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New Azure services that maximize IT investments and developer agility

Posted on March 26, 2015

Director, Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure
Speed, scale and cost economics are the most common benefits attributed to cloud computing. At Microsoft, we remain committed to providing the most complete cloud through hyper-scale, hybrid and enterprise grade services, designed to get customers to the cloud on their terms. Earlier in the week, we announced Azure App Service to enable developers to rapidly build web and mobile apps for any platform and any device. And last month, we announced Azure Mobile Engagement, closing the marketing loop for app publishers and marketers allowing them to engage directly with all of their users. Today, we are excited to announce updates to our hybrid strategy with new functionality in Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, which will enable Availability on Demand. With the general availability of Azure API Management Premium, customers can now deploy and manage APIs with enterprise level features. At Microsoft, we are committed to bring the benefits of cloud to all, IT professionals, developers and business decision makers. All of this innovation is a testament to that commitment.

New Back up and Disaster Recovery services enable Availability on Demand

As enterprises make the move to hybrid, management capabilities are critical in extending existing infrastructure and seamlessly managing, moving and storing data and applications across environments. Microsoft is investing in delivering industry-leading cloud management capabilities, and today we are continuing our investment with updates to Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, which will enable Availability on Demand. These tools will allow on premises assets to easily extend into Azure for disaster recovery, analytics, backup, cloud bursting, migration, and development and testing. Azure Backup helps you protect files and folders by providing multiple copies in multiple geographies. Azure Backup offers virtually seamless integration with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) to help you protect Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Windows client, and Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) applications, among others. Now, Azure Backup can perform online backups of Windows and Linux infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) VMs, and then restore them as needed. Should you have a congested network, initial backups can be shipped to the nearest Azure datacenter and initially seeded leveraging Azure Import/Export Service. Azure Backup for IaaS VMs is available in preview, and you can visit our Azure Backup webpage for more information. With new Azure Site Recovery functionality, also available in preview, you can now help protect your VMware VMs and physical servers using Azure as your disaster recovery site. Site Recovery provides near-zero recovery point objective (RPO) with continuous data-protection technology. Customizable Site Recovery plans can ensure that multi-tier applications are recovered to a consistent point in time, minimizing lost transactions and application errors. When your primary data center recovers, you can almost seamlessly failback to your on-premises virtual infrastructure. You can also test new versions of your applications and then failback a new version into production in your data center—or you can continue to run your applications in Azure as part of your migration to the cloud. For more information, please visit the Azure Site Recovery webpage. There is no additional charge for this feature.

Azure API Management Premium simplifies high availability and massive scale for APIs

Today marks the general availability of Azure API Management Premium. It includes premium capabilities such as Geo-distribution to host an API Management instance in multiple Azure data centers with configuration automatically synchronized around the world; Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity to connect the API Management proxy to your Azure Virtual Network (including ExpressRoute) to help achieve maximum security and performance when tackling hybrid scenarios and Integration with Azure Active Directory to provides better support for internal and business-to-business API programs, allowing developers to sign in to the Azure Management Portal with their corporate credentials. Premium tier pricing goes into effect May 1, 2015.

Azure Active Directory enhancements that protect and enhance access to cloud resources

We continue enhancing Azure Active Directory with multiple new capabilities that protect and enhance access to cloud resources. Key capabilities announced today include- Rollover of passwords: Azure AD allows the assignment of shared application accounts to groups. This is useful for managing access to company owned social media accounts. The real password of these accounts was known only by the administrator while group users have access with their work credentials. A very important security enhancement of this process, is the ability to automatically rollover these passwords. By automatically creating new strong complex passwords at custom interval, the risk of exploitation of company owned social media accounts is minimized. Set rules on any group: Administrators are able to set rules on any group of Azure Active Directory, based on user attributes (“department”, “country” etc) to dynamically define their membership. These groups can be used to provide access to applications or cloud resources or assign licenses to users. Multifactor authentication per application: Azure Active Directory now provides Conditional Access policies that lets you create access rules for any Azure AD connected application based on user location and group membership. More sensitive apps can be assigned stricter policies, such as requiring Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) outside of the corporate network while less sensitive apps can have more open policies.

Azure App Service powers the creation of intelligent web and mobile apps

On March 24, Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Azure App Service, an exciting new Azure service for application developers. Azure App Service is an enterprise-grade service that can help you quickly and easily create powerful enterprise web, mobile, logic, and API apps for multiple platforms and devices. App Service integrates the best of Azure Websites, Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk Services, along with new capabilities in Logic and API apps to provide you with a unified set of capabilities for everything from the development and management experience to the billing model. By removing the burden of developing across multiple platforms or learning new languages, App Service can help you to build more secure connections for your enterprise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, to scale IT infrastructure, to automate business processes, and more—so you can focus on building groundbreaking apps and experiences, fast. Watch the launch event with Scott Guthrie. Learn more and try Azure App Service today. Lastly, Azure Mobile Engagement available in preview is a SaaS-delivered, data-driven user engagement platform that enables real-time fine-grain user segmentation, app user analytics, and contextually-aware smart push notifications and in-app messaging across all connected devices. As Spring has arrived, we are delighted to bring this new innovation to you. If you are not part of the Azure family yet, “spring” into a free trial, at