Microsoft Azure Unveils High-Level Live Streaming Cloud Capabilities

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In a new blog post from last month, Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Team announced a host of across-the-board enhancements to Microsoft Azure mostly aimed at fueling cloud-based efficiencies across the enterprise.

First off, Microsoft introduced in public preview its “Live Streaming and Content Protection offerings.” Microsoft Azure customers will now have access to the same level of live streaming (“scalability, uptime, and reliability” according to Microsoft) that was provided to broadcasters worldwide for the 2014 Winter Games and 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, Microsoft unveiled in GA its Azure API Management service. With Azure API Management, Microsoft says companies can now “easily set API policies, customize a developer portal, review analytics and more.” Microsoft also says it has released in limited preview its Migration Accelerator (MA), which can “seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Hyper-V workloads into Azure. This service, Microsoft says, will help customers “lower costs and risks” tied to their migration projects.

To help combat content piracy across the cloud, Microsoft’s Mingfei Yan, Program Manager, Azure Media Services, blogged last month about the introduction of Azure Media Services Content Protection services. With this service, Azure users can protect their content with Microsoft PlayReady technology, which Yan says is “an extensive, studio approved encryption technology that protects your content from piracy.” Azure users deploy Microsoft PlayReady to encrypt their content followed by “delivery of PlayReady Licenses to the devices to consume the same,” says Yan. Microsoft PlayReady is supported on most of the current devices on the market today.

On the pricing front, Microsoft’s Claire Fang, Director, Azure Business Planning, announced a new round of Azure price cuts. According to Fang, Azure is reducing its prices for ExpressRoute NSP, BizTalk Services, Mobile Services and Cache. These new rates can be acquired through the Microsoft Azure website (and Fang notes Azure enterprise customers will “enjoy even lower prices”).

In related news, Microsoft is taking on the challenge of finding a way to generate more accurate estimates of cloud services. The challenge, according to Microsoft’s Courtenay Bernier, lies in gauging properly the “bandwidth usage, storage transactions, and estimated future capacity” of its customers’ VMs or cloud services. To make this process easier, Bernier introduced Microsoft’s Azure Cost Estimator Tool. This new service profiles VMware/ESX, Virtual Machine Manager, Hyper-V, and Physical servers “over a period of time” and “report[s] resource consumption and align[s] it to resources and VM sizes within Microsoft Azure.” Bernier says migrating to “the cloud shouldn’t be a guessing game” and says the Cost Estimator tool will give Azure customers “information to realize the potential costs of moving compute resources to Microsoft Azure.”

As part of Microsoft Azure’s growing global footprint, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced last week that Azure will establish data centers in India by the end of 2015, according to Data Center Knowledge magazine. Microsoft says there is demand in India, revealing that its “cloud services revenue has grown 100 percent over the past year.” Microsoft, according to Data Center Knowledge, also plans to target its Azure services “at Indian startups” and will offer “Azure service credits to local startups, totaling $60,000.”









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