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Windows Azure relevant to Microsoft private cloud solutions is, in my view, as critical as what Active Directory means to Windows infrastructure. In a Windows domain, Active Directory holds the one version of truth and is the ultimate authority of all resources defined. Similarly when it comes to Microsoft cloud computing, there is no question that Windows Azure is the de facto platform as an extension of Active Directory in the cloud. While enterprise IT is transitioning form on-premise deployment to an emerging architecture of hybrid cloud, IT professionals are facing unprecedented challenges to change from managing servers deployed on premise to managing services delivered with hybrid cloud, and at the same time extraordinary opportunities to upgrade and expand an individual’s skill profile and become a leader in cloud initiatives and a contributor in IT communities.
For IT professionals, a productive and direct way to learn and master Microsoft cloud computing solutions is to walk through and gain hands-on experience of the features available in Windows Azure. And the 90-day free trial and many readily available resources offer IT professionals at no cost to access, experience, and experiment deploying cloud resources of VMs, web sites, media and mobile services, virtual networks, etc. There are now many options for IT professionals to better deliver services. The following highlights the available features in Windows Azure and the significance to IT professionals.