December 2011

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Improved Developer Experience, Interoperability, and Scalability on Windows Azure

Learn more about these updates:

  • New Developer Experience and Enhanced Interoperability:
    Access to Windows Azure libraries for .NET, Java, and Node.js is now available under Apache 2 open source license and hosted on GitHub, a new Windows Azure SDK for Node.js makes Windows Azure a first-class environment for Node applications, and a limited preview of an Apache Hadoop based service for Windows Azure enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days.
  • Easier to Get Started and Simplified Subscription Management:
    Revamped Dev Centers for multiple languages with helpful content and tutorials, a new sign-up process with spending caps makes sign-up simple, fast and ensures a completely free 3 month free trial. View real-time usage and billing details directly from the new Windows Azure Management Portal nd see expected costs with a simplified pricing calculator.
  • Improved Database Scale:
    Three times the maximum database size in SQL Azure (at no additional cost), and SQL Azure Federation, a new sharding pattern that simplifies elastic scale-out.
  • Better Overall Value:
    New price cap for the largest SQL Azure databases reduces effective price per gigabyte by 67 percent, Data Transfer prices in North America and Europe have been reduced by 25 percent, and Service Bus usage is now available at no additional charge through March 2012.

Now Available: SQL Azure Q4 2011 Service Release

The SQL Azure Q4 Service Release offers greater flexibility for scaling on demand, and simplifies database monitoring and management. We are tripling the maximum database size to 150 GB and introducing SQL Azure Federation to simplify the setup, management, and automation of shards for greater elastic scale. Check out all the enhancements in this release!

New Windows Azure Website Experience Puts You Front and Center

Have you seen the new Windows Azure website? See how the sleek new interface makes it easier for customers to learn and find everything from pricing to developing with a few clicks of the mouse.

Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games makes it easier for developers to quickly build social and casual games using Windows Azure. Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games ships with all the great things you expect from our toolkits including documentation, easy setup, and a new version of the content installer. This version of the toolkit is available for download here.

New Self-Service Publishing Wizard and Datasets available from Windows Azure Marketplace

Get your valuable data distributed in the Marketplace through a simple self-service wizard. The publishing wizard allows you to design how your offer will appear, including sample images, logos, and text. Providers can choose to publish any data stored in SQL Azure with this initial release, and the tool will automatically test your database and recommend performance and configuration changes to provide the best experience in the marketplace. Get started in the Publishing Portal. Check out the new data offers from Worldwide Historical Weather Data and The Stock Sonar or learn more about the Windows Azure Marketplace.


Special Learn Windows Azure training event for developers

Check out the Learn Windows Azure The event goes deep on cloud data and storage, how to use the Visual Studio Windows Azure tools, how to build scalable cloud applications, and there is a Q&A panel with Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell and Mark Russinovich

Real-world Guidance Series: Simulating Load on a Windows Azure Application

This article discusses load simulation for web applications that are hosted in Windows Azure Written by Jayson Go of RBA Consulting, this article uses a simple load test scenario.

Microsoft Tutorials: Using Windows Azure Storage from the Windows Phone

The Cloud Cover show is your eye on the Microsoft cloud. In this episode, Wade walks through the NuGet packages for Windows Azure storage and Windows Phone, highlighting how easy it is to interact with blobs, tables, and queues, both directly against storage and securely through proxy services.

New Webcast Series Explores SQL Azure Data Sync

A new series of webcasts, about SQL Azure Data Sync are now available on Channel 9. These webcasts provide in-depth coverage and detailed demos of service capabilities and enterprise-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud scenarios.

Success Stories

Pixel Pandemic

Pixel Pandemic develops and distributes browser-based online role-playing games. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Pixel Pandemic was founded in 2010. Pixel Pandemic needed a better way to meet demand and guarantee high game performance anywhere in the world without investing too much energy and money in maintaining a large computing infrastructure. In June 2011, Pixel Pandemic used Windows Azure to manage and deliver its Pixel Persistent Browser Based Game Engine on the web. 

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Cypress is an interactive agency that provides full-service application design, development, and support services. The company focuses on e-commerce, digital video, and multiple-screen solutions. Based in Seattle, Washington, Cypress needed a way to scale its application management infrastructure to meet the need of a major wireless carrier for a highly interactive content management system. Cypress chose to adopt the Windows Azure platform, which includes Microsoft SQL Azure, to gain scalable storage, compute, networking, and content delivery capabilities. By taking advantage of the highly scalable cloud-based relational database capabilities offered through Microsoft SQL Azure, the company was able to deliver a merchandise publishing solution that performs 15 times faster than its client’s previous system.
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