Cloud Platform Release Announcements for March 26, 2015

This is a blog post of a new ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform team.

In today’s mobile first, cloud first world, Microsoft provides the technologies and tools to enable enterprises to embrace a cloud culture. Our differentiated innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud first era.

You expect cloud-speed innovation from us, and we’re delivering across the breadth of our Cloud Platform product portfolio. Below is a consolidated list of our latest releases to help you stay current, with links to additional details if you’d like more information.  In this update:

  • Azure IoT Suite Announcement
  • Azure App Service powers the creation of intelligent web and mobile apps
  • Announcing General Availability of Built-in Mobile Device Management for Office 365
  • Availability on Demand: Hybrid Cloud without the Hassle
  • Azure Site Recovery: Protect VMWare and Physical Servers in Public Preview
  • Azure Backup Generally Available with Lowered Pricing
  • Azure API Management Premium simplifies high availability and massive scale for APIs
  • ExpressRoute for Office 365
  • Azure SDK 2.5.1
  • Node.js Tools for Visual Studio

Azure IoT Suite Announcement

Monday during Convergence Satya Nadella announced Azure IoT Suite, an integrated offering that takes advantage of all the relevant Azure capabilities, simplified billing and easy provisioning to help businesses connect, manage and analyze all of their “things.” The new offering will provide businesses with finished applications targeting common Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios — such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance — to simplify deployment and provide the ability to scale their solution to millions of “things” over time. Azure IoT Suite will be available in preview later this year.

The announcement, Microsoft announces Azure IoT Suite, was posted from Takeshi Numoto on the IoT blog, along with a customer story (+video) to coincide with the IoT demo Nadella showed onstage during his keynote: Rockwell Automation update: Moving from insight to action with Azure IoT services. Two customer programs were also spotlighted to help encourage businesses to get started today with Azure IoT services: Microsoft introduces two programs to help businesses transform with IoT. Media engagements occurred onsite and remotely during Convergence, yielding coverage from IDG, InformationWeek, VentureBeat, CRN, SiliconANGLE and others.

Azure App Service powers the creation of intelligent web and mobile apps

On March 24 Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Azure App Service, an exciting new Azure service for application developers. Azure App Service is an enterprise-grade cloud service that can help you more quickly and easily create powerful enterprise web, mobile, logic, and API apps for multiple platforms and devices. App Service integrates the best of Azure Websites, Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk Services, along with new capabilities in Logic and API apps to provide you with a unified set of capabilities for everything from the billing model to the development and management experience., By removing the burden of developing across multiple platforms or learning new languages, App Service can help you to build more secure connections for your enterprise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, to scale IT infrastructure, to automate business processes, and more—so you can focus on building groundbreaking apps and experiences, fast. Watch the launch event with Scott Guthrie, learn more and try Azure App Service today.

Announcing General Availability of Built-in Mobile Device Management for Office 365

On Monday, March 30th, Microsoft announced the general availability of built-in mobile device management (MDM) capabilities in Office 365 to help organizations manage access to Office 365 data across a diverse range of phones and tablets, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Read the blog post for additional details on this announcement.

Availability on Demand: Hybrid Cloud without the Hassle

Availability is not merely Disaster Recovery in the cloud, it’s the empowering connection between a datacenter and the cloud for protection and value creation. With today’s announcement, Microsoft provides comprehensive Availability on Demand in Azure for hybrid and heterogeneous environments, allowing organizations to harness a near unlimited amount of compute and storage in the cloud for dev/test, cloud bursting, migration, reporting/analytics, recovery, backup and long-term data retention.

Availability on Demand allows you to begin your migration to the cloud or expand upon existing initiatives. Get started with devtest and long-term retention, or migrate complex multi-tier applications to Azure with just a few clicks.

Availability on Demand provides a seamless connection between your on-premises production systems and Azure or a secondary site, leveraging the replication of Azure Site Recovery and the data protection of Azure Backup. With Availability on Demand, organizations can quickly implement a true hybrid model, and take advantage of compelling cloud economics and elasticity.

To learn more visit the Availability on Demand home page.

Azure Site Recovery: Protect VMWare and Physical Servers in Public Preview

With Azure Site Recovery, you can now help protect your VMware VMs and physical servers using Azure as your disaster recovery site. Site Recovery provides near-zero recovery point objective (RPO) with continuous data-protection technology. Customizable Site Recovery plans can ensure that multi-tier applications are recovered to a consistent point in time, minimizing lost transactions and application errors.

When your primary data center recovers, you can almost seamlessly failback to your on-premises virtual infrastructure. You can also test new versions of your applications and then failback a new version into production in your data center—or you can continue to run your applications in Azure as part of your migration to the cloud.

While in preview, there is no charge for this feature. For more information, please visit the Site Recovery webpage.

Azure Backup generally available with lowered pricing

Azure Backup helps you protect files and folders by providing multiple copies in multiple geographies. Virtually seamless integration with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) means Azure Backup can help you protect Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Windows client, and Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) applications, among others. In addition to backing up the data residing in your data center, Azure Backup can perform online backups of Windows and Linux infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) VMs, and then restore them as needed.

Because initial backups can be extremely time-consuming when sent to Azure over a congested network, you may choose to accelerate this process by shipping your initial backup disk to the nearest Azure data center and leveraging the Azure Import/Export Service.

Effective March 26, 2015, new pricing for Azure Backup reduces the cost for servers with larger amounts of data. Azure Backup charges will be based on the size of the protected server, assessed in increments of 500 GB. In addition, Azure Storage will now be charged separately, offering lower storage costs over time.

Review the new pricing information on the Azure Backup Pricing webpage. For more information, please visit the Azure Backup webpage.

Azure API Management Premium simplifies high availability and massive scale for APIs
Today marks the general availability of Azure API Management Premium. It includes premium capabilities such as Geo-distribution to host an API Management instance in multiple Azure data centers with configuration automatically synchronized around the world; Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity to connect the API Management proxy to your Azure Virtual Network (including ExpressRoute) to help achieve maximum security and performance when tackling hybrid scenarios and Integration with Azure Active Directory to provides better support for internal and business-to-business API programs, allowing developers to sign in to the Azure Management Portal with their corporate credentials. Premium tier pricing goes into effect May 1, 2015. Find more information here.

ExpressRoute for Office 365

We launched Azure ExpressRoute last year to enable you to easily extend your IT infrastructure to Azure using private, dedicated, high bandwidth connections that bypass the Internet. We have since made ExpressRoute available across 16 locations globally and have been joined by close to 20 partners so you get enterprise-grade reliability and predictable network performance no matter where you are. We’re very excited to announce that you will soon be able to access Office 365 using ExpressRoute. ExpressRoute provides dual connections per circuit for high availability and an uptime SLA of 99.9%. You can find more information here.

Azure SDK 2.5.1

On March 24th, the Azure SDK 2.5.1 will be generally available. The Azure SDK makes it easy for your cloud application to consume Microsoft Azure resources. Moreover, Visual Studio is integrated into the cloud development experience. You can view and manage cloud resources directly from Visual Studio, add cloud services to your projects, and publish to the cloud from the IDE.

You can find the list of Azure SDKs for your language and platforms here.

Node.js Tools for Visual Studio

On March 25th, the Node.js Tools for Visual Studio will be generally available. Node.js is a popular lightweight and efficient platform for real-time applications in distributed services. In Node.js Tools for Visual Studio developers can create Node.js applications with the same productivity features that they would expect from a platform supported in Visual Studio. Project templates to get started, Intellisense for code completion/exploration, interactive window to view code execution, advanced debugging and more. This will be the GA release of these tools.

You can download the latest Node.js Tools for Visual Studio from here.