July 2013

Announcements

Get the latest highlights and content from Build 2013—just in

Build 2013 was a huge success! Many of you came to learn the future of the Windows operating system, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, the Visual Studio development system, and much more. The Microsoft News Center published updates and announcements throughout the event. Find additional event information visit Build 2013.

Web Sites Standard tier and SSL support are now generally available

We are excited to announce that the Windows Azure Web Sites Standard tier is now generally available. Web Sites provides a flexible, scalable, security-enabled platform for building powerful web applications to run your business, drive your brand, or reach new customers. For more information, visit our Web Apps solution page.

Mobile Services is now generally available

Windows Azure Mobile Services makes it fast and easy to build connected mobile applications that scale and reach every user on every device. We fully support native Windows Store, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and HTML5 development, as well as provide an open and flexible REST API so developers can reach additional client platforms.

The general availability release includes a high-availability service level agreement for all mobile services running in the Standard and Premium tiers, tighter integration with Microsoft Visual Studio 2013, and more. In addition, there are great new samples available from Twilio and SendGrid, as well as a demo from Nik Garkusha for connecting web and mobile apps to the same back end. For more information, visit our Mobile Apps solution page.

Take advantage of application access enhancements in Active Directory

Windows Azure Active Directory provides a cloud-scale, efficient identity and access management experience. Using the application access enhancements preview, you can use Windows Azure Active Directory identities for both Microsoft and third-party cloud-hosted applications. During this preview, you can:

  • Seamlessly enable single sign-on to many popular preintegrated cloud apps for your users
  • Easily enable and remove your users' identities in top software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps like Box, Salesforce, and Concur from the Windows Azure Active Directory administrator's console
  • Record unusual access patterns to your apps via predefined security reports
  • Launch your cloud-hosted apps from a single webpage

There is no additional cost for the enhanced capabilities while in preview. Log on to the Windows Azure Management Portal and start using these features.

New multifactor authentication helps safeguard applications and data in the cloud

Windows Azure has launched a new Active Authentication service that helps secure access to cloud services by verifying user sign-in with a mobile app, phone call, or text message. Enable Active Authentication for Windows Azure Active Directory to authenticate access to Microsoft Online Services like Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365 or use the Software Development Kit (SDK) to build multifactor authentication into your custom applications.

Learn more on the Identity and Access Management page and in the What is Windows Azure Active Authentication article on the Microsoft TechNet site.

Need to get ready for Windows Server 2012 R2? Start on Windows Azure

At the heart of the Microsoft cloud services vision, the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system offers many new features and enhancements for storage, networking, access and information protection, and more. Windows Azure Virtual Machines provides a fast, easy, and low-cost way to start testing Windows Server 2012 R2. Simply choose the preview image from the Windows Azure Image Gallery and be up and running in minutes. No waiting for hardware to arrive or using old hardware that may be insufficient. Pay for only what you use—billed by the minute. Plus, you get discounted preview pricing—equivalent to Virtual Machines rates for Linux starting July 27, 2013.

Enjoy prebuilt image options for SQL Server in the public cloud—SQL Server 2014 included

With eight prebuilt images in the gallery, Windows Azure delivers a comprehensive list of Microsoft SQL Server options in the public cloud. Whether you are hosting SQL Server AlwaysOn secondary databases in the cloud, extending existing SQL Server apps to Windows Azure Virtual Machines, or developing new apps, you now have more options to choose from: Standard, Web, and Enterprise editions of SQL Server 2012 Service Pack (SP) 1 and SQL Server 2008 R2 available on Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2. There is even a preview image for SQL Server 2014. You choose based on your needs! Learn more to get started today.

Introducing monitoring, alerts, and autoscaling

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 is degraded, perform actions based on events of interest, and automatically scale to match current demands. Availability monitoring, alerts, and autoscaling capabilities are available in preview for Windows Azure Web Sites, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, and Mobile Services. To learn more, visit the Preview Features page.

AzureDevs are changing the world through code.

We do this every day - it’s our living and our passion. Let's join forces to empower the next generation of devs to do the same. How do we get started? Your votes will fuel:

$100,000 worth of donations to some great technology education nonprofits: What kind of Dev are you?

We'll donate $50,000 to the organization with the most votes, $20,000 to the second highest, and $10,000 to each of the three runners up. Beyond helping some great technology education nonprofits, as an AzureDev, you'll gain access to exclusive content and technology leaders from Microsoft and the community throughout the year. Join us and vote.

Learning

DevRadio on Channel 9: How to monitor Windows Azure applications and enhancements to Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 authoring tools

This talk will cover how to monitor Azure Applications and enhancements to System Center 2012 SP1 Authoring tools.

Monitoring a Windows Azure application

One of the challenges with hosting an application in Windows Azure is how to determine the overall health and performance of your application. Read how to overcome these challenges and get a clear overview on monitoring a Windows Azure application.

Enabling Diagnostics in Windows Azure

Windows Azure Diagnostics enables you to collect diagnostic data from a worker role or web role running in Windows Azure. You can use diagnostic data for debugging and troubleshooting, measuring performance, monitoring resource usage, traffic analysis and capacity planning, and auditing. The article explains how to enable and configure Diagnostics in your application by creating and editing the diagnostics.wadcfg configuration file.

Tuesdays with Corey - What is Mobile Services?

Curious about Mobile Services? Corey and Josh give you a quick and dirty rundown on how you can get started today...in 20 seconds!

Partners

Solidsoft is 2013 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year

Congratulations to Solidsoft, the 2013 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year! Solidsoft uses a “cloud first” approach to solve difficult business challenges. Learn more.

RightScale launches 'Get your App to Windows Azure' program

If you were lucky enough to attend Microsoft's /Build developer conference you may have visited us in the partner demo area. At the show RightScale launched a dedicated program. Get your app to Azure blends cloud management solutions and cloud consulting expertise.

This new offer was created with direct feedback from customers planning to move to Windows Azure. We're helping customers at different stages of cloud readiness with a dedicated program that includes services such as:

  • Cloud readiness: Align your Azure strategy, needs, and readiness
  • Application preparation: identify, rank and prioritize applications for Azure
  • Deployment success: end to end deployment planning and management

Realize your goals around Windows Azure with Get your app to Azure today!

Success Stories

Toyota redesigns web portal using scalable cloud and content management solutions

Toyota Motor Corporation has 16 websites that deliver more than 100 million page views per month. The company’s GAZOO.com site offers car owners—as well as Toyota employees and dealers—vehicle information, social networking, news, and entertainment. To enhance site content, increase scalability, and reduce the cost of ownership, Toyota is rebuilding the site using the Windows Azure cloud development environment and Microsoft SharePoint 2013. Learn More.

Service provider holds the line on costs and expands its business with the cloud

Fielding Systems creates field operations software for the oil and gas industry. After evaluating multiple cloud platforms, Fielding Systems chose to base its online services on Windows Azure. By moving to Windows Azure, Fielding Systems can refocus and expand its business at a lower cost, while retaining all of the unique features of the original applications. Learn More.