Windows Azure garners 1,000 new subscriptions daily

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Microsoft’s Steve Martin blogged this week that Windows Azure is netting 1,000 new subscriptions daily. On top of that news, Martin announced a ¬†number of new Azure features, especially involving Active Directory (AD). Microsoft, according to Martin, now has made available GA a free offering of Windows Azure AD. In addition to its free AD offering, Microsoft also offers a premium version of AD, giving users a more “robust set of capabilities to empower enterprises” around single sign-on and general access management for enterprise employees.

Martin also said Microsoft’s BizTalk Services are now GA, enabling enterprises a way to integrate applications between on-premise and the cloud. Martin notes that BizTalk “enables powerful business scenarios” such as supply chain, EDI and EAI. Martin also reports Windows Azure Traffic Manager is now GA, offering users three use options for load balancing: performance, failover and round robin.

One more note about Microsoft’s reported Azure growth numbers (see above). According to InformationWeek‘s Charles Babcock, Windows Azure General Manager, Mike Neil, says revenues for Azure are up 100% from the previous year. While Babcock notes Microsoft’s high growth numbers may indicate “pent-up demand” due to its recent entry in IaaS, he suggests Microsoft benefits from its ability to tie cloud services into its customers’ on-premise private cloud Windows Server 2012 infrastructure.

In terms of Microsoft’s overall product suite, Redmond Channel Partner this week published its annually updated product roadmap column. It’s a full report of everything Microsoft does and produces and includes its judgment that 2013 may finish up being less active than 2012 in terms of major releases. Yet the article rightly notes 2013 may be most remembered for Microsoft’s stated intention (at WPC 2013 in Houston) to morph into being a “devices and services” company compared with its software past.

On a final note, Microsoft’s Brad Anderson this week blogged about the growth of StorSimple -the service Microsoft acquired in 2012 to bolster its data storage offerings. (Anderson says enterprise data – especially unstructured data – is growing 40-60% annually.) Anderson says that StorSimple’s integration with Windows Azure gives users a “truly unique” option with hybrid cloud data storage deployment. By integrating with Azure, users can deploy data in¬†“public clouds as an extended tier of primary storage” to leverage cloud efficiencies, scalability and security.

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