September 2013

Announcements

Microsoft and Oracle now provide end-to-end support for customers running business-critical Oracle software on Windows Azure

License-included virtual machine images of Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, and the Java development environment are now available, in preview, in the Windows Azure Image Gallery. During the preview period, you pay only for the Windows Azure compute and storage resources your Virtual Machine consumes, there is no charge for the included Oracle software.

Updates made in June to Oracle licensing policy also allow you to "bring your own license" – using a license you already own on Windows Azure. Whether you bring your own license or use one of the license-included images, you now have increased flexibility and choice in where to deploy your applications and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you will be fully supported by Oracle.

To get started, log in to the Windows Azure Management Portal and add a new Virtual Machine from the Image Gallery. For more information, visit the Oracle information page on the Windows Azure website.

Check out new Windows Azure Cache (preview)

Using new Windows Azure Cache, you can easily deploy dedicated, high-performance, distributed caches that you can use with your Windows Azure applications to store data in memory and dramatically improve scalability and performance. You can use a dedicated instance of the Windows Azure Cache Service for each of your apps or share a single cache across multiple apps. This latter scenario is particularly useful when you wish to partition your cloud back-end solutions into multiple deployment units; now they can all easily share and work with the same cached data.

For more information, visit the Windows Azure Cache webpage. To get started, visit the Preview Features webpage and sign up for the preview. A general availability date has not been announced.

Multi-Factor Authentication is now generally available, with support for on-premises apps and directories

Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, previously offered in preview under the name Active Authentication, helps secure access to both on-premises and cloud applications. Convenient phone-based authentication methods address user demand for easy, anywhere access while also meeting your organization’s security and compliance needs. Additional support for on-premises scenarios makes it even easier to enable Multi-Factor Authentication for a broad range of users and applications—in the cloud, on-premises, or both.

Visit the Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication webpage or watch this video to learn more.

Get Professional Direct Support in your region

We are pleased to announce the expansion of Microsoft Professional Direct Support to all regions where Windows Azure is available. This technical support is now provided in local languages including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese during local business hours. Technical support in English is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With Professional Direct Support, you can maximize application uptime, reduce costs, and accelerate your development. To learn more about Windows Azure Support options and pricing, visit Windows Azure Support.

Support for SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group Listeners

We are excited to add Microsoft SQL Server Availability Group Listeners to our AlwaysOn technology. SQL Server AlwaysOn is one of the most important and popular capabilities available in SQL Server 2012.

Until now, client applications wanting to connect to the primary replica of an availability group on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services only had the option of specifying a Failover Partner (similar to Database Mirroring). This restricted the configuration of availability groups to only two replicas (one primary and one secondary) and these couldn’t be configured as readable when acting as secondaries. The new support for Availability Group Listeners removes this limitation.

For additional details on this announcement, please visit the SQL Server blog.

Microsoft and AT&T to Bring Enterprise-Grade Security, Speed, and Reliability to Cloud for Business

Microsoft and AT&T announced they will deliver a security-enhanced and reliable cloud solution that will allow enterprise customers to connect to Microsoft’s cloud platform using a private network.

The new solution will use breakthrough cloud integration technology from AT&T to pair virtual private networking with Microsoft’s industry-leading Windows Azure cloud platform. Customers of the solution are expected to benefit from the enterprise-grade security of virtual private networking, with as much as 50% lower latency than the public Internet, and access to cloud resources from any site using almost any wired or wireless device. Read the full announcement.

Take the challenge: Cloud-enable your Windows Phone app

Take the Nokia DVLUP challenge and discover how quickly you can add cloud back-end features such as push notifications, user authentication, and leaderboards to your Windows Phone app. Add a healthy dose of delight to your new Windows Phone app or game using Windows Azure Mobile Services. Receive points for incorporating one or more mobile services as well as bonus points for providing feedback after running with a service for 60 days. Redeem your points for awesome rewards. Take the App Challenge and Game Challenge today!

Terms and conditions apply. The Rewards Program is open only to legal residents of one of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, or Canada (excluding Quebec) who are of legal age of majority in their state (19 in Nebraska and Alabama, 18 in all other states) or province/territory of residence at the time of entry, and who are active Windows Phone Dev Center members during the Rewards Program Period.

Learning

Get started using Windows Azure Cache Service

Learn how to use Windows Azure Cache Service with scenarios that include configuring a cache cluster, configuring cache clients, adding and removing objects from the cache, storing Microsoft ASP.NET session state in the cache, and enabling ASP.NET page output caching using the cache. The samples are written in C# code and use the Microsoft .NET API. Read the full guide.

Check out our additional articles on Windows Azure Cache.

Learn how to use Multi-Factor Authentication

Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication is the multi-factor authentication service that requires users to verify sign-ins using a mobile app, phone call, or text message. Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Overview provides a general overview of Multi-Factor Authentication and specific information on:

  • Adding Multi-Factor Authentication to Windows Azure Active Directory
  • Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication for On-Premises Applications and Windows Server
  • Building Multi-Factor Authentication into Custom Apps (Using the SDK)

Discover Key Hybrid Cloud Solutions for IT Pros

Join local Microsoft cloud experts for a free one-day IT Camp on Windows Azure. You'll hear the latest on the Microsoft cloud platform, learn about Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, and participate in hands-on labs that demonstrate the power of this on-demand, scalable compute infrastructure. Sign up today.

Tuesdays with Corey: Load Balancer

A prebuilt load balancer that gives you the control that you desire—could it be? Find out in this week's Tuesdays with Corey.

Watch the video

Discover and learn more about Windows Azure with Live Q&A Session Now available on demand!

If you missed our recent live Q&A session on Windows Azure for IT Professionals, it’s now available on-demand on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). Led by Microsoft Technical Evangelist and Azure expert David Tesar, this 90-minute Q&A is a great opportunity to discover more about Windows Azure, and learn from the questions asked by the audience.

Watch it at your convenience.

Partner

September Partner Showcase: Aditi

Whether you are exploring the value that cloud solutions offer or you have already made the decision to move to the cloud, strategic planning for the transition is vital. Aditi can help your business with IT planning, technical deployment, and proactive support. Aditi partners with independent software vendors and online businesses to accelerate adoption of Windows Azure. Find out if Aditi is right for you.

September Partner Showcase: DNN

Powered by Windows Azure, Evoq in the Cloud is a fully managed service offering that delivers DNN Evoq solutions: Evoq Content, a leading CMS solution, and Evoq Social, a turnkey community solution. Evoq in the Cloud provides customers with a 99.95 percent service level agreement and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find out more.

Success Stories

Office furniture supplier reduces storage costs and restore times with cloud-integrated solution

Steelcase, a Fortune 1000 company, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of workplace products, furnishings, and services. With annual revenues of US$2.87 billion and approximately 10,000 employees at offices around the world, the company needed an effective solution to replace its problematic backup and disaster recovery systems. Steelcase opted for a hybrid cloud storage solution featuring StorSimple cloud-integrated storage and Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment. Read the full story.

Electronics retailer enhances partnerships and increases revenue with cloud technology

RadioShack wanted to deliver timely and accurate product-availability information and promotional coupons to its customers and sales partners. The retailer worked with Pariveda Solutions to develop inventory and coupon management solutions based on Windows Azure, which helped RadioShack build better partnerships, enhance customer satisfaction, collect better data, and increase revenue, all at less cost. Read the full story.