New Windows Azure services that help you build “Hybrid Cloud” solutions

Microsoft has announced previews of new Windows Azure services that help developers build applications that connect data to users across public and private clouds, take advantage of VHDs and deploy scalable websites quickly and cheaply.

Today, Scott Guthrie hosted “Meet Windows Azure” to introduce these new services.  And next week, as part of TechEd North America and broadcast live online, Scott, along with Mark Russinovich, Quentin Clark, and Bill Staples will host “Learn Windows Azure” to provide deeper demonstration of the latest Windows Azure features and services to build, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.

Among the highlights of the announcements made :

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines enable the moving of workloads on virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises environments and the cloud.  Windows Azure supports both Windows and Linux VHD images, which can be customized or chosen from a pre-populated gallery.  With the commonly supported VHD format, developers and IT Pros can move existing workloads like a SQL Server database or an existing line-of-business application into Windows Azure to create greater scale, lower cost or deploy to new users.  It has never been easier to move your applications to the cloud and boost them with virtually unlimited power, flexibility and reliability.
  • Windows Azure Virtual Network enables the creation, extension and management of virtual private networks into Windows Azure.  Organizations can now more effectively and securely extend their corporate networks into the cloud.  Did you ever wish you had an extra couple of servers for running a calculation job or to deal with a peak in user demand?  Now you can seamlessly add and remove computing resources to your network, as your need them.
  • Windows Azure Web Sites makes building .NET, Node.js, Java and PHP web experiences easier and cheaper than ever while supporting deployment techniques like Git and FTP and framework applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco and Drupal that web developers already know and trust. Why should it be hard to setup a website that can scale with user demand, that is always up and running, regardless of the technology you’re using?
  • Python support, new Tools  The new Windows Azure SDK (June 2012) includes updated support for Java, PHP and .NET and adds Python support, while providing 100% command line support for developers using a Windows PC or a Mac.  No matter what your development flavor is, you can build applications that take advantage of Windows Azure and all its building blocks – experience the openness and interoperability of Windows Azure.

To discover, learn and get started building applications on the Windows Azure platform, I encourage you to:

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Follow the live stream of “Meet Windows Azure” and discoverthe new Windows Azure services.

Tune into Learn Windows Azure on Monday June 11 for a deeper demonstration of what’s new.
Set up a trial account for getting free access to Windows Azure.

image Of course you want to play with these new features! How can you host your own virtual machine in Azure? What is needed to create a PHP web site using MySQL on Azure?

As of Monday June 11, the Azure Training Kit will be updated and guide you step-by-step through a series of hands-on labs.

Download the tools now  and get started!

New Job opening for Platform Strategy Advisor – Windows Azure @ Microsoft

windows-azure4The Windows Azure Platform is one of Microsoft’s strategic focus areas in cloud computing. This core service offering is delivering Platform-As-A-Service to support our partners and customers looking to transform their businesses through cloud computing. Join the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) organization where you will support Cloud Service Vendors develop commercially available applications on the Windows Azure Platform.
The DPE team is looking for a Platform Strategy Advisor (PSA) who demonstrates 50% business development backed with 50% technical expertise and experience. As a member of the Azure ISV team, you will be responsible for identifying, driving, and closing Azure ISV opportunities in your region. You will help these partners bring their cloud applications to market by providing business model and architectural guidance and supporting them through their development and go-to-market activities. This position entails evangelizing the Windows Azure Platform to ISV partners, removing roadblocks to their deployment, and driving partner satisfaction.

Read full posting here and don’t hesitate to forward to a friend if you think you know someone who could be the perfect candidate.

New Windows Azure Platform Features Available Today

Building out an infrastructure that supports your web service or application can be expensive, complicated and time consuming. Whether you need to forecast the highest possible demand, build out the network to support your peak times, getting the right servers in place at the right time or managing and maintaining the systems, these actions require time and money to do.

The Windows Azure platform is a flexible cloud computing platform that lets you focus on solving business problems and addressing customer needs instead of building that infrastructure to have your business running on. Furthermore with the platform, there is no need to invest upfront on expensive infrastructure all together. Pay only for what you use, scale up when you need capacity and pull it back when you don’t, all this power is provided by the Windows Azure Platform at your fingertips.

During PDC 2010 we announced much new functionality to become available at the end of this calendar year. Some of these new functionalities are available as of today:

  • Full Administrative Access
  • Full IIS Access
  • Remote Desktop
  • Windows Azure Connect
  • VM Role

Reading about cloud computing is one thing, experimenting and trying it out is a completely different thing. As such Microsoft provides you different ways allowing you exploring these new functionalities while making cloud computing and Windows Azure in particular more accessible to you and your business. All this and much more can be done in three easy steps.

 

Setup a Free Account

You will need an account and subscription to access the Windows Azure Portal allowing you to deploy your applications. Microsoft offers two choices for having a free subscription:

  • Windows Azure Introductory Special: This is a new offer specially made for you. Limited of one per customer and includes a base amount of the Windows Azure platform services with no monthly commitment and free of charge.
  1.  
    1. Navigate to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.
    2. Select the country you live in and press continue.
    3. Right click on the sign in link to sign in the portal.
    4. Click on the View Service Details link under the Windows Azure Platform section.
    5. Locate the Windows Azure Platform Introductory Special offer and click on buy.
    6. Provide a name for the subscription.
    7. Check the Rate Plan check box below and click next
    8. Enter the Billing information and click next
    9. Check the Agreement box and click purchase.
  1.  
    1. Sign in to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.
    2. Click on the Subscriptions tab and find the subscription called “Windows Azure Platform MSDN Premium”.
    3. Under the Actions section, make sure one of the options is “Opt out of auto renew”.  This ensures your benefits will extend automatically.  If you see “Opt in to auto renew” instead, select it and click Go to ensure your benefits continue for another 8 months.
    4. After your first 8 months of benefits have elapsed (you can check your start date by hovering over the “More…” link under “Windows Azure Platform MSDN Premium” on this same page), you will need to come back to this page and choose “Opt out of auto renew” so that your account will close at the end of the 16-month introductory benefit period.  If you keep this account active after 16 months, all usage will be charged at the normal “consumption” rates.

Note: You can have both offers active at the same time providing even more free access to the Windows Azure Platform and related new functionalities.

 

Download the Required Tools

Following tools are required to access the news features on the Windows Azure Platform:

Use and Experience the New Features

As part of the release of the new features, new detailed walkthroughs are being made available in learning how to use these new features:

  • Introduction to Windows Azure: In this walkthrough, you explore the basic elements of a Windows Azure service by creating a simple application that demonstrates many features of the Windows Azure platform, including web and worker roles, blob storage, table storage, and queues.
  • Deploying Applications in Windows Azure: In this walkthrough, you learn how to deploy your first application in Windows Azure by showing the steps required for provisioning the required components in the Windows Azure Developer Portal, uploading the service package, and configuring the service.
  • Virtual Machine Role: Windows Azure Virtual Machine Roles allow you to run a customized instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 in Windows Azure, making it easier to move applications to the cloud. In this walkthrough, you explore Virtual Machine roles and you learn how to create custom OS images that you deploy to Windows Azure.