Microsoft’s Guthrie announces raft of Windows Azure enhancements

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Don’t expect Microsoft to slow down its product development or take any kind of pause while the company transitions in its new CEO, Satya Nadella. The Microsoft machine is humming. Consider Scott Guthrie’s announcement this week of “a massive amount of enhancements to Windows Azure” now available.

Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise Group, says new features for immediate use include ExpressRoute, which is a “dedicated, private, high-throughput network connectivity on-premises” enabling connectivity between Azure datacenters and your own on-prem environments. Other features and enhancements are backup and restore support for websites; .NET support, Notification Hub Integration and PhoneGap Support for Mobile Services; and new support for Hadoop 2.2 clusters for HDInsight to help speed query response times among other benefits.

Windows Azure services now generally available in new Japan cloud region.Japan’s cloud market has grown considerably in the last few years and this growth is only expected to increase, with the projected 2014 forecast estimated at around $1.6 billion, according to IDC. These new regions will help fulfill the current and future needs of our cloud customers with secure and highly available services that help them grow their business.

Microsoft’s Nadella also announced that Oracle software on Windows Azure will be GA on March 12. Microsoft launched a new website ( covering all GA and pricing details around its new offering with Oracle for public and private cloud services. Under the terms of this new partnership, Oracle will certify and support its software on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure.

Microsoft (MS) Open Technologies, which powers interoperability between MS and non-MS technology, also released updates this month to the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java. The updates include support for SSL offloading; recognition of GlassFish 4 as an application server; and availability of Azul System’s Zulu update 45. Zulu, which began a partnership with Microsoft last summer, is an OpenJDK Build for Windows Azure leveraging new advancements from the open source community.

In related news around open source software, Microsoft Trends announced that Microsoft is contributing code to the OpenDaylight project, a new open source framework backed by Linux that enables Software Defined Networks (SDN). SDN, according to Microsoft Trends, is considered a “more agile approach to delivering networks that adapt to the requirements deployed within that network.”

With the television landscape undergoing rapid change, here is a Windows Azure case study right in the thick of this change. all3media, a television programming and production company based in Great Britain, needed a way to begin streaming its award-winning shows to viewers via Internet-connected devices, such as iPads, smartphones and console players like Xbox. All3media found a way to partner with Easel TV – a multi-screen televisual platform that uses Windows Azure to host its array of content. With Windows Azure’s flexible scaling capabilities, all3media pays only for what it uses based on its viewers variable consumption habits

Lastly, Microsoft’s Brad Anderson posted a blog this month illustrating concrete examples of the effectiveness of deploying hybrid cloud to meet complex business needs. In his new post, Anderson focuses on two examples from the financial industry and how its unique cloud and server needs are a great fit for Windows Azure hybrid cloud. In one example, Anderson cites a company called RiskMetrics, which deploys a Windows Azure hybrid cloud instance to enable it to extend its server capacity during peak data loads. Without Windows Azure’s near limitless infrastructure and “pay for what you use” scalability, RiskMetrics would have to invest significantly in its own on-premise server expansion to handle the swings of its data flows. Instead, with hybrid cloud, RiskMetrics takes advantage of having control over its own data center while using Windows Azure to extend its server capacity as needed.


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