Announcing Preview of New Portal and Exciting Updates to other Azure Services

We unveiled several exciting updates to Microsoft Azure at the Build developer conference today, all consistent with Microsoft’s broader vision of helping developers innovate in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This includes devoting the bulk of our efforts to delivering innovation and quality to our customers, developers, and partners. Here are the highlights.

Preview of Microsoft Azure Portal

The big news is we’ve completely reimagined the management portal. The new portal, which launches today in preview form, is a first-of-its-kind innovation designed to radically speed up the software delivery process by putting cross-platform tools, technologies, and services from Microsoft and its partners in a single workspace.

The new portal significantly simplifies resource management, so you can create, manage, and analyze your entire application as a single resource group rather than through standalone resources like Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio Projects, or databases. With integrated billing, a rich gallery of applications and services, and built-in Visual Studio Online, you can be more agile while maintaining control of your costs and application performance.

Open source partnerships with Chef and Puppet Labs

To give our customers more choice and flexibility, we’ve partnered with Chef and Puppet Labs to run their popular virtual machine management software on Azure, making it even easier to deploy, configure, and manage VMs with the tools of your choice.

New Enterprise Mobility Features

Our enterprise customers often ask for better ways to take advantage of mobility in their existing applications and systems. Today we announced several exciting capabilities for unlocking that opportunity.

Offline sync is now available for Azure Mobile Services, so you can design applications for scenarios where users need to work with data while disconnected from the network, and sync when connectivity becomes available again. You can now write your mobile backend logic using ASP.NET Web API and Visual Studio, taking full advantage of Web API features, third-party Web API frameworks, and local and remote debugging.  With Active Directory Single Sign-on integration (for iOS, Android, Windows, or Windows Phone apps) you can maximize the potential of your mobile enterprise applications without compromising on secure access.

New Web Site option for starting small—plus new Standard offerings

We’re also introducing a new Web Site Basic option for customers with production-ready sites who want to start small with minimal cost and don’t need advanced features. Basic supports up to 3 virtual machine instances, and includes 10GB of storage and custom domains.

We’ve also upgraded the existing Standard tier with 5-SNI and 1-IP SSL certificates, 50GB of storage, included backup and restore and many other advanced features, all for the same price customers pay today. The PaaS experience in Azure Web Sites now extends to Java—including pre-installed versions of the JRE as well as the ability to upload runtimes and containers. With WebSockets and Live Debugging now generally available, we continue to execute on our commitment to make web development a first-class experience.

Azure SDK

With the release of Azure SDK 2.3, you can now easily provision and create web sites or virtual machines in Azure and publish them with ease through the Publish Web wizard. The Azure SDK 2.3 also contains additional features in Server Explorer, as well as new functionality across diagnostics and debugging features and the introduction of PowerShell for Azure Resource Manager (ARM), which is a new framework for deploying and managing applications across resources

AutoScale General Availability

To further simplify operations of applications, we are delighted to announce that Autoscale is now generally available for Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Web Sites, and Mobile Services. You can minimize costs by using auto scaling rules to automatically scale up or down to accommodate demand.

Introducing new compute & storage offerings

As highlighted earlier in the week, we are introducing a new Basic tier of compute instances (A0 to A4) offers similar CPU and memory configurations as the Standard tier of instances, but cost up to 27 percent less. These instances are well-suited for production applications that don’t require the Azure Load Balancer (“bring-your-own load balancer” or single instance), development workloads, test servers, and batch processing applications.

General availability of Azure Active Directory Premium

As announced last week, Azure Active Directory Premium is now generally available.  As an IT administrator, you can now ensure secure access for users while giving them easy single sign-on to thousands of SaaS applications. With Azure Multi-Factor Authentication and machine learning based security and usage reports, you have the ability to prevent unauthorized access to both on-premises and cloud applications. Additionally, you can now empower users with self-service password reset, delegated group management, and customizable environment for launching enterprise and consumer applications.

If you are not with us at Build in San Francisco, download the Channel 9 Events App and catch up on all the innovation delivered in the last couple of days from the comfort of your chair. In addition, don’t miss out on the One Microsoft Blog  for additional details on several other exciting Azure updates announced today.