      * When the excessive amount or annual order is not paid, your subscription will be disabled. After you finish the payment, the business team will help you manually restart the contract and subscription.

      * When your subscription is unexpectedly canceled by the account owner, you need to contact the 21Vianet support staff to help you manually restart it.

      If the subscription is disabled for other reasons, please contact the 21Vianet support team for help.

  • What will happen to me after my subscription is disabled? Will my data be preserved? Can I take out the data in my subscription?

    When your subscription is suspended, the resource services deployed in the subscription will be suspended and the resources (this also applies to the data in temporary storage, IP addresses, VPN Gateway, Application Gateway etc.) will be released. You can still sign into the portal to view the resources, but you can't edit them.

    The data in your subscription will be preserved, but at the time, the data cannot be backed up. The data can be exported only after the subscription is reactivated. If it is not recharged within the specified period, your subscription and all the data in the subscription will be automatically deleted.

    * After the 1RMB Trial subscription is suspended, all service resources (this also applies to the data in temporary storage, IP addresses, VPN Gateway, Application Gateway etc.) except the data stored in the storage account will be released. Data stored in the storage account will kept for 15 days, and if you recharge it within 15 days, the subscription can be resumed. Once the subscription resume, you need to re-deploy the resource services as they have been released and cannot be recovered.

    * After the Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription is suspended, all service resources (this also applies to the data in temporary storage, IP addresses, VPN Gateway, Application Gateway etc.) except the data stored in the storage account will be released. Data stored in the storage account will kept for 90 days, and if you recharge it within 90 days, the subscription can be resumed. Once the subscription resume, you need to re-deploy the resource services as they have been released and be recovered.

    * After the Enterprise Agreement subscription is suspended, all service resources (this also applies to the data in temporary storage, IP addresses, VPN Gateway, Application Gateway etc.) except the data stored in the storage account will be released. Data stored in the storage account will kept for 90 days and you need to pay for the excess amount and annual order within 90 days. You can contact 21Vianet customer support to help you restart the subscription. Once the subscription resume, you need to re-deploy the resource services as they have been released and cannot be recovered.

  • What are the payment methods for my subscription? Can I change after the selection?
    • 1RMB Trial subscription

      * New purchase: The two online payment methods of Alipay and UnionPay Online are supported, and the payment method cannot be changed before the recharge order fails.

      * Upgrade now: The three online payment methods of Alipay, UnionPay Online and wire transfer are supported, and the payment method cannot be changed before the recharge order fails.

    • Standard Pay-in-advance (PIA) subscription

      * New purchase: The three online payment methods of Alipay, UnionPay Online and wire transfer are supported, and the payment method cannot be changed before the recharge order fails.

      * Recharge: The three online payment methods of Alipay, Unionpay Online and wire transfer are supported, and the payment method can be changed at any time.

  • How can I deal with an interruption in the process of using Alipay or UnionPay Online when purchasing a standard Pay-in-Advance account?

    Sign into Azure Account Center and click the yellow bar on the underside of the subscription to continue to pay.

    Note: Using the UnionPay Online payment, after the order is submitted, the payment should be completed within 15 minutes. If the payment time is over 15 minutes, the payment may not be successfully done and the order should be resubmitted.

  • How can I get my unpaid order? How long is the valid period of the order?
    • Alipay Orders

      Alipay orders are valid for 3 days. If you fail to complete the payment in time during the payment process, you can see the relevant prompt in the Azure Account Center within 3 days: "Your ¥ 1,000.00 payment is waiting to be completed. If you have already completed the payment, please check it later. Click here to complete payment before XX/XX/XXXX." Click this prompt to continue your payment. Alipay orders cannot be canceled manually. The system will automatically cancel them three days later.

    • UnionPay Online Orders

      UnionPay online orders generally expire within 1 hour, after which the Azure Account Center will give you the prompt: “Recharge on your subscription failed. Please click here to try again”. At this point, you can make the payment again and change the payment method.

    • Wire Transfer Orders

      Wire transfer orders shall be valid for 7 working days. If the payment is not completed within 7 working days, the wire transfer order will be cancelled on the back-end. If you need to cancel the wire transfer order, you need to contact the 21Vianet service hotline at 400-089-0365.

      Please refer to the Introduction to Wire Transfers for operation steps and remittance information.

  • What should I do if I enter the wrong account/amount when I make a payment, and the payment is not completed?
    • If you are upgrading the 1RMB Trial to a Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription or purchasing a Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription for the first time, you will be required to resubmit the order and pay for it after the expiry of the order. (UnionPay online orders are valid for 1 hour/Alipay orders are valid for 3 days/wire transfer orders are valid for 7 working days).
    • If you are recharging the Standard Pay-in-Advance PIA subscription, you can get back to the Azure Account Center and make the payment by clicking “Recharge”.
  • Can the monthly usage report detail the cost of each Azure service I create (for example, a single virtual machine)?

    No, the billing information in the Monthly Usage Report will be aggregated according to the Azure service and related types and specifications, so you cannot accurately query the individual charge for each Azure service.

    Take the virtual machine as an example: if you have created multiple virtual machines of the same size and model, the billing information thereof will be displayed in a row in the monthly usage report. The “Consumed” column accumulates the usage of multiple virtual machines for billing.

  • What is a Fapiao? What is the specific process for requesting a Fapiao? What types of Fapiao are there? Are Fapiao headers limited?

    Fapiaos are official receipts (provided by the seller) issued by the State Administration of Taxation for the purchase of domestic goods or services. The Chinese government uses Fapiaos to track tax payments.

    1. Sign in to the Azure Account Center.

    2. Click on the subscription you need to request a Fapiao for.

    3. Click on Payment History.

    4. Click on Manage Fapiao to register and make a request. Please see Applying for Chinese Tax Fapiaos for the detailed request process.

    The Azure service in China can provide Chinese tax Fapiaos, including VAT special Fapiaos and VAT ordinary Fapiaos.

    For the Fapiao title, enterprise customers should fill in information according to the actual situation.

  • After applying for a Fapiao, how do I get the Fapiao? Do I have to pay any extra costs?

    The Fapiao can be delivered by courier or picked up on-site. For express delivery, Yunda Express and SF Express are available (only supports COD). The Fapiao is printed and delivered by 21Vianet Shanghai Blue Cloud Technology Co., Ltd.

    Except for the above-mentioned freight payment collected by SF Express, you do not need to pay any extra fees.

  • When can I apply for a Fapiao?

    You can apply for a Fapiao within 3 working days after the payment is successfully completed. Should you have any special requirements, please contact the 21Vianet Customer Service Center at 86-10-84563652 or 400-089-0365.

  • What is the tax rate?

    According to relevant Chinese regulations, the tax rate for Azure Cloud Computing Services operated by 21Vianet is 6%.

  • How do I sign in to a Fapiao account? What should I do if I can’t apply Fapiao after activating Fapiao account successfully? What should I do if I can’t apply for Fapiao?

    After entering the Fapiao Application Interface, you can click “Sign Up Account” in the right corner of the page and choose the product you’ve purchased to sign up for an Azure account.

    If you are unable to apply for Fapiao after activating Fapiao account successfully, please call 21Vianet Customer Service Center: 86-10-84563652 or 400-089-0365.

  • When applying for a Fapiao, I chose to obtain the Fapiao by myself. What address can I pick it up at? Can I still change to express delivery?

    The self-pickup address is 21Vianet Shanghai Branch, located at Building 3, Room 657, German Centre, No.88 Keyuan Road, Pudong District, Shanghai. You can contact Zhu Qinqin at 021-28986102.

    You can sign into the Fapiao Management System at any time to modify the delivery method of your Fapiao. For now, you can only select Yunda Express or SF Express (for freight collect payment only).

  • How can I modify the registered mailbox in the Fapiao Management System?

    Click the mailbox at the upper right corner of the Fapiao Management System, and select Modify Email Address via the drop-down menu to enter your current password and new email and confirm the same. Then you can modify your email with a click. After the modification is completed, two emails will be sent to your two mailboxes, respectively, for notification.

  • What can I do if I cannot receive an activation email when signing up for an Fapiao Management System account?
    • Please confirm that you have filled in the correct email address. If you fill in the wrong email address, then you surely cannot receive the activation email. At this point, you cannot continue to re-sign up. You need to wait for the automatic expiry of the signup link in the activation email (the activation link is generally valid for 24 hours) before you can re-sign up with the correct mailbox.
    • After your confirmation that the email you filled in is correct, and you have not received the account activation email within 24 hours after signup, you can click the “Resend” button on the Fapiao Management System Account Signup Interface, and then the system will send the account activation email to your signup email. If you still cannot receive the activation email, please contact the 21Vianet support team for help.
  • Can I change the subscription name?

    Yes, you can use the Azure Account Center or Azure portal to rename your subscription. For detailed steps, please refer to the Changing Subscription Names and Account Contacts Link.

  • Can I change the service administrator?

    Yes. You need to establish new user’s information in the Azure portal first, and then change the role of the service administrator through the Azure Account Center, referring to How to Set the Service Administrator for specific steps.

  • How to establish the subscription user’s role and authorize different management limits for users?

    There are three roles including the owner, contributor and reader under the Azure Account, and the roles are applicable to all resources. As the administrator of the account, you can distribute different roles to the business personnel in your company in accordance with the business requirements of your company. Please refer to Add or Alter the Role of the Azure Administrator Managing the Subscription or Service for specific steps.

  • How many roles does the Azure Account have?
    Roles Description
    Account Administrator (AA) The account administrator possesses the login information of an OrganizationID and is able to access the account center to perform various administrative tasks. For example, creating subscriptions, canceling subscriptions, changing subscription billing, creating a user and authorizing the corresponding role of the user, and deploying the services under each subscription.
    Owner The owner has full access rights to all resources in a single subscription, including the right to delegate access rights to other users
    Contributor A contributor has full access rights to all resources in a single subscription, while they cannot authorize the access rights to other users
    Reader A reader can check the current Azure resources in a single subscription, while they cannot deploy services or authorize roles to users
  • Can I alter the Profile of the Account Administrator?

    Yes. You can alter the Profile of the Account Administrator through the Azure Account Center, referring to Change Account Subscription Name and Contact Method for specific steps.

  • How to view the current Azure quota and its service conditions?

    The Azure portal, Cloud Assistant APP and PowerShell all provide the service conditions of the Azure quota resources. Refer to How to View Azure Quota Resources for specific steps.

  • Can I apply for the Azure quota resources? And how can I apply for it?

    Yes. You can contact the 21Vianet support team to submit a service request. Please refer to How to Apply for Azure Quota Resources for details.

    Note: if your quota demand is quite large and urgent, we recommend that you apply for it at least three working days in advance.

Technical Questions

  • What measures should I take to reduce the impact and risk caused by this maintenance on running applications?

    Answer: We recommend that you use the Availability Set in the architecture to ensure business continuity. In the Availability Set, this maintenance only updates one instance of one Update Domain (UD) at a time for Cloud Services and Virtual Machines. At the same time, we also encourage customers to cooperate with Microsoft contacts (sales field staff, technical support customer managers, etc.) for the Availability Set. For more information, please visit the Virtual Machine Management Availability web page.

  • Why can’t I access the VIP IP address and port of Azure VM from the local Ping?

    When accessing a virtual machine via a VIP address, network communication needs to be through Azure Load Balancer. Azure Load Balancer currently does not open the ICMP protocol. Ping belongs to the ICMP protocol group and cannot access the Load Balancer. When customers need to verify the connectivity of virtual machines via VIP, they can operate with tools related to the TCP Protocol, referring to Using the PsPing & PaPing for TCP port connectivity testing.

  • Can I create a virtual machine in Azure Virtual Machines?

    Azure Virtual Machines Dv3 and Ev3 series support nested virtualization. However currently only Chinaeast2 and Chinanorth2 support the creation of VMs of these series. Customers can create Dv3 or Ev3 VMs to meet their needs in these two regions.

  • Can I create a Windows Server 2003 virtual machine in Azure?

    The officially supported Windows Server virtual machine template is:

    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Windows Server 2016

    Customers can use local Hyper-V to create a virtual machine template for Server 2003 to Azure cloud, but there’s no way to get Microsoft’s official support if there’s a problem with the virtual machine.

  • Is it supported to deploy Microsoft Exchange,Skype and Sharepoint in Azure?

    The SharePoint virtual machine templates can be selected from Azure Virtual Machines templates and can be officially supported by Microsoft. Exchange Server and Lync Server can be customized and uploaded, but not officially supported.

  • What is the load balancing mechanism?

    Azure Load Balancer is based on Layer 4 (TCP, UDP), enabling distribution of incoming traffic to the well-operated service instances defined in a load-balancing set, so as to improve the availability and network performance of applications.

    Azure Load Balancer can be configured:

    • The load balance can be carried for the Internet traffic transferred to the virtual machine. This configuration is called Internet-facing load balancing.
    • The load balance will be carried out for the traffic among virtual machines in the virtual network, traffic among virtual machines in the Cloud Services, or traffic between virtual machines in a local computer and a crossover virtual network. And this configuration is called the Internal Load Balancer.
    • External traffic is transferred to the designated virtual machine.

    For more details about Azure Load Balancer, please refer to Overview of the Azure Load Balancer.

  • How do I perform data backup?

    Azure Backup provides two types of copies: Locally-redundant storage (LRS) and Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS). Locally Redundant Storage copies the data in the matching data center of the same region three times (creating three data copies). Geo-Redundant Storage copies the data to the secondary region several kilometers from the primary location of the source data. In order to prevent temporary storage unavailability arising from a disaster in one region, we recommend that customers copy data by way of reading and accessing Read-access Redundant Storage (RA-GRS). This way, in case of unavailability of the storage account of the primary region, the data can be accessed from the secondary region.

    The following table describes the backup of all kinds of data services in the Azure, disaster recovery capabilities and backup methods:

    Service Name Local data redundancy mode Local backup Remote data mirroring Backup methods
    Storage service 3 copies of Active-Active None Asynchronous geo-replication, without RTO
    1. Locally-redundant storage (LRS)
    2. Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS)
    3. Read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS)
    4. Apply AzCopy
    SQL Database 3 copies, one master and two backups No (new functions are under development) None
    1. Apply Azure portal
    2. Apply SQLPackage utilities
    3. Apply SQLDatabaseBackup scripts
    4. Apply PowerShell
    IaaS virtual machine system disk and mounted disk Only retention data, same as storage services None Only retention data, same as storage services
    1. Azure Backup
    2. Azure Site Recovery
    3. Hosting Snapshot
    4. Database in the IaaS virtual machine. You can use various database backup tools or export the database to file backup
    IaaS virtual machine temporary disk None None None None
    PaaS Cloud Services, mobile services and Web Apps Only published packages and code are be kept None None Backup options for the Azure portal application page
  • Can I choose the regions for its VIP addresses when creating related services (Cloud Computing)?

    The VIP address is determined in accordance with the customer’s selected region when creating related services and is randomly distributed from the IP address pool managed by Microsoft. For instance, if the customers choose China North, they will be preferentially distributed within the IP address in Northern China.

  • What should I pay attention to when running a business application with a virtual machine?

    Azure will update its hosting environment periodically to ensure all applications and VMs operating on its platform are doing so in a secure environment.

    The data may be lost when the virtual machine is migrated. Some reasons for virtual machine migration are as follows:

    • Adjusting the size of the virtual machine
    • Updating the host
    • Hardware failure in the host
    • The user configures AutoScale for automatic expansion and contraction

    In order to guarantee high availability of the applications/services hosted in the Azure Virtual Machine, we recommend:

    • 1. Using multiple virtual machines during concentration of availability set.

    • 2. Making all components (front-end interface/application logic/data storage and so on) of applications be of a high-availability structure, and make each component be deployed in multiple Virtual Machines with availability, where each Virtual Machine involved in the applications deployment going offline shall not cause the entire system to go offline.

    • 3. After the business-critical applications are deployed to the Azure Virtual Machines, the application is thoroughly tested for the potential impact of virtual machine restarts.

    For more information, please refer to the following link:

    Manage Availability of the Windows virtual machine in the Azure

    Why was the Azure VM restarted?

    Service Level Agreement

  • Is there anything to note about using virtual machines to store application data?

    Azure Virtual Machine disks contain a temporary disk, the D: disk (Windows) or /dev/sdb1 (Linux). They only provide temporary storage, so there is a risk of data loss, and the data cannot be completely recovered under some conditions. It is recommended that the disk is not used to store data long term. The user must bear the risk of data loss resulting from this. Loss of temporary disk data usually occurs when virtual machines are migrated to different host machines. The reasons for virtual machine migration include: adjustment of virtual machine size, updating the host machine, or host machine hardware failure. The time of virtual machine migrating cannot be predicted, and it may occur when the user is not conducting any operations. Therefore, we recommend that the disk is not used to store data long term. For more information on virtual machine disks and the high availability of virtual machines, refer to the following links:

    About disk storage of the Azure Windows VM

    Manage Availability of the Windows virtual machine in the Azure

    Why was the Azure VM restarted?

    Service Level Agreement

  • How do I add the virtual machine to the virtual network? What is the difference between the virtual machine network adding the virtual machine and the network not building the virtual machine? And how do I put an existing virtual machine into a new virtual network?

    First, create a virtual network, then select the previously-created virtual network when creating the virtual machine, and add the virtual machine to the virtual network. For specific steps, please refer to How to Add the Virtual Machines to the Virtual Network.

    After the virtual machine is put into the Virtual Network, it’s ensured that the virtual machines can communicate with each other via internal networks, and the Premium functions, for instance P2S S2S VPN, can be configured.

    If a virtual machine is not added to the virtual network during construction, it cannot be added to a virtual network later. Currently, this kind of virtual machine only can be deleted (saving the disk for storing data), and a new virtual machine will be established by using the saved data disk, and choose to join an existing virtual network when creating this virtual machine.

  • How to configure websites deployed in Azure virtual machine to be accessible from public networks?

    By default, Azure virtual machines only open limited ports corresponding to its VIP, used for remote connection or management. If a newly built website needs to be accessed via a certain port of a VIP, it is required to add an Endpoint to this virtual machine. This operation can be completed through Azure portal or Powershell.

  • What is the availability set? And how do I apply the availability set to increase the availability of applications?

    The availability set is a kind of logical grouping function. Applying it in Azure can ensure that the VM resources can be mutually isolated after they are deployed in Azure Data Center.

    Azure can ensure that the VM deployed in the availability set can operate across multiple physical servers, computer racks, storage units and network switches. In case of failure of the hardware or Azure software, the VM and application will be updated, thus only part of the VM will be affected and the whole application can maintain operations for the customer.

    For more details, please refer to Azure IaaS Manual and How to use the Availability Set.

  • How about the security of the Azure Storage service?

    Azure Storage provides a comprehensive set of security capabilities:

    1. Storage accounts can be protected via role-based access control and Azure Active Directory.
    2. Data can be secured in transit between an application and Azure by using Client-Side Encryption, HTTPS, or SMB 3.0.
    3. Data can be set to be automatically encrypted when written to Azure Storage using Storage Service Encryption.
    4. Delegated access to the data objects in Azure Storage can be granted using Shared Access Signatures.
    5. The authentication method used by someone when they access storage can be tracked using Storage analytics.

    Please refer to our Azure storage security overviewfor the latest content.

  • What is the difference between the Azure SQL Database and the traditional SQL Server Database?

    Sometimes, the SQL Server and Azure SQL Database handle the same application working load. While one is a traditional database server applying the software licensing model, the other one is the service-mode cloud database Azure SQL Database, which is running in the data center of 21Vianet, and is available as a pay-as-you-go model or a commitment rate model. You can easily choose the platform and business model most suitable to your technological requirements through these two products.

    SQL Server Azure SQL Database
    SQL Server is the enterprise-level database server, which is able to provide “vertical expansion” relational data storage and handle types and scenarios for a group of wide-range on-premises applications. The SQL Server is not a service product and does not use a pay-as-you-go consumption model. The SQL Server is licensed per server or per processor, and is involved in a rich set of server hardware. The SQL Server runs on the hardware in your data center or the data center of the hosting provider. Azure SQL Database is a highly-available distributed “horizontal scaling” database service, hosted in the Cloud by 21Vianet. And the Azure SQL Database can be used to easily set and deploy the relational database capabilities by way of the service. The developers or administrators do not have to install, set up, and patch or manage any software. This service is built in with high availability, backup and recovery, geographical distribution, and disaster recovery.

    In addition to the difference between the vertical/horizontal expansions, there are major differences in operating modes. The Azure SQL Database service covers management of the hardware and operating system, therefore, you can focus on building the solutions instead of purchasing, managing, patching, and licensing the hardware, virtual machines, operating systems and application platform software. While, for the dedicated database server (whether it is installed as traditional server in on-premises deployment, hosted in the virtual machine, or hosted by the third-party service provider), the developers and IT professionals are still being responsible for installing, setting up, updating, and patching the operating system and database software. Furthermore, users of the database server must design their own solutions for high availability, vertical expansion and disaster recovery, resulting in increased overall management costs.

    Azure SQL Database is targeted at designing and optimizing applications with high scalability and high availability at a lower cost than a traditional vertical-scalability structure. As a result, Azure SQL Database is able to provide highly-available vertical-scaling solutions for commercial hardware and provide database functions in the form of services.

    For more details, please refer to the SQL Azure web page.

  • How is Azure’s data redundancy guaranteed?

    We provide geo-redundancy. One dedicated line will be used to connect the two data centers in Beijing and Shanghai, China, and is dedicated to data synchronization between data centers. In terms of the data storage, Azure provides four redundant levels for storage:

    • Locally-redundant storage (LRS): we maintain multiple copies of data in a zone so as to provide high durability.
    • Geo-Redundant Storage(GRS): we asynchronously provide extra data durability through replication between two zones hundreds of miles apart in the same territory. In the two zones, we maintain multiple copies of the data.
    • Read-access Redundant Storage (RA-GRS): in addition to GRS services, we provide read-only access to the storage account in the secondary region (which has a final edition consistent with data in main storage system). When the storage account in the primary region is not available, customers can use this service to access the data.

    For details on Azure Redundant Storage, please refer to Introduction to Azure Storage and Pricing Details.

Online Purchase Customer Support

Azure Support Overview

  • Which languages does 21Vianet provide support for?

    21Vianet provides support in two languages: Chinese and English.

  • Can I get support around the clock?

    21Vianet provides 24/7 technical support in Chinese and English for severity level A. Severity level A support is only provided to customers who have signed an SLA with 21Vianet (purchased a service through our sales team).

  • What do the local opening hours for support refer to?

    In China, the opening hours are 9AM to 6PM (Beijing time) on working days, which do not include weekends and holidays.

  • What kind of support will I get from the 21Vianet technical support team?

    21Vianet’s technical support team will provide you with break/fix support and limited consulting services. The issues for break/fix support are technical issues that you encounter while using Azure Services. ‘Break/fix’ is an industry term that refers to the support work required when a particular piece of technology fails during the course of normal operation, which requires a support team to intervene in order to restore it to working order. The limited consulting services generally include answers to FAQs and sharing examples of best practices.

    If you need support for your specific architecture, such as design reviews, performance optimization, code optimization, or customized architecture configuration, please obtain support through Premier Services. Contact your customer manager to find out how to purchase this service.

  • What are public preview services or functions? Is support available for public preview services or functions?

    Public preview services or functions are provided to Azure subscribers through the Azure portal, so that subscribers can see content that is about to be released in advance and use this opportunity to test services and functions that are about to be released. Available preview versions are marked with the Preview icon in the Azure portal and on the Azure.cn product page.

    Early use of Azure preview services and functions is subject to the simplified or revised service terms in the Service Agreement and the supplementary articles concerning previews. Preview services and functions are provided on an ‘as is’, ‘when available’ and ‘including all errors’ basis, do not include any SLAs or limited warranties provided by Azure as part of official commercial use (GA), and you agree that they are made available to you subject to the terms of use. The terms of use are a supplement to the agreements restricting the use of Azure. 21Viannet provides support for preview services and functions.

  • Use Azure Support

  • How can I contact the Azure support team?

    The Contact page on the Azure website shows the various ways to contact the Azure support team. You can submit a support request online or via the mobile app, or contact the Azure support team via the WeChat public account or by calling the 21Vianet hotline.

  • Why is submitting a support request online the preferred method of contacting the Azure support team?

    Submitting a support request online enables the support team to provide you with in-depth, specialist technical expertise in the fastest and most efficient manner. As online requests require detailed explanations, providing the relevant information online is a lot simpler and convenient than providing it over the phone. This route enables you to use a simple and intuitive online process, and also means that you don’t need to spend additional time waiting for a response, while customer issues can be directed more quickly to the most suitable engineer.

  • Is there a phone number for contacting the Azure support team?

    Contacting Azure Support by phone will not speed up the handling of your request, while submitting a support request online provides a better and faster experience. If you are unable to submit a request online, you can get support by calling the 21Vianet hotline on 400-089-0365.

  • How should I submit a support request?

    You can submit a support request online here (or use a phone). You can also submit a support request from the Help and Support page of the Azure portal. Go to the Contact page to find out all the different ways to contact the Azure support team.

  • How should I submit a support request if I am unable to log on to the Management portal?

    You can submit a support request online here (or use a phone). Go to the Contact page to find out all the different ways to contact the Azure support team.

  • What is the initial response time? How long will it take the relevant person to get back to me after I submit a support request?

    The initial response time refers to the time between you submitting the support request and the support engineer contacting you and starting to process your support request. The initial response time depends on the service impact of your request (also known as the severity level). Click here for more details.

  • How quickly will the issue that I submitted in the support request be resolved?

    21Vianet is committed to helping you resolve your issue as quickly as possible. This sometimes means that we will focus on reducing the service impact and negative effects on your operations caused by the issue before we fully resolve the issue. For this reason, 21Vianet promises to guarantee initial response times, but we will also work with you until the effects caused by the issue are reduced, so that the support request can be dealt with without the need for a direct SLA. The time needed to troubleshoot and resolve support requests varies greatly depending on the nature of the issue. A support engineer will work with you to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

  • Will I receive support if I am using non-Microsoft technology or customized apps built with open source software (OSS) on Azure?

    You can use non-Microsoft technologies on the Azure platform, including Linux, Oracle, SAP, and IBM. With regard to the circumstances in which you can obtain support, the 21Vianet support team will help you to identify whether the source of the issue involves Azure Services or your customized app.

    If we determine that the issue was caused by Azure Services or the Azure platform, you will receive full support. In all other circumstances, you will receive a commercially reasonable level of support. If the solution is insufficient to resolve your issue, we may recommend other effective non-Microsoft software support channels.

    For open source code, please refer to Microsoft Azure SDK.

  • How can I obtain support during a service interruption event (SIE)?

    During an SIE (service disruption), 21Vianet will post frequent and prompt updates to the Azure Service Dashboard. This is the best way to get the latest information. You can also contact a support engineer via the WeChat public account, and they will work with you to determine whether your issue is connected to the ongoing SIE.

  • Can I request a root cause analysis (RCA)?

    If you have submitted an Azure technical support request and you require RCA, you can submit a request for it.

  • Support for Enterprise and Premier Customers

  • How can I purchase an Enterprise Agreement?

    Please refer to the purchase process section of the Enterprise Agreement Purchase Process.

  • What should I do if I already have a Premier Agreement and I want to find out more about the best ways to utilize it?

    Contact your technical account manager (TAM) to discuss the best ways to use your existing Premier Agreement or solutions for right-sizing a Premier Agreement so that it is more appropriate to your Azure needs.

Enterprise Customer Support

Online Service Premium Agreements (Direct OSPA)