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Exciting updates to Microsoft Azure at TechEd Europe, enabling simplicity, scale and innovation

Today at TechEd, in Barcelona Spain, we unveiled several new enhancements to Microsoft Azure enabling simplification, scale and innovation.

There is no denying it- leveraging cloud is top of mind for most enterprises. Whether you are looking to the cloud to drive efficiencies or innovating your business model, there are multiple compelling reasons- but one trumps them all. It is agility! Agility in driving operational efficiencies; agility in enabling innovation; agility in delivering productivity across IT, business and end users. At Microsoft Azure, we are passionate about empowering you, our customers, in driving your business forward.

Today at TechEd, in Barcelona Spain, we unveiled several new enhancements to Microsoft Azure enabling simplification, scale and innovation.

Delivering enterprise grade experience

Enterprise applications require fast and predictable response times in order to keep up with demand. Earlier last week, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, announced the availability of the largest virtual machine sizes in the public cloud- the new G Series of virtual machines. These are optimized for heavy data workloads and use the very latest Intel Xeon processors.  They have up to 32 CPU cores of compute capability, 448 gigabytes of RAM and more than 6.5 terabytes of local SSD storage. In addition, he also announced the preview of a new Premium Storage offering that will support up to 32 terabytes of storage per virtual machine.  And customers will be able to drive more than 50,000 IOPS off of each virtual machine with sub-millisecond latency for all read operations.  The combination of these new virtual machine sizes together with Premium Storage offering delivers an unparalleled degree of performance for your most business critical applications.

Simplifying operations to drive value

Today, we announced a number of new services designed to streamline operations, freeing organizations to focus time and resources on what matters most – innovation and business transformation. Available in public preview, Azure Batch delivers job scheduling as a service, making it easy to run large-scale parallel and high performance computing (HPC) work in Azure. Azure Batch enables scenarios such as calculating risk for banks and insurance companies, designing new consumer and industrial products, sequencing genes and developing new drugs, searching for new energy sources, rendering 3D animations, transcoding video and more. Learn more about Batch here.

To preview soon is Azure Operational Insights, an operations management and intelligence service that integrates across System Center and leverages the power of Azure and HDInsight to analyze machine data across environments, enabling actionable insights and better decisions. Now generally available, Azure Automation orchestrates time-consuming and frequently repeated tasks across Azure and third-party systems, decreasing expenses for cloud operations.

In addition, WebJobs is now generally available. The WebJobs feature of Microsoft Azure Websites provides an easy way for you to run programs such as services or background tasks in a website. WebJobs inherits all the goodness of Azure Websites- deployment options, remote debugging capabilities, load balancing and auto-scaling. Jobs can run in one instance, or in all of them. With WebJobs all the building blocks are there to build something amazing or, small background jobs to perform maintenance for a website.

Enhancing connectivity, reliability and global reach

Enterprises expect mission-critical connectivity between their datacenters and Azure. With ExpressRoute, we deliver enterprise-grade connectivity ‘out-of-the-box’. Not only do we provide dual redundant circuits, we also let enterprises connect to multiple Azure regions via an ExpressRoute location, or connect via a secure VPN over the Internet for added redundancy. This connectivity is backed with an SLA of 99.9% making Azure the only public cloud provider to offer such resiliency for the connection. Today we’ve announced a partnership with Telstra in Australia and Colt in Europe so that more customers can get seamless private connectivity experience when adding Azure directly to their network.

In the context of connectivity, we are working hard to build out Azure all over the world, so that you can deploy and run your applications closer to your own customers and employees. Earlier this week we announced the availability of two new regions in Australia bringing Azure to 19 regions across the globe.

Multiple options to securing and running challenging workloads in the cloud

For just about everybody, the first concern that comes to mind with public cloud platforms is security. At Microsoft Azure, we are relentless on security and constantly delivering meaningful choices for customers to gain additional security.

Microsoft Antimalware for Cloud Services and Virtual Machines is now generally available to identify and remove viruses, spyware and other malicious software. It provides real time protection from the latest threats, on-demand scheduled scanning, and collection of antimalware events via Azure Diagnostics at no additional charge.

We also announced the general availability of multiple new networking security features –Network Security Groups that provide flexible and fine grained policies and enable you to have greater control over your network topology and how you want traffic to flow (or not flow). This feature makes it easier for you provide the right level of isolation for you applications as well as in designing multi-tier applications that require isolation between Internet facing front-ends and sensitive back-end databases. Forced tunneling enables you to mandate all internet-bound traffic go through the site-to-site tunnel, thereby ensuring compliance requirements that might be in place within the company. Additionally, we have the capability for Azure VMs to have Multiple-Network Interface Cards.

Lastly, new Visual Studio Online accounts can now be provisioned in Azure datacenters located in the US or in Europe. This enables customers who find data sovereignty important to have their data stored in the location that best suits them.

Wrapping it all up with a rich ecosystem

As often mentioned by Satya Nadella our CEO, at Microsoft we provide ’cloud that has no limits’.  Customers can use any device, any OS, any data, any programming language, and this enables not only enterprises but also startups and ISVs to use all of the tools and technologies they’re already familiar with. In the recent weeks, we have announced partnerships with Docker, IBM and CoreOS. We also announced the launch of a new Azure Marketplace that brings together the strength of Azure’s partner ecosystem within a single, unified platform. Customers around the world can easily search, purchase, and deploy a wide variety of solutions with a few clicks. Today, we are excited to announce new offers from IBM, SAP, DataStax, Veeam, McAfee, SoftNAS, Trend Micro, and NGINX in the Azure Marketplace.

With these new services and what we bring to market in the future at an aggressive pace, our goal is to power scale, choice and innovation in your business.

For more on today’s news, check out the Official Microsoft blog and Scott Guthrie’s blog. Also, don’t forget you can keep up with everything happening at TechEd using the Channel 9 Events App.