Now more than ever, customers are accelerating their move to Azure to increase efficiency, improve security, optimize costs, and to innovate. Customers like Molina Healthcare and Forever 21 are using Windows Server on Azure and are able to scale capacity during surges related to the COVID-19 pandemic or seasonal retail sales. Today, we are sharing more unique capabilities that continue to make Azure the best place to run Windows Server.

Simplify and optimize IT management with Azure Automanage

We often hear from customers that they are looking for ways to efficiently run business-critical applications. Last fall, we introduced the preview of Azure Automanage, an Azure service that helps customers significantly reduce day-to-day management by automating frequent, error-prone, and time-consuming tasks across the entire lifecycle of virtual machines.

On top of that, customers such as Molina Healthcare have experienced an upsurge in security threats over the past year and aim to stay ahead of evolving threats to protect sensitive customer data. Today, we are introducing unique capabilities in Azure Automanage for Windows Server that help customers enable rebootless security patching for new Windows Server virtual machines. These new enhancements enable the deployment of security patches in seconds, helping protect servers against critical security threats. With Azure Automanage for Windows Server, companies can spend less time worrying about patching vulnerabilities and direct organizational resources towards supporting critical member services and customer support.

For customers who want to Automanage other workloads, we are expanding Azure Automanage to Linux Virtual Machines. With this preview, Azure Automanage will support CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu, and SLES with more Linux distributions planned in the future. Try Azure Automanage today.

Familiar Windows Admin Center now in the Azure portal

Windows Admin Center is a widely popular tool used to configure, troubleshoot, and perform maintenance tasks on millions of Windows Server instances. It is known for its simple user interface and secure remote management experience. With Windows Admin Center in Azure now in preview, customers can use the same interface they know and love to perform seamless and granular management of Windows Server Virtual Machines right from the Azure portal.

Beyond enjoying a familiar, easy-to-use interface, customers can manage their files, view expired certificates, monitor performance, view critical events, use PowerShell, use an in-browser remote desktop protocol (RDP) session, and much more without leaving the portal. This cloud-first offering features an integrated certificate experience that provides a secure connection to your virtual machines over a public or private IP address. Learn more and get started with using Windows Admin Center in Azure.

Seamless hybrid capabilities for Windows Server workloads

We understand that the move to the cloud is a journey. Many customers take a hybrid approach, one that combines on-premises and cloud environments working together. For example, as Forever 21 has transitioned away from an outdated on-premises environment, they have used the scalability of Azure to cope with an increased number of sessions from online shoppers that result from holiday season retail surges. They have also been able to upgrade their security posture with advanced cloud technologies to better safeguard customer information.

Customers can now take advantage of Azure capabilities for their Windows Server across on-premises, edge, or multicloud with Azure Arc. Azure Arc makes it possible to manage, secure, and govern Windows Server anywhere from the single control plane in Azure. Once servers are Azure Arc enabled, Azure management services such as Azure Policy, Azure Monitor, and Azure Defender can be easily added. With a few simple clicks in Windows Admin Center, customers can enable connectivity to Azure Arc.

Further, customers that are looking to modernize their infrastructure in their on-premises datacenters can use Azure Stack HCI, a cloud-managed hyperconverged infrastructure solution. Azure Stack HCI is a great way to start small and scale Windows Server workloads that reside in remote and branch offices or even in datacenters. Azure Stack HCI has native Azure Arc integration so customers get the advantage of all the hybrid management and security capabilities from Azure. Read more about hybrid cloud solutions.

Customers depend on the Windows Server operating system for running their business-critical workloads on-premises. Yesterday, we announced the preview of Windows Server 2022, the next release in the long-term servicing channel (LTSC). This version introduces further innovations in security, hybrid, and app modernization. Read more about the Windows Server 2022 release.

Migrate your Windows Server workloads to Azure today

Both Molina Healthcare and Forever 21 have taken advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit to lower the total cost of ownership of running Windows Server in Azure. Here are some resources to get started with your migration journey:

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