Azure Announcements from the PDC10 in Dublin – what do they mean?

We made some very significant announcements about Azure last week at the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC10), that your customers are going to love.

To set the scene and to remind you what’s so great about Azure:

Azure is our Platform as a Service offering - it’s where people run Applications that can scale up and down (as demand changes), that are always available (even through failures of the underlying infrastructure – that we look after, not your customer), and where people pay as they go (no up-front capex – just on-going opex).  If you have customers who need to run Applications, sell them Azure!  None of our competitors come close to us in PaaS.

The theme for the PDC announcements was that “it’s all about the App” – your customers should only care that their applications are running (not about the underlying infrastructure).

So, what did we announce (in summary)?

  • New roles to let your customers run more application types.  We now compete head to head with Amazon – if your customer’s application runs on Windows, it should be on Azure.
  • Enhancements to Azure functionality – to allow your customers to have finer control over their applications and to extend their existing functionality.
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure – now development shops can simply pay per user, per month for their development infrastructure.

So, what did we announce (in detail)?

Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role

  • If your customer has an application that currently runs on Windows Server 2008 R2 (that isn’t ready for Azure as it currently stands), they can simply copy their Virtual Hard Disk up to Azure & we will run it for them.
  • This is similar to Amazon’s EC2 offering – but we will offer to automatically patch the machine.
  • Future offerings in this space are the ability to create the VHD in Azure (no copying over the network) and older Windows Versions (2003 & 2008).

Server Application Virtualisation

  • App-V for Server applications.  Sequence your application, copy it up to Azure & we’ll run it.  If the underlying VM fails, we’ll continue to run your app on another VM.

Enhancements to existing Web & Worker Roles

  • Extra Small Instance – half a single core (probably for $0.05 / hour).
  • Remote Desktop – Login to your VMs to see what’s going on (run diagnostics, etc).
  • Full IIS – now you can have more than one site per VM and you can use Smooth Streaming, etc.
  • Virtual Network – have Azure VMs logically inside your in-house network (part of your domain).
  • Elevated Privileges – install things that need Admin rights.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Roles – enable more Windows Roles (Active Directory?)
  • Multiple Administrators – more than one admin per Azure account.

Enhancements to SQL Azure

  • Reporting – SQL Server Reporting Services!
  • Data Sync – don’t copy up a complete database, just the deltas since the last time you did it.

Enhancements to Windows Azure AppFabric

  • Access Control – we now support non-Windows authentication mechanisms (Yahoo, Google, etc).
  • Caching – any application data can be cached in the CDNs.
  • Service Bus – more connectors.
  • Composite App Service & Workflow – create the connections between the components of your app and design workflows.
  • Composition Model – build mashups.
  • Tools – updated tools to support all of the above.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure

  • A low entry barrier for development shops.  Pay as you go TFS.

Windows Azure Marketplace

  • If you have a service or some data on Azure, you can now sell it on.

A big thank you to everyone who attended the Dublin event last week – I had fun answering all your questions!

Daven Dave

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