Editor's Note: Your Datacenter without Boundaries


By Mitch Irsfeld

Microsoft recently made it very easy to see your own potential for moving to the cloud. With the free Windows Azure 90-day trial offer, you can test numerous scenarios, from deploying and managing applications to running Windows Server or Linux virtual machines, and more.

In this TechNet feature package, we’ll run through the possibilities and highlight the new resources to help you get the most out of your trial. As Bob Hunt noted in his blog post Windows Azure for the IT Pro, Microsoft has primarily marketed Windows Azure to developers. But that has changed.

With the new Windows Azure Services, developers are able to build applications that span cloud and on-premises servers. For IT professionals, this enables several scenarios:

  • Build Highly Scalable web sites – Easily deploy your sites to a scalable cloud environment (see Windows Azure Websites Overview)
  • Deploy and run Windows Server and Linux VMs – Securely connect your on-premises corpnet to virtual machines in the public cloud and migrate workloads without having to change existing code (see Windows Insider: Running Any Workload at Scale)
  • Mobile Services – Use a straightforward and secure backend-as-a-service with structured storage to handle common tasks and free yourself to focus on the front end that your users value
  • Cloud Services – A rich platform-as-a-service environment for creating highly-available, scalable applications  and automated deployments to deliver software-as-a-service to customers anywhere in the world
  • Big Data – Preview a fully compatible, enterprise-ready Hadoop service. Query against SQL Databases, semi-structured and unstructured data sources
  • Media Services – This platform-as-a-service offering provides everything from encoding to content protection to streaming and analytics and allows you to reach Windows 8, Windows phone, Xbox, iOS and Android devices with HTML5, Flash and Silverlight

Getting Started

We’ve lined up a great roster of resources, starting with the 90-day trial. You can evaluate Windows Azure with any or all of these scenarios. The free trial includes:

  • 750 small compute hours per month
  • 10 web sites
  • 10 mobile services
  • 35 GB storage with 50 million storage transactions
  • Unlimited inbound and 20 GB outbound bandwidth

To gain foundational Windows Azure knowledge quickly, check out the new Microsoft Virtual Academy course Introduction to Windows Azure. And you can get hands-on experience before your own evaluation by signing up for the online Windows Azure Hands-on Labs.

For in-person training, the Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure IaaS IT Camps offer the opportunity to engage with Microsoft Certified Trainers and learn how to manage and build a modern data center with the Microsoft Cloud OS platform. Find a location near you.

Your opportunities in the cloud are almost endless. With Windows Azure VMs, you can run almost any workload in the world, and turn your attention from managing hardware to managing infrastructure at scale. Download the trial see what opportunities present themselves to you.

Thanks for reading,


Nina Ruchirat

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.*