June 2013

Announcements

TechEd - Microsoft’s Premiere Event for IT Professionals   Enterprise Developers

At TechEd North America 2013, we introduced a portfolio of new solutions to help businesses thrive in the era of cloud computing and connected devices. The keynote featured several customers, including luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin. The company is an example of the many enterprises that use the full range of Microsoft products and cloud platforms for IT success.

Related to that, if you are a Visual Studio Professional, Premium and Ultimate with MSDN subscribers who activates and use your Windows Azure MSDN benefit before September 30th, 2013 you are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win an Aston Martin V8 Vantage sports car!

Here are some resources from the event:

  • Get the latest event news, watch the keynotes, check out the event sessions and more
  • Watch TechEd videos on Channel 9

Infrastructure Services: New Options and New Features

True cloud economics with per-minute billing

Starting June 3, 2013, we are excited to offer you Windows Azure Virtual Machines, web roles, and worker roles billed by the minute rather than by the hour. Microsoft SQL Server and BizTalk Server running in Virtual Machines are also billed by the minute.

Additional security option for Virtual Machines: public endpoint access control lists

We added a security option so that you can control inbound traffic to your virtual machines. Define how traffic from outside your corporate firewall communicates with your Virtual Machines public endpoints.

More options for building your security-enabled private connection to Windows Azure

By using Windows Azure Virtual Network, you can retain select data and apps on-premises and connect them to your cloud through a security-enabled private connection. Starting June 3, you have even more device options for setting up your site-to-site connection. Virtual Network now supports integration with WatchGuard, F5, and Citrix virtual private network (VPN) devices, in addition to Cisco and Juniper.

If you prefer a software-based VPN solution, recent enhancements to site-to-site connectivity enable you to use Windows Server 2012 Routing and Remote Access Server (RRAS) as an on-premises VPN server.

Announcing BizTalk Services public preview

We are excited to announce the public preview of BizTalk Services, a new integration service in Windows Azure. BizTalk Services allows you to easily integrate your Windows Azure, SaaS, and on-premises applications though a configuration-driven experience. The service is run in a secured, dedicated per tenant environment. With a drag and drop interface, you can build integration message flows to receive messages from various sources such as HTTP, FTP, SFTP and REST, validate and transform them to the desired destination format, and route them to endpoints in the cloud or on-premises. Learn more at our Windows Azure BizTalk Services feature page.

Major expansion of Windows Azure services in Asia

As the worldwide demand for cloud computing continues to grow, so does Windows Azure. We are the only at-scale global public cloud provider to deliver a hybrid-cloud advantage, and we’re excited to announce plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the use of Windows Azure in Asia—specifically in China, Japan, and Australia.

Recently in Shanghai, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that a public preview for the Windows Azure services, operated by 21Vianet in China, will be available for sign-up starting June 6, 2013. For additional details on the expansion, please read Satya Nadella’s post on the Official Microsoft Blog.

Preview of SSL for sites hosted on Windows Azure Web Sites with custom domain names

We are excited to now offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which helps you secure traffic to your sites with custom domain names hosted on Windows Azure Web Sites. SSL is a key piece of technology for companies that want to do business on the web and is used to help secure traffic between the website and the browser. We are announcing support for SNI-based and IP-based SSL certificates. SNI is supported by most modern browsers in use today. SNI-based SSL allows websites without a dedicated IP address, which is a key feature for websites hosted in cloud environments. IP-based SSL works in all browsers. For more information on SSL, please refer to the Web Sites Services webpage.

New Active Authentication service offers multi-factor authentication for security and compliance

Active Authentication, now available in preview, adds a second layer of security to authenticate access to Windows Azure, Microsoft Online Services like Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, and third-party cloud services.

When users sign in, they will be prompted to authenticate using the Active Authentication mobile app or by responding to an automated phone call or text message. For more information on Active Authentication, please visit the Active Directory webpage.

AMQP support in Service Bus now generally available

We’re excited to announce Service Bus support for OASIS Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) version 1.0 has now transitioned to General Availability (GA). AMQP is an open, reliable, and efficient messaging protocol with broad support and both commercial and open source implementations. The addition of AMQP support means that you can take advantage of the brokered messaging features of Service Bus (queuing and publish/subscribe) from a wide range of platforms. There already are AMQP client implementations for C#, Java (JMS), C, PHP, and Python, with Ruby, Perl, and JavaScript clients in the works. For more information see Scott’s Guthrie’s blog post and this overview article.

Get a Free 20-MB Windows Azure SQL Database to power your mobile services and web sites

We know that customers developing mobile and web apps need to store relational data in the cloud. We also understand that during development and test, it’s helpful to have a free data option. That’s why on June 3, 2013, we announced that every Windows Azure subscription will receive a Free 20-MB Windows Azure SQL Database that can be used with Mobile Services or Web Sites. Here are some resources you may find useful:

To get started building apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, visit the Mobile Developer Center.

To get started building websites and web apps, visit the .NET, Node.js, Java, PHP, or Python developer centers.

Announcing WebMatrix 3

We are excited to announce the release of WebMatrix 3. WebMatrix is a free and lightweight web development tool that Microsoft introduced in 2010, focusing on simplifying the web development experience for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js. Since that time, we've received a lot of feedback, and added many new features. The highlights of this release include simple Windows Azure Web Sites integration, Remote Editing in the cloud, and source control tooling with Git and TFS.

To get started you can download the release, or watch the introduction video.

Learning

DevRadio: Spring Windows Azure Update Review - IaaS, Web Sites, Licensing and more

Tune in as Brian Hitney and Peter Laudati review and demo some of the latest updates and features made to Windows Azure such as the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, Azure Web Sites, the Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET and the new licensing and pricing model.

DevRadio: Practical Azure with Jim O’Neil – Virtual Networks

The latest episode of Practical Azure covers the topic of networking in Windows Azure: a means to connect disparate cloud services you’ve deployed as well as to join on-premises assets with the cloud services you’re hosting in Windows Azure in one big happy, virtual network.

Designing Great Cloud Applications by Mark Souza, GM at Microsoft

I get strange looks when I talk to developers about the difference between developing to a product versus developing to a service. The application that you write on-premises is written to be a piece of software acquired, installed, and configured on a piece of computer hardware that you privately own. The application that you write in the cloud is written to be a set of services that are available to you and the public to exploit. So let’s explore how they are different. Read the full article.

Facebook video: How Will You Take Back Your Lunch Hour? (Part 3)

Watch the video.

Partners

Newvem Launches Analytics for Windows Azure Cloud

Newvem now offers cloud operations optimization for Windows Azure. This latest offering, Newvem Analytics for Windows Azure, empowers Windows Azure users with straightforward visibility into their cloud inventory and usage, enabling better decision making, minimalizing operational exposures, and aligning cloud operations with business objectives. Try it today!

Xenomorph TimeScape released on Windows Azure cloud

Xenomorph, the analytics and data management solutions provider to global financial institutions, announced today that its analytics and data management solution, TimeScape, has been enabled for use on Microsoft Corp.'s cloud platform, Windows Azure.

Following Microsoft's recent announcement of the general availability Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, Xenomorph now offers clients the ability to run TimeScape in the cloud as an additional and complementary option to client-site installation. Read the full announcement.

Success Stories

Trek Bicycle Corporation: Bicycle Firm Moves Retail System to Cloud, Expects to Save $15,000 a Month in IT Costs

Trek designs, manufactures, and sells high-performance bicycles. The most popular categories are mountain, touring, and racing bicycles. Trek wanted to move its Ascend retail management system to a cloud-based system to reduce support costs and make it easier to maintain. Trek chose Windows Azure because it offered full compatibility with the Windows development environment and separate infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments. By reducing its reliance on external IT support and data centers, the company expects to reduce its IT hosting costs by $15,000 a month and has cut server upgrade time from 2–6 weeks to just two hours. Read the full story.

Aviva: Insurance Firm Uses Mobile App and Cloud Platform to Track Driving Behavior

Aviva, a leading provider of financial services worldwide, wanted to help customers save money by basing auto insurance quotes on the behavior of individual drivers instead of statistics. To better understand potential customers, Aviva needed to collect telematics data from moving vehicles, but deploying on-premises infrastructure was too costly and complex. That changed when the company implemented a hybrid-cloud solution based on Windows Azure. The solution uses smartphones to collect telematics data that it stores in the cloud using Windows Azure SQL Database. The solution also integrates with an on-premises quote system and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Read the full story.