Announcing the General Availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services, Web Sites and continued Service innovation

We strive to deliver innovation that gives developers a diverse platform for building the best cloud applications that can reach customers around the world in an instant.  Many new applications fall into the category of what we call “Modern Applications” which are invariably web based and accessible by a broad spectrum of mobile devices. Today, we’re taking a major step towards making this a reality with the General Availability (GA) of Windows Azure Mobile Services and Windows Azure Web Sites.

 Windows Azure Mobile  Services

Mobile Services makes it fast and easy to create a mobile backend for every device.  Mobile Services simplifies user authentication, push notification, server side data and business logic so you can get your mobile application in market fast.  Mobile Services provides native SDKs for Windows Store, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and HTML5 as well as REST APIs. 

Starting today, Mobile Services is Generally Available (GA) in three tiers—Free, Standard and Premium.  The Standard and Premium tiers are metered by number of API calls and backed by our standard 99.9% monthly SLA.  You can find the full details of the new pricing here.  All tiers of Mobile Services will be free of charge until August 1, 2013 to give customers the opportunity to select the appropriate tier for their application.  SQL database and storage will continue to be billed separately during this period. 

 In addition, building Windows 8.1 connected apps is easier than ever with first class support for Mobile Services in the Visual Studio 2013 Preview and customers can also turn on Gzip compression between service and client.

Companies like Yatterbox, Sly Fox, Verdens Gang, Redbit  and TalkTalk Business are already building apps that distribute content and provide up to the minute information across a variety of devices.

Developers can also use Windows Azure Mobile Services with their favorite third party services from partners such as New Relic, SendGrid, Twilio and Xamarin.

Windows Azure Web Sites

Windows Azure Web Sites is the fastest way to build, scale and manage business grade Web applications.  Windows Azure Web-Sites is open and flexible with support for multiple languages and frameworks including ASP.NET, PHP, Node.JS and Python, multiple open-source applications including WordPress, Drupal and even multiple databases.  ASP.NET developers can easily create new or move existing web-sites to Windows Azure from directly inside Visual Studio. 

We are also pleased to announce the General Availability (GA) of Windows Azure Web Sites Standard (formerly named reserved) and Free tiers.  The Standard tier is backed by our standard 99.9% monthly SA.  The preview pricing discount of 33% for Standard tier Windows Azure Web Sites will expire on August 1, 2013.  Websites running in the shared tier remain in preview with no changes.  Visit our pricing page for a comprehensive look at all the pricing changes.

Service Updates for Windows Azure Web Sites Standard tier include:

  • SSL Support: SNI or IP based SSL support is now available. 
  • Independent site scaling: Customers can select individual sites to scale up or down
  • Memory dumps for debugging: Customers can get access to memory dumps using a REST API to help with site debugging and diagnostics.
  • Support for 64 bit processes: Customers can run in 64 bit web sites and take advantage of additional memory and faster computation.

 Innovation continues on existing Services

Auto scale, alerts and monitoring Preview

Windows Azure now provides a number of capabilities that help you better understand the health of your applications.  These features, available in preview, allow you to monitor the health and availability of your applications, receive notifications when your service availability changes, perform action-based events, and automatically scale to match current demands.

Availability, monitoring, auto scaling and alerting are available in preview for Windows Azure Web Sites, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines. Alerts and monitoring are available in preview for Mobile Services. There is no additional cost for these features while in preview.  

New Windows Azure Virtual Machines images available

SQL Server 2014 and Windows Server 2012 R2 preview images are now available in the Virtual Machines Image Gallery.  At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers many new features and enhancements across storage, networking, and access and information protection.  You can get started with Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014 by simply provisioning a prebuilt image from the gallery.  These images are available now at a 33% discount during the preview. And you pay for what you use, by the minute.

Windows Azure Active Directory Sneak Peek

In today’s keynote at //Build, Scott Guthrie gave a sneak peek into future enhancements to Windows Azure Active Directory. We’re working with third parties like Box and others so they can leverage Windows Azure Active Directory to enable a single sign-on (SSO) experience for their users.  If a higher level of security is needed, you can leverage Active Authentication to give you multifactor authentication.  If you are an ISV and interested in integrating with Windows Azure Active Directory for SSO please let us know by filling out a short survey.

No credit card required for MSDN subscribers

Windows Azure is an important platform for development and test as it provides developers with computing capacity that may not be available to them on-premises.  Previously, at TechEd 2013 we announced new Windows Azure MSDN benefits with monetary credit, reduced rates, and MSDN software usage on Windows Server for no additional fee.  Now, most MSDN customers can activate their Windows Azure benefits in corporate accounts without entering a credit card number making it easier to claim this benefit. 

Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to developers building Modern Applications by delivering continued innovation to our platform and infrastructure services.  Expect to see more new and exciting updates from us shortly, but in the meantime I encourage you to engage and build by visiting the developer center for mobile and web apps, watch live streams of sessions from //build/, and get answers to your questions on the Windows Azure forums and on Stack Overflow.

Steven Martin
General Manager
Windows Azure