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Windows Azure IaaS Reaches General Availability

If you haven’t taken a look at Windows Azure, there’s never been a better time

Today, Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS), including Virtual Machines and Virtual Networking, has reached general availability. These new services make it possible for you to move your applications into the cloud as is.

This announcement is a significant step in our cloud computing strategy, which has been influenced directly by our discussions with customers and partners around the world. One point holds true in every one of our discussions with you - the cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organization’s IT fabric, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting. This brief video explains what we mean by extension of your organization’s IT fabric.

You’ve also told us that you don’t want to have to choose either a low price or good performance; you want a low price and good performance. That’s why today we are also announcing a commitment to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth. This starts with reducing our GA prices on Virtual Machines and Cloud Services by 21-33%.

Another highlight is the introduction of 2 new high memory compute instance sizes (28GB and 56GB) to meet the needs of memory intensive workloads like SharePoint Server and SQL Server.

Key scenarios enabled by Windows Azure IaaS

If you haven’t taken a look at Windows Azure, there’s never been a better time. Our IaaS offering has been driven by these key scenarios:


Dramatically reduce your wait time to provision IT resources by rolling out apps and infrastructure in minutes. Bring your Windows or Linux-based application to the cloud as-is.  Scale up or scale down as needed for a wide range of app hosting scenarios and pay only for what you use. More in this video


Build hybrid services that take advantage of what you already have while enabling new innovation in the cloud.  Bring your existing identities to apps running in Virtual Machines by simply connecting to your on-premises Active Directory.  Running Office 365?  Simply run Active Directory Federation services in Virtual Machines to sync with on-premises identities for single sign on.


Spin up a test lab within minutes.  Connect to your existing infrastructure if required. When you’re done, tear it down, bring your app back in house to run it using your on-premises infrastructure, or keep it in the cloud.  The choice is yours. More in this video.


Spin up SharePoint farms in minutes without major capital investments. Integrate full trust code to run rich apps and business logic, and provide internet facing collaboration sites on SharePoint that scale with your business needs. More in this video.


Start small, go big. Whether you are building a lab to prototype your newest app with SQL Server or extending data marts into the cloud, Windows Azure Virtual Machines is a solid foundation you can count on. With full SQL Server compatibility you get capabilities like full-text search, or transparent data encryption for greater security. More in this video


You can find more details in the general availability announcement including information about the price reduction at the Windows Azure Blog.

As always, stay tuned to my twitter feed for Windows 8, Windows Azure and other Microsoft developer announcements, updates, and links: @clinted

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Clint Edmonson

Clint Edmonson is an Architect Evangelist for Microsoft focused on Windows Azure and Cloud Computing. He has been developing software with Microsoft technologies for the last 20 years, working on everything from custom shrink-wrapped software at small startups to enterprise architecture and methodology adoption at fortune 500 companies. He spends his days helping companies understand Microsoft’s latest developer cloud offerings and developing strategic roadmaps for their adoption. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri and is the host of You can follow Clint on twitter at @clinted.

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