Think you know the Microsoft cloud platform? Look again!

A few weeks ago, several new Windows Azure services were announced, making it much easier for organizations to move to the cloud in the way best suited to their needs. The announcements included:

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines— Virtual Machines give you application mobility, allowing you to move your virtual hard disks (VHDs) back and forth between on-premises and the cloud. Migrate existing workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SharePoint to the cloud, bring your own customized Windows Server or Linux images, or select from a gallery. As a common virtualization file format, VHD has been adopted by hundreds of vendors and is a freely available specification covered under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.
  • Windows Azure Virtual Network— Virtual Network lets you provision and manage virtual private networks (VPNs) in Windows Azure as well as securely extend on-premises networks into the cloud. It provides control over network topology, including configuration of IP addresses, routing tables and security policies and uses the industry-standard IPSEC protocol to provide a secure connection between your corporate VPN gateway and Windows Azure.
  • Windows Azure Web Sites —Build web sites and applications with this highly elastic solution supporting .NET, Node.js, and PHP while using common deployment techniques like Git and FTP. Windows Azure Web Sites will also allow easy deployment of open source applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, and Drupal to the cloud with a few clicks.
  • New tools, language support, and SDK—Windows Azure SDK June 2012 includes new developer capabilities for writing code against the latest service improvements with updated support for Java, PHP, and .NET, and the addition of Python as a supported language on Windows Azure. Additionally, the SDK now provides 100% command line support for both Windows and Mac.
  • Availability in New Countries— Availability of Windows Azure is being expanded to customers in 48 new countries, including Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and Ukraine. Roll-out will be complete later this month, making Windows Azure one of the most widely available cloud platforms in the industry with offerings in 89 countries and in 19 local currencies.

So what does this mean for your organization? It means you have:

  • Increased datacenter capacity through secure VPN connections to the cloud
  • Easy operations and management from an improved Windows Azure Management Portal, with powerful operational capabilities for deploying and managing your cloud applications – with similar management support from the command line
  • Cloud scale for building websites with ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js
  • Support for additional Operating Systems and OSS language libraries for building cloud applications
  • Scale on demand by migrating existing applications to the cloud using portable, industry standard VHDs -- delivering global scale with maximum control
  • Secure connectivity between cloud and on-premises applications
  • Ability to develop, test and configure new applications in the cloud, and then deploy on-premises for production

For more information, watch the Meet Windows Azure keynote by Scott Guthrie as he details these announcements and puts them into context.

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