Microsoft Adds Integrated Security Extensions and ExpressRoute and many more enhancements to Azure and availability of Azure in Open Licensing

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Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie last month posted one of his mammoth blog posts detailing a host of new enhancements to Microsoft Azure. Chief among these are “Integrated Security Extensions” to capture VM images in the portal. Guthrie also announced the GA of ExpressRoute for networking as well as GA of Azure’s Export/Import Service, enabling users to “move large amounts of data into and out of your Microsoft Azure Storage accounts by transferring them on hard disks.” Guthrie also discussed enhancements for Azure’s Remote App Service, its new Azure API Management Service and Hybrid Connections.

Tying into Guthrie’s latest post, Microsoft announced a set of additional Azure enhancements and new features at last month’s TechEd North America 2014 in Houston. At this event, Microsoft announced the release “in preview” this month of Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, giving users “enhanced, cost-effective disaster recovery in the cloud.” Microsoft also offers now in preview “the ability to install an anti-malware agent for both cloud services and virtual machines.” Microsoft also revealed the launch of new partnerships with Symantec and Trend Micro to “integrate with Azure virtual machines.”

Getting back to Scott Guthrie – his latest post (June 3) details yet more Azure enhancements building off his announcements from last month along with those announced at TechEd North America 2014. In his post this week, Guthrie says Azure offers improved dev/test capability using the Azure cloud platform as well as release of BizTalk Services, enabling “EDI and EAI integration in the cloud.” Guthrie also revealed Azure’s new “Per-Minute Billing and No Charge for Stopped VMs” services. Guthrie notes users will “only get charged for the exact minutes of compute you use, no compute charges for stopped VMs.”

Microsoft last month announced that Microsoft Azure will certify many of SAP’s business applications, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. Foley reports that support of “SAP Business Suite software, SAP Business All-in-One solutions, SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform on Azure” will begin by the end of this month. Foley notes that “SAP users who want to run their applications on Azure will be able to bring their own licenses and use certified images.”

Lastly, Microsoft’s Josh Waldo, Senior Director, Cloud Partner Strategy, last month posted on his blog that Microsoft Azure “is coming to the Open Licensing program” beginning August 1, 2014. Waldo notes that “Azure will now be available through another familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities for you to grow margins and deepen customer relationships.”

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