Latest Azure Updates

Some nice new additions to Azure announced today:

Virtual Machines (IaaS)

New A5 Image (Available in PaaS also)

There is a new virtual machine size that has two cores and 14Gb Ram. Normally you have to go to extra large to get this amount of memory, but the new A5 image is cheaper and allows you to run memory intensive applications that don’t require the 8 cores of the extra large. You can check out the pricing using the pricing page here:

Oracle Images

You can now run pre-installed and configured images with Oracle Database, Weblogic Server and Java Platform SE with Oracle licenses included in the image. This is currently in preview so you will pay only the cost of the normal Windows Image. After the preview you will have to pay the full price. Note that if you have existing Oracle licenses these can be used on Azure. For more information on licensing and costs check out this link:

Management Operations on Stopped VMs

To stop paying for a VM you can stop it. In this scenario you wil pay for the VHD file stored in Azure storage but you wont pay for the compute time of the instance. However, until now, you had to start the VM in order to configure it. Starting today you can configure a VM while it is in stopped more. You can change the size of the VM, add new disks as well as configure endpoints and load balancing options.

Active Directory

Azure AD allows you to manage users within Azure as well as control access to applications deployed to Azure using these identities. You can also sync your Azure AD with your on premise AD giving your on premise users access to your cloud deployed applications.

  • You can now create multiple directories within a single subscription.
  • With this week’s release, we have added the ability to change the name of a directory after its created (previously it was fixed at creation time).
  • As an administrator of a directory, you can now add users from another directory of which you’re a member. This is useful, for example, in the scenario where there are other members of your production directory who will need to collaborate on an application that is under development or testing in a non-production environment. A user can be a member of up to 20 directories.
  • If you use a Microsoft account to access Windows Azure, and you use a different organizational account to manage another directory, you may find it convenient to manage that second directory with your Microsoft account. With this release, we’ve made it easier to configure a Microsoft account to manage an existing Active Directory. Now you can configure this even if the Microsoft account already manages a directory, and even if the administrator account for the other directory doesn’t have a subscription to Windows Azure. This is a common scenario when the administrator account for the other directory was created during signup for Office 365 or another Microsoft service.
  • In this release, we’ve also added support to enable developers to delete single tenant applications that they’ve added to their Windows Azure AD. To delete an application, open the directory in which the application was added, click on the Applications tab, and click Delete on the command bar. An application can be deleted only when External Access is set to ‘Off’ on the configure tab.
  • Multi-factor authentication has now been made available as general release. Check out these videos to see the new features in action: