Today, Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS), including Virtual Machines and Virtual Network, has reached general availability. Here’s what you should know about Windows Azure IaaS:

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Dramatically reduce your wait time to provision IT resources by rolling out apps and infrastructure in minutes. Bring your Windows or Linux-based application to the cloud as-is.  Scale up or scale down as needed for a wide range of app hosting scenarios and pay only for what you use. More in this video.

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Build hybrid services that take advantage of what you already have while enabling new innovation in the cloud.  Bring your existing identities to apps running in Virtual Machines by simply connecting to your on-premises Active Directory.  Running Office 365?  Simply run Active Directory Federation services in Virtual Machines to sync with on-premises identities for single sign on.

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Spin up a test lab within minutes.  Connect to your existing infrastructure if required. When you’re done, tear it down, bring your app back in house to run it using your on-premises infrastructure, or keep it in the cloud.  The choice is yours. More in this video.

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Spin up SharePoint farms in minutes without major capital investments. Integrate full trust code to run rich apps and business logic, and provide internet facing collaboration sites on SharePoint that scale with your business needs. More in this video.

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Start small, go big. Whether you are building a lab to prototype your newest app with SQL Server or extending data marts into the cloud, Windows Azure Virtual Machines is a solid foundation you can count on. With full SQL Server compatibility you get capabilities like full-text search, or transparent data encryption for greater security. More in this video.

Resources

Access a collection of how-to guides to help you get started.

§ Getting started with Windows Azure Virtual Machines

§ Getting started with Windows Azure Virtual Network

§ Architecture Guidance: SharePoint Server in Windows Azure infrastructure services

§ Getting started: Running SQL Server in Windows Azure infrastructure services

§ Guidelines for Deploying Windows Server Active Directory in Windows Azure Virtual Machines

For additional information, read the Windows Azure Blog. Microsoft Partners can also access the updated Partner Solution Plan (PSP) Activation Kit for additional guidance.

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