• 4 min read

Empowering customers to embrace cloud with exciting updates to Microsoft Azure at TechEd NA

The benefits of cloud computing—speed, scale, and cost savings -- make the idea an easy sell for many businesses. Businesses need help embracing the cloud in a secure and reliable manner.

The benefits of cloud computing—speed, scale, and cost savings — make the idea an easy sell for many businesses. But businesses need help embracing cloud in a secure and reliable manner while leveraging existing investments for them to realize these benefits. So today at TechEd, we unveiled several new services designed to make it easier for you to drive your business toward a cloud-first, mobile-first future and deliver new capabilities, insights, and applications to your customers. Here’s a rundown of all the exciting Azure news.

Extending your datacenter

Companies don’t just suddenly go cloud-first. For most customers, it is a journey, where they get their feet wet and want to leverage their on-premises investments. Connectivity between Azure and on-premises technologies is key in this kind of hybrid cloud environment. Azure ExpressRoute, generally available starting today, makes it possible for customers to create these kind of private connections. Through partnerships with industry-leading telecom and exchange providers such as AT&T, BT, Equinix, Level3,  SingTel, TelecityGroup and Verizon, ExpressRoute offers businesses better reliability, faster speeds and lower latencies. We know this first hand: Microsoft IT was among the first to adopt this service for better redundancy, bandwidth, performance, and security. Among many other customers, Mckesson, Zadara and Acelera are enjoying the benefits of secure private connections with ExpressRoute. Also, solution providers such as Zadara Storage are leveraging ExpressRoute to provide Azure customers additional services. Hybrid clouds also require robust network connections—in-region, cross-region, and across multiple datacenter environments. To that end, Azure Virtual Network now supports more than one site-to-site VPN connection, so you can securely connect multiple on-premises locations. With new VNET-to-VNET connectivity, multiple virtual networks can be directly and securely linked to one another—enabling great disaster recovery solution, especially when combined with the Always On feature of SQL Server. IP Reservation, also new, lets you reserve public IP addresses and use them as virtual IP addresses—ideal for applications that need static public IP addresses or when you need to swap reserved IP addresses to update your applications. Azure Traffic Manager, now generally available, supports both Azure and external endpoints, for building highly available applications across Azure and on-premises. Also effective today, two new compute-intensive virtual machine instances—A8 and A9—came online, offering faster processors and interconnectivity, more virtual cores, and larger memory.

New tools for building and deploying applications

Some of you have told us that it’s challenging to port applications to the cloud if they were designed to access files in on-site servers. Azure Files, launched today in preview, now makes it easier to “lift and shift” existing applications to the cloud by allowing multiple virtual machines to easily set up a file share on top of Azure's highly available and durable storage system. The Azure Import/Export service, used to move large amounts of data in and out of Storage blobs, is also now generally available. You can ship terabytes of encrypted data, via hard disk drives to our data centers. Microsoft’s high-speed internal network is then used to transfer the data to or from your blob storage account. In addition, we have made BizTalk Hybrid Connections available in preview today as an easy way to build hybrid applications on Azure. This new Azure service enables you to more securely, quickly, and easily integrate Azure cloud solutions with on-premises TCP or HTTP resources without custom coding. Some of our customers have a need to build highly scalable and responsive applications by providing super-fast access to data. Azure Cache is a distributed, in-memory, scalable cache solution that is now generally available. We are also delighted to launch Azure Redis Cache in preview. Based on the popular open-source Redis cache, it gives you access to a security-enabled, dedicated Redis cache that’s managed by Microsoft.

Making it easier to be mobile first

APIs are nothing new to businesses–organizations typically have many APIs for every backend system that internal and external developers use in new mobile and web apps.  Companies, however, need a means of publishing and managing access to those APIs reliably, securely and at scale. Azure API Management available in preview, allows businesses to easily set API policies, customize a developer portal, review analytics and more.  When a business can publish APIs to internal and external developers, it opens the door to directly monetizing its digital assets, transforming its core product into a platform, and creating new content distribution channels across mobile devices. IT organizations are increasingly trying to help people do work on the smartphones and tablets they love, while simultaneously keeping corporate secrets safe. Available today in preview, Azure RemoteApp helps companies give mobile employees access to Windows applications across a range of devices. Combining Microsoft’s powerful Remote Desktop Services capabilities with the scale and cost-efficiencies of Microsoft Azure, RemoteApp helps employees to stay productive on the go, while giving IT departments the power to scale infrastructure up or down easily and inexpensively.

Ready for the unthinkable

Businesses always have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. When it launches in preview next month, Azure Site Recovery (formerly known as Hyper-V Recovery Manager) will help by providing better, more cost-effective disaster recovery in the cloud. Using the service, customers can replicate and recover virtual machines and services to Azure in the event of an outage at their primary datacenter. Microsoft Antimalware for Azure, available in preview today, offers customers the ability to install an antimalware agent for both cloud services and virtual machines. In addition, Microsoft announced it is working with cloud security market leaders Trend Micro and Symantec. Starting today, customers can deploy Trend Micro Deep Security agent and Symantec Endpoint Protection agent onto their virtual machine directly from the Azure portal. Lastly, we are also delighted to announce that support plans are now available for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. If you are running Linux in Azure Virtual Machines and have purchased Azure support, you can take advantage of these plans by deploying the associated image in the Azure image gallery.

Just getting started

As it comes to the evolution with Cloud, we are just getting started. With these new services and what we bring to market in the future, our goal is to help customers remove barriers for adoption of cloud, whether they want to leverage on premise investments or want to build cloud first applications. 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.