December 2013

Announcements

Great news about cloud identity and access management

We’re excited to announce the general availability of the free offering of Windows Azure Active Directory, which enables you to easily provide single sign-on for and manage user access to hundreds of SaaS applications like Microsoft Office 365, Box, and many others.

Windows Azure Active Directory Premium is also available for customer preview. Built on top of the free tier of Windows Azure AD, it provides advanced capabilities to empower enterprises that have more demanding needs for identity and access management. Windows Azure AD Premium will be free during the first period of the preview.

Sign up for the Windows Azure AD Premium preview today. Find more details on Windows Azure identity and access management services.

Preview of Windows Azure Read-Access Geo-Redundant Storage

Try out Read-Access Geo-Redundant Storage, now available in public preview. You can now get faster recovery of your secondary data when the storage account on the primary location is unavailable. Geo Redundant Storage (GRS) provides our highest level of durability by additionally storing your data in a second location region within the same region hundreds of miles away from the primary location.

For more information, visit the Storage webpage.

Learning

TechEd 2014: Register by December 31 and save!

Learn the latest on Windows Azure at TechEd 2014, which will be held May 12–15, in Houston, Texas. Prepare for today and tomorrow by exploring tracks such as Datacenter and Infrastructure Management, Developer Platform and Tools, and People-Centric IT. Early registration ends December 31. Register now and save US$300.

Windows Azure versus Amazon Web Services

With better price for performance than Amazon EC2, better interoperability with Microsoft Apps, and end-to-end support for Oracle, it’s no surprise over 53% of Fortune 500 companies are using Windows Azure. Learn more about Windows Azure versus AWS.

Windows Azure technical overview on–demand

Check out an on-demand Windows Azure Developer Camp that walks you through the core Windows Azure capabilities, including Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Web Sites, Mobile Services, and Storage Services.

Enabling the secure and rapid adoption of cloud services

Check out Forrester’s new analyst report on how you can support cloud adoption while mitigating risks and upholding proper controls by evaluating potential cloud providers’ security and risk posture. Download Forrester Research’s “Enabling the Secure and Rapid Adoption of Cloud Services.”

Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Azure?

Download “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Azure,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting to learn about the key benefits, costs, and risks associated with implementing Windows Azure and deepen your understanding of what the public cloud means for your business.

Customizing HTTP headers on Windows Azure Web Sites

HTTP headers are a critical part of the communication process between clients and servers. Two specific headers are of particular interest because they inform the client about the type of web server that’s servicing the request and its properties. This blog entry discusses removing standard server headers on Windows Azure Web Sites and enabling other headers to customize that critical part of the communication process.

Disabling ARR in Windows Azure Web Sites for non-ARR compatible applications

Application Request Routing (ARR) is used to “keep track” of what users do on your site, regardless of which web server they hit. ARR is similar to cookies, but it helps an application instead of keeping track of users’ shopping habits. ARR is a terrific way to scale up web sites in Windows Azure. However, some applications are unable to utilize ARR effectively. This blog entry discusses how to disable ARR’s instance affinity in Windows Azure Web Sites.

Windows Azure training brought to you by Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy offers a variety of free, on-demand courses on Windows Azure, covering key technical topics, and including our popular Jump Start courses. See what’s available, and take advantage of this expert-led training.

For the second straight year, Microsoft is cooperating with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to monitor Santa’s progress around the globe. Read the case study and see how the site, powered by Windows Azure, allows excited children to pinpoint when the jolly old elf will arrive in their neighborhood.

Partners

Skyline Technologies

"The [Windows] Azure platform has decreased our time to market in delivering innovative business solutions for our clients that will differentiate them from their competition."

—Kenny Young, Director, Cloud Computing and Development

Organizations today are continually trying to do more with less. If you're struggling with maintaining on-premises infrastructure or are being pressured to reduce costs associated with your IT resources, Windows Azure cloud services can help. Windows Azure provides an efficient way to reduce costs while decreasing the time to market for your IT solutions. Skyline Technologies is an early adopter of cloud solutions and has delivered many cost-saving applications based on the Windows Azure platform.

KenCloud ERP

"Customers’ business locations are crossing geographical boundaries and they are expanding their scope from a single product or service to multiple offerings. A unified, integrated, secure ERP solution which is cross platform and device independent has become a need of doing business. KenCloud ERP solution powered by Windows Azure and built on Microsoft technologies has given us the unique edge to provide a blended ERP product solution that is enterprise-ready, scalable, and highly secure. It enables global redundancy of data and the ability to provide rich analytics and user experience on mobile, desktop or the web."

—Pritam Pal, CEO

KenCloud blends a scalable, affordable, highly secure, and fully integrated cloud ERP solution through a mobile-, web-, and desktop-based experience with Windows Azure.

Success Stories

University transforms life sciences research with big data solution in the cloud

"Windows Azure is enabling us to keep up with the data deluge in the DNA sequencing space. We’re not only analyzing data faster, but analyzing it more intelligently."

—Wu Feng, Professor of Computer Science

Working through a grant provided by the National Science Foundation in cooperation with Microsoft, a team of computer scientists at Virginia Tech developed an on-demand, cloud-computing model using the Windows Azure HDInsight service. By moving to an on-demand, cloud-computing model, researchers will now have easier, more cost-effective access to DNA-sequencing tools and resources, which could lead to even faster, more exciting advancements in medical research.

App maker cuts database costs 20 percent by switching to Windows Azure

"Now that we've put together a Linux environment on Windows Azure Virtual Machines, what strikes me most is how easy it is to use, with greater flexibility than I'd ever expected."

—Takamasa Kamio, Vice President and COO/CTO

When downloads of the Mind Palette photo-sharing app Snapeee grew into the millions, operating costs ballooned for its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-computing solution. Meanwhile, the company was trying to position itself for even greater growth, but it felt it needed more technical support than AWS engineers were providing. So Mind Palette switched to Windows Azure. Now database costs are almost 20 percent lower, support is readily available, and the company is confident that it can fulfill its potential.