Windows Azure - Feature Packed Cloud Power

Working as a lead on the Windows Azure Testing & Adoption Program team over the last two years has been quite a lot of fun work. I have been engaging and navigating our select group of “bleeding-edge” customers through a ton of new features that have kept it even more challenging and exciting daily. To say our Windows Azure teams have been busy in the past 6 months is an understatement, and there’s lots more to come. I’m super excited to see even more of our customers using Windows Azure with some of the really awesome features. It’s a great time to catch the “Cloud Power”!

John Stame, who recently transitioned to role of Azure Solution Specialist in our US West Region provided a blog post with great overview coverage of the improvements launching within the next few weeks, inclusive of:

ü Extra Small Windows Azure Instance.

ü Remote Desktop

ü Elevated Privileges.

ü Full IIS Support

ü Windows Server 2008 R2 Roles.

ü Multiple Admins.

ü Dynamic Content Caching.

ü CDN SSL Delivery.

ü Improved global connectivity.

ü Improved Java Enablement.

ü Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role

ü Constructing VM role images in the cloud.

ü Server Application Virtualization

ü Windows Azure Virtual Network.

ü Support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 in the VM Role.

ü Windows Azure Marketplace

ü SQL Azure Reporting

ü SQL Azure Data Sync

ü Database Manager for SQL Azure

ü Windows Azure AppFabric

o AppFabric Caching

o AppFabric Service Bus

ü Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control

ü Windows Azure AppFabric Connect

ü Windows Azure AppFabric Composition Model and Composite App Service

ü TFS on Windows Azure.

These Windows Azure enhancements will be generally available by the end of 2010.

Microsoft also announced the following developer and operator enhancements at PDC 2010:

  • A completely redesigned Microsoft Silverlight-based Windows Azure portal to ensure an improved and intuitive user experience
  • Access to new diagnostic information including the ability to click on a role to see type and deployment time
  • A new sign-up process that dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to sign up for Windows Azure
  • New scenario-based Windows Azure Platform forums to help answer questions and share knowledge more efficiently

· Finally, a great offer for partners:

“Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners” is an offer that replaces Microsoft’s existing partner offers. This offer will go live on Jan. 7, 2011, and provide free access to the Windows Azure platform, including 750 Extra Small Instance hours and a SQL Azure database per month at no additional charge. Partners can sign up for the Cloud Essentials Pack at Microsoft Cloud Partner.

You can check out John’s original post here:

For more in-depth coverage, head over to Greg Duncan’s listing of the PDC 2010 video content:

Over the course of the next few months, I will be transitioning to our Services Enterprise Strategy Worldwide Azure Team (affectionately acronym’ed “eSWwAT”) and will be providing large-scale enterprise architectural assistance for our global customers. TAP is in good hands though, as we are expanding our Testing & Adoption Program (TAP) and have added new OneTAP leads (Welcome Tom Hollander, Bob Jacobs and Jeff King) to engage even more (currently waitlisted) customers. TAP will move towards some more strategic, tactical focus on key areas, as the platform continues to grow and mature.  I encourage you to go deeper with the platform, and even get certified on Windows Azure.

As usual, I’d love to hear feedback about what you like/dislike.

Have fun!