Awesome New Features for Azure Just Released!

Microsoft has just released an update to Azure with some significant enhancements!  Here are some of the highlights.

Dedicated, Private Network Connectivity

One of the key scenarios that is of interest to enterprises is hybrid clouds where Azure and on premise data centers work together to find the right balance between public cloud scalability, private cloud control.  One of the key challenges has been the connectivity between Azure and your data center goes through the public Internet with no guarantee of performance, service levels, etc. 

Starting with partnerships in the US with Equinix, AT&T and Level3 Cloud Connect but presumably expanding to other partners around the world, Microsoft will support dedicated, private and high throughput network connections between these traditional hosting solutions and the Azure Cloud.

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Backup and Restore for Web Sites

Last month, Azure Web Sites started supporting Staging Publishing whereby you can swap your changes made in a staging environment to your production environment for fast deployments of configuration changes.

Azure web sites will now support full backup and restore for both your web site and any dependent SQL or MySQL databases.  Backup and restore will be free for web sites running on the Standard tier.

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Mobile Services: Support for ASP.NET as an Implementation Platform

Azure Mobile Services is an Azure platform for developing mobile backend by providing solutions for user authentication, cloud storage and sending of push notifications.  In the latest version, you can build mobile services using ASP.NET and Visual Studio.

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Hadoop 2.2 Support

Hadoop 2.2 is the latest version of Hadoop and provides significantly improved performance and scaleability of both query and indexing times in comparison to the previous 1.0 version.  Hadoop 2.2 supports the new YARN architecture which provides significant increases in performance as well as new methods for processing data both in batch and in real time.

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Increased Co-Administrator Limit

The number of co-administrators per subscription has been increased from 10 to 200 per subscription.

Windows Azure Directory Premium

Available in preview, the new Windows Azure Directory Premium service provides a set of capabilities for enterprise directory management including:

  • Self-service reset for end users
  • Group based provisioning to other SAAS Apps
  • Customizable access panels (e.g. so you can brand the login page)
  • Security monitoring