November 2013

Announcements

Spend "Windows Azure Friday" with Scott Hanselman and Windows Azure Engineering: trusted voices at the center of enterprise and cloud computing

Each week, Scott releases new videos demonstrating Windows Azure from the engineers who built it.

"I learn best when a trusted friend sits down with me and we pair on a problem. Just two engineers, a laptop, and the cloud, solving problems. I'm trying to bring that experience to you every Friday. No editing, no marketing, just solutions."—Scott Hanselman

You can sign up for a JabbR account to join Scott and the Windows Azure team during an all-day live web chat each Friday.

Great news for cloud identity and access management

We are excited to announce general availability (GA) of the free offering of Windows Azure Active Directory which enables you to easily provide single sign-on 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 with more demanding needs for identity and access management. Windows Azure Active Directory Premium will be free during the first period of the preview.

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

BizTalk Services 2013 integration technology now generally available

Visit the BizTalk Services website to find out more about Windows Azure BizTalk Services 2013, which is now generally available. This cloud integration technology enables cloud-based electronic data interchange, enterprise application integration, and the development of high-performance, high-resiliency hybrid applications. Already using BizTalk Services in preview? You will be transitioned automatically to the GA service, and new pricing will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Announcing general availability of Windows Azure Traffic Manager

Windows Azure Traffic Manager helps you build highly responsive, highly available, production applications. Visit the Traffic Manager website to find out more. Already using Traffic Manager in preview? No worries: you will be transitioned automatically to the GA service, and new pricing takes effect January 1, 2014.

Windows Azure Pack is now generally available!

Read ScottGu's Blog on the general availability of the Windows Azure Pack alongside support for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system. By using the Windows Azure Pack, hosting providers and enterprises get the Windows Azure management experience, the IaaS gallery of virtual machine roles, integration with System Center, scalable web apps with Antares, and scalable and resilient messaging with Windows Azure Service Bus. Learn more about Windows Azure Pack.

Try the Windows Azure Scheduler preview

Enroll in the Windows Azure Scheduler preview to see how you can invoke actions that call HTTPS endpoints or post messages to a storage queue on any schedule. In Scheduler, you can create jobs that call services either inside or outside Windows Azure and run those jobs right away, on a regular or irregular schedule, or at a future date. For more information on getting started with Scheduler, visit the documentation center.

Send highly personalized push notifications using Notification Hubs

With Windows Azure Notification Hubs, it's easy to send highly personalized push notifications with low latency from any app back end—whether that back end is on-premises or in the cloud. By using Notification Hubs, developers have been able to send targeted push notifications to segments of users based on interest tags. With the addition of tag expressions, developers can serve even more advanced targeting scenarios. Tag expressions enable the broadcasting of push notifications to any subset of users definable with a Boolean expression (AND, OR, and NOT). To get started with Notification Hubs, visit the documentation center.

Windows Azure HDInsight is now generally available

HDInsight is a Hadoop-based service from Microsoft that brings a 100 percent Apache Hadoop solution to the cloud. A modern, cloud-based data platform that manages data of any type, whether structured or unstructured, and of any size, HDInsight makes it possible for you to gain the full value of big data. Plus, you can analyze your Hadoop data with PowerPivot, Power View, and other Microsoft BI tools. It's easy to get started: visit the documentation center to view tutorials and resources.

Important updates to Windows Azure Mobile Services

Windows Azure Mobile Services enables you to build mobile apps more quickly by providing a turnkey way to store data, authenticate users, send push notifications, and add custom business logic. We've made a few important updates to the service, including:

  • Optimistic concurrency in structured data to detect and resolve scenarios where two or more users are concurrently updating the same data row.
  • Xamarin quick-start projects available in the Windows Azure portal.
  • App performance monitoring from New Relic for real-time visibility into app usage, performance, errors, and throughput.

To get started with Mobile Services, visit the developer center.

Windows Azure is first to achieve important certifications

We are excited to announce that Windows Azure was the first cloud platform of its kind to receive a provisional Authority to Operate (ATO) from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board, making it easier for the US Government to realize the benefits of the cloud using Windows Azure. We also recently announced that Windows Azure was the first to complete an assessment using the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Cloud Controls Matrix, as part of its SOC 2 audit. Our continued investment in security and compliance benefits government and enterprise customers alike, providing a trusted cloud environment that they can rely on to power their operations.

Visit the Windows Azure Trust Center to learn more about security and compliance.

Push the web forward and win!

Discover how easy it is to deploy your website or app on Windows Azure, and you could win up to US$5,000 in cash! Visit the SitePoint developer challenge webpage today to register and find out more.

Register early for TechEd 2014 and save

Register now for TechEd North America 2014, the premier Microsoft conference for IT pros and developers. You’ll find a broad range of learning opportunities on the latest Microsoft technologies, tools, platforms, and services. Connect with industry experts and peers May 12–15 in Houston, Texas. Register by December 31 to save $300.

Learning

Microsoft Developer Camp on-demand

Missed the live event? We also offer Windows Azure Dev Camp Online—convenient virtual learning sessions that focus on the latest Windows Azure development tools and advanced technologies. With Windows Azure, you can use almost any language, framework, or tool to build applications for or move existing applications to the cloud. It's a smart way to leverage your current development skills and take your coding to the next level.

Find valuable resources for getting started with BizTalk Services

Find out how easy it is to get started with Windows Azure BizTalk Services by reading the Codit blog. It explains the steps that you need to take to get ready for development. Plus, you can get the Windows Azure BizTalk Services SDK, and learn how to create a BizTalk service. Official tutorials are posted in the BizTalk Services documentation center.

Read Richard Seroter's Architecture Musings blog post “Walkthrough of New Windows BizTalk Services” and find out what BizTalk Services is all about. The blog features code, thoughts, and experiences with enterprise solutions.

Embrace the power and scale of the cloud!

Tune in to Windows Azure IT Camps’ on-demand sessions to experience the power of the hybrid cloud. Field-experienced technical evangelists will help you jump-start your knowledge of Windows Azure Storage, Virtual Machines, and Virtual Network for key IT pro scenarios. Hybrid cloud scenarios offer real solutions that you can implement today. Complete all of the hands-on labs and you'll finish with a fully functional Windows Server 2012 cloud-based test lab running Windows Azure.

Interview with Phil Lee, YouConf creator and Windows Azure Developer Challenge winner

Microsoft DevRadio and Brian Hitney welcome Phil Lee, creator of the YouConf conferencing tool and grand prize winner of the CodeProject Windows Azure Developer Challenge, to showcase the winning project that he built using Windows Azure. Tune in as they discuss Phil's thought process as he integrated Windows Azure into the various challenges.

Free training on Windows Azure from Microsoft Virtual Academy

Visit Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) to find a variety of free, expert-led online Windows Azure courses covering a variety of key technical topics. From “Introduction to Windows Azure” to “Configuring and Deploying Microsoft's Private Cloud” to “Windows Azure Security” and more, you'll find the training that you need, available on demand.

Partners

Gfi

"We transform our customers' infrastructure (devices) and the way they manage it (services) with a very strong ally, Microsoft. We believe that in recent years Microsoft has adapted and executed its organization strategy (devices + services) better than anyone else."

—Hugo de Sousa, Senior Manager

Gfi creates and delivers solutions based on Microsoft products—highly integrative, scalable, and unified for the same technological evolution vision, which allows each client to make the most of its licensing, thus obtaining extremely competitive total cost of ownership.

Knowledge Cube

"Windows Azure is our cloud platform of choice because it allows us to be truly agile and focus on developing and launching innovative solutions."

—Ulrik Baerholm, CEO

Knowledge Cube offers a unique and in-depth experience in implementing, operating, and maintaining cloud-based solutions on Windows Azure. Among the most experienced partners for Windows Azure in Europe, Knowledge Cube has successfully executed projects on every core technology and service on the platform.

Success Stories

Publisher rapidly transforms its culture and boosts efficiency with cloud-based BI

"By choosing Windows Azure, we could deliver a BI solution in two weeks with minimal investment. If we had deployed a traditional solution, it would have taken us 6 to 12 months to get similar results."

—David Boyle, Senior Vice President

Learn more about how HarperCollins Publishers wanted to increase its competitiveness by giving decision makers greater insight into market-research data. With the help of Microsoft partner Adatis, HarperCollins deployed a business intelligence (BI) solution on Windows Azure in just two weeks. As a result, HarperCollins has given employees control over market-research data, increased business insight, enhanced decision making, improved efficiency and the services that it can provide to authors, boosted business and IT agility, and saved US$200,000.

Web developer on track to double revenues with site creation and hosting platform

"Our customer base and revenue growth look amazing, and Windows Azure is playing a big part in our success with both."

—Glenn Boothe, President and CEO

The high costs that web developer Web Station incurred with its hosting provider didn't help the company's competitiveness. To boost business success, Web Station switched to Windows Azure Web Sites to create and host customer sites. Now Web Station creates new sites in seconds, saves 60 percent on hosting costs, and is on track to see revenues double.