March 2014

Announcements

Watch Build 2014 conference keynote

Microsoft’s developer conference is sold out. But you can still watch it online and immerse yourself in what’s next for the Microsoft platform and tools. Streamed keynotes start at 8:30 A.M. PDT on Wednesday, April 2. Most sessions will also be available on demand within 24 hours.

Windows Azure services now generally available in China

Windows Azure has become the first major public cloud platform to enter China. This accomplishment was made possible through a unique relationship between Microsoft and 21Vianet, one of China’s largest providers of data-center services. Read about this industry first or visit the Chinese Windows Azure website.

Windows Azure soon to be Microsoft Azure

On April 2, Windows Azure will be renamed to Microsoft Azure. This change reflects Microsoft’s strategy and focus on Azure as the public cloud platform for all of Microsoft’s customers and for Microsoft’s own business and consumer cloud services – such as Office 365, Dynamics, Bing, OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Live. Our commitment to deliver the enterprise-grade cloud platform for the world’s apps is greater than ever. Today we support the broadest set of operating systems, languages and services of any public cloud – from Windows and .Net to Python, Ruby, Node.js, Java, Hadoop, Linux and Oracle.

Windows Azure Active Directory Premium generally available this April

Microsoft’s advanced identity and access management solution for the cloud is launching in April and includes capabilities such as synchronization with on-premises directories, single sign-on to hundreds of SaaS applications, machine learning–based security and usage reports, Multi-Factor Authentication, self-service password reset, and an enterprise-scale SLA that provides the reliability businesses require. Learn more about Windows Azure Active Directory.

Popular Oracle software now runs on Windows Azure

March 12 marked an exciting milestone in the strategic partnership with Oracle: the general availability of Windows Server–based virtual machine images with Oracle software included on Microsoft’s enterprise cloud platforms. This is part of our broader promise to provide an open platform so our customers can use the cloud in a way that makes sense for them. Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., is making these images available and has more information to help you get started. You can also find additional details here.

.NET support comes to Mobile Services

Thanks to a recent update, customers of Windows Azure Mobile Services can now write their back-end logic using .NET and the ASP.NET Web API framework. This makes it easier than ever for enterprises to add a mobility layer to existing Microsoft SQL Server, SAP, and Oracle systems or data. Learn how to get started with Mobile Services .NET for Windows Store, Windows Phone and iOS.

New feature for Windows Azure Web Sites: Auto-healing

How many times have you been woken up at night over an issue that was fixed just by restarting your web site? Wouldn’t it be nice if a site could automatically recover? Now it can, with the new auto-healing feature in Windows Azure Web Sites. To see how it works, read this post by Windows Azure PM Apurva Joshi.

Windows Azure Traffic Manager (WATM) now supports Windows Azure Web Sites

WATM load-balancing profiles now support Windows Azure Web Sites as endpoints, in addition to cloud services. This will enable directing web traffic across multiple regions in different load-balancing methods: performance, fail-over, and round robin. The Traffic Manager profile allows you to mix and match cloud services and Web Sites endpoints for hybrid configuration scenarios and more. Learn more about Traffic Manager and Web Sites.

Insights from Scott Guthrie’s blog

Read Scott Guthrie’s blog to learn about exciting new enhancements to management and monitoring in Windows Azure. For example, the number of supported co-administrators increased from 10 to 200 administrators per subscription. Service outage notifications are now integrated into Windows Azure Management Portal and Active Directory. And there are now more apps and reports, in addition to self-service group management.

BizTalk Services updated

Windows Azure BizTalk Services now supports EDIFACT (the United Nations rules for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport) in business-to-business message processing. A recent update also adds enhanced EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) capabilities, simplified on-premises connectivity setup, and more. Get the new BizTalk Services SDK and related resources.

Learning

It’s Friday with Windows Azure!

Windows Azure expert Vittorio Bertocci explains Federation and the basics of Windows Azure Active Directory in his latest installment of the Windows Azure Identity 101 video series. Watch it.

Tuesdays with Corey: Dear Azure Edition

Your app needs a refresh, and your gamer buddies just replaced you with your Michael Bolton–adoring brother-in-law. Forums, industry analysts, and that creepy guy down the hall with the collection of Star Wars figures are helpful only to a point. Don’t worry. Just like your crazy uncle who once bailed you out of a jam and never said a word to your parents, Dear Azure is here to help. Watch Tuesdays with Corey—Dear Azure Edition for a great introduction. Or, head straight over to Dear Azure get your cloud questions answered.

How-to: Do more with the hybrid cloud

Window Azure’s Brad Anderson continues his In the Cloud blog series on the hybrid cloud. Read about topics like VM roles and PaaS as an application platform, virtualization and templates, and cloud bursting.

Forrester’s perspectives on Microsoft BizTalk integration middleware

In The Forrester Wave: Hybrid2 Integration, Q1 2014 report, Forrester positions Microsoft as a leader in wide integration, deep integration, and cloud integration, in addition to a strong performer in what Forrester calls “Internet-of-Things Integration.” Forrester’s concept of hybrid integration says that integrating federated, on-premises and cloud-based systems helps improve data integration, business-to-business exchanges, and the interoperability between existing and new applications. Download this report, compliments of the Windows Azure team.

Online tools for Windows Azure Web Sites

If you like to get up close and personal when managing your computing resources, you’ll be happy to know that Windows Azure Web Sites comes with some useful online tools that let you do some really cool things. These tools are part of the Kudu dashboard, also known as the Site Control Management dashboard. Learn more about these tools on aAmit Apple’s blog post.

Tips for building highly scalable web sites

Building highly scalable Windows Azure Web Sites offer many potential benefits, but getting there smoothly requires deep understanding and some experience. In this blog post, Windows Azure program manager Sunitha Muthukrishna shares some best practices for getting the job done.

How-to: Administer your site remotely, using IIS Manager

For those who are accustomed to using IIS Manager to configure their sites, there’s great news: you can now configure your site on Windows Azure Web Sites using the same familiar tool. In this blog post, you’ll see how to do this and what the benefits are.

Creating multi-platform apps, using the XPlatformCloudKit and Windows Azure

Microsoft DevRadio showcases the XPlatformCloudKit, which shows you how to build a multiplatform app, using Windows Azure Mobile Services as your backend. Tune in as DevRadio demos the ins and outs of navigating this expansive timesaver.

Sharpen your skills at a Microsoft Developer Camp

Join a Microsoft Developer Camp for Windows Azure, and leave with code running in the cloud! Learn critical skills that all modern developers need to know. Available in select cites, these free, one-day, instructor-led workshops let you roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with the latest Microsoft development tools and technologies.

TechEd 2014: Trends, innovations, professional development, and more

Browse the TechEd catalog—there are more than 600 sessions and labs to choose from—and build the conference experience that matches your interests. Earn Microsoft certifications, too: exams are offered at a 50 percent discount during TechEd. Register today, and we’ll see you May 12–15 in Houston.

Partner

"IT organizations that are migrating to Windows Azure or planning to run a hybrid IT environment will now be able to use the same security solution across the enterprise. We are pleased to expand our proven SaaS solution to Windows Azure with Log Manager, helping ease transitions to the hybrid cloud environment."
—Dave Colesante, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Development

Alert Logic Log Manager offers security and compliance log management for Windows Azure or on-premises environments, including searching, correlating, alerting, and reporting. Certified System Security Analyst daily log review services available.

"SoftJam is leveraging the power of Windows Azure for bringing to their customers power and flexibility, lowering their cost at the same time—from the incredible scalability of the PaaS approach, to the IaaS usage, to the new exciting concept of cloud-integrated storage (CIS) with StorSimple. We are really enthusiastic about being nominated Windows Azure Italian Partner of the Year in 2013, and we are getting back great feedback from all of our customers regarding the solution we are building with them using … Windows Azure."
—Andrea Pescino, CEO

Windows Azure Italian Partner of the Year 2013, SoftJam S.p.A., based in northern Italy, is a system integrator operating in the IT market since 1997. The paradigm adopted by SoftJam is that there are no IT projects—only business projects enabled by technological solutions.

Success Stories

Cloud solution manages online traffic, customer deals during the 2013 holiday season

"Windows Azure extracted a lot of the operational worries…. It handled all that for us, so we could focus on just delivering the features and capabilities that the business needed."
—Jim Keane, Executive Director for Site Operations, CSB Product Unit Manager

Facing a crush of online deal hunters over last year’s Black Friday weekend, PC maker Dell turned to Windows Azure to rapidly build and deploy a system capable of handling traffic and deal campaigns.

Leading providers of emergency care services in Europe processed six years’ worth of records in a few hours

"We quickly spun up the Windows Azure HDInsight cluster and processed six years’ worth of data in just a few hours…. This type of analysis is beyond most organizations’ ability."
—Paul Henderson, BI Division Head

Leeds Teaching Hospitals had growing volumes of structured and unstructured data. To capture this volume of data, they used Windows Azure HDInsight and were able to process six years’ worth of admissions records in just a few hours. As a result, they identified more than 30 separate scenarios where the hospital could improve healthcare and operational and financial efficiency.