Over the past week, citizens across the world have united under one common theme – the World Cup. It’s not often we unite for one cause. However, these momentous occasions often make me stop and think about how incredible it is that no matter what nationality, affiliation or team we’re pulling for, we’re all watching and enjoying the same thing. Technological innovation has been bringing the world closer together for decades. What I find fascinating is how the intersection of cloud computing and consumer devices is now a driving force behind this. If you are watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup live stream on a connected device, you’re experiencing the phenomenon first hand. Thanks to cloud computing, it’s only in recent times that we can all be watching the same event no matter whether we’re at home, at work or on the go. This is why at Microsoft we are so delighted that Azure is central to the evolution of multi-screen viewing in live sports. The live stream for 2014 FIFA World Cup is the outcome of a partnership between Azure Media Services and Deltatre. Building upon the successful partnership in the streaming of the London and Sochi Olympic Games, Microsoft and Deltatre are bringing expanded reach, lower costs and greater flexibility to premium World Cup Content. Azure Media Services is hosting the games across several broadcasters in more than 10 countries to deliver every second of the action to all of the most popular consumer devices in Canada, South and Central America, and Asia. Live streaming services is an ideal scenario for the public cloud given the elastic nature of the resource needs that need to ramp quickly to global scale and bring down when the event is complete. Working with our customers and partners to deliver innovation that enables people to enrich their daily lives while driving new business opportunities is core to Microsoft’s vision of a “mobile-first, cloud-first” world. Microsoft also understands that beyond delivering services like live streaming, customers require support to help ensure high availability and visibility of service status. This is why in the last week, we have announced: • Azure Site Recovery Manager, formerly Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager, is being extended with new functionality in public preview. Now you can replicate virtual machines from your primary site directly to Azure, instead of to your own secondary site. In the event of an outage at the primary site, the service orchestrates the recovery of virtual machines in Azure. • Based on your great feedback, we have introduced a new and improved Azure Status dashboard at status.azure.com. You will now be able to personalize the dashboard to display the services and regions that you care about, and subscribe to RSS feeds for all services or only those that interest you. Lastly, we also announced an update to HDInsight service with support for Apache HBase clusters in preview. Customers can now build interactive websites that work with large datasets, to build services that store sensor and telemetry data from millions of end points, and to analyze this data with Hadoop jobs. While all over the world, we all take a moment – or hours on end - to enjoy soccer on multiple screens, savor the fact that cloud computing, Azure and you are a part of it. To learn about these services or others in preview, visit the Preview features page or log into the portal.