This afternoon Microsoft announced new services and updates for Windows Azure that will be available in preview starting on Thursday, June 7th. These new services will simplify building applications that span cloud and on-premises servers and give customers greater flexibility in how to build or bring their applications to the cloud.  We will also add support for new operating systems, release new language libraries for .NET, Java, PHP, and Node.js, and will make Windows Azure available in new geographies. With these changes, customers will find it easier to build new apps using familiar and popular languages, tools and frameworks, or move existing apps to the cloud using virtual machines.

Key updates include:

• Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Capabilities include Windows Azure Virtual Machines for Windows and Linux-based applications, as well as the Windows Azure Virtual Network to securely link Windows Azure with on-premises networks.
• Interoperability Updates: Microsoft is making it easier for developers to create and deploy applications on Windows Azure in the languages and on the platforms of their choice by now providing libraries for Java and Python.
• Improved Developer Productivity: Windows Azure now enables developers to more quickly and easily develop and deploy elastic websites in the languages and on the platforms of their choice using Windows Azure Web Sites, and also significantly improves DevOps with support for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.
• Improved Application Services: This release includes several updates to Windows Azure’s application services, including updates to Windows Azure Active Directory, the Content Delivery Network (CDN), support for HPC, distributed caching, updates to Service Bus, and support for Media Services.
• New Preview Portal: Windows Azure now contains a single, holistic, integrated management portal to help guide customers toward key tasks and integrated billing information.

To learn more about these new services, including updates to existing services, visit the Windows Azure blog, Fact Sheet, and Cloud Virtual Pressroom. You can also watch a keynote by Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President of the Server and Tools Business, at 1PM PDT tomorrow, June 7, during “Meet Windows Azure” in San Francisco. Visit www.meetwindowsazure.com to sign up to view a live stream of the keynote.