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Exploring the New features of Windows Azure – #Meet Azure Edition


This blog speaks on the new features and enhancements that are introduced recently by Microsoft for Windows Azure. With the new HTML5 Azure Management Portal we have seen what changes are made and how it exactly reflects from the older version i.e. Azure Management portal in Silverlight with our earlier post “”, now we will see some highlights and insights on the new features and enhancements made to the Azure itself. This update on Windows Azure focuses on setting up a Hybrid cloud environment bringing down On Premise and Cloud environment together.      [more]

With this preview release we have few new features listed as below.

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines
  • Windows Azure Virtual Networks
  • Windows Azure Web Sites
  • Windows Azure Media Services
  • HTML5 Azure Management Portal
  • Enhanced SDK’s and Pricings

We will see in detail on the above features and enhancements in this blog one by one.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines:

This new features provides option to upload our customized Virtual Hard Disks (Vhd’s) from On premise to Cloud and back forth as per the requirement. With this feature we can migrate existing environment on to the cloud with ease as well we can customize it to run on the cloud effectively. We can setup the environment not only with the Microsoft production of Windows but as well we can use the Linux servers that can be hosted over the Azure platform. There are some of the limitations at present and we can able to make use of the below images available as a gallery in Azure which can be adopted straight forward.

  • Windows Azure
    • Windows Server 2012 RC
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 with SQL Server 2012
  • Linux
    • OpenSUSE 12.1
    • Ubuntu 12.04
    • CentOS 6.2
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2

We need to request for activating the Virtual Machines in the Preview features section, once its activated we can see the Virtual Machines listed on the list of available components.

Windows Azure Virtual Networks:

This new features is going to be killer feature for the enterprise, which is looking for a hybrid environment to run the application on cloud and on premises. With this feature we can setup a new Virtual Network in Windows Azure and connect using a VPN gateway. Like we can create a network with a specified IP range for the Virtual machines uploaded to the Azure environment also we can customize it based on the DNS. So with this feature we are very much pleased to customize the infrastructure as per the needs and security which is main consideration for the enterprise which is stopping to access the cloud environment. This network manipulation can provide a separate gateway for the Corporates to connect to Windows Azure especially for security and authentication through the corporate VPN gateways which we have from ages.

Windows Azure Web Sites:

With this new feature we can build websites and application easily with the inbuilt list of tools and providers listed in the gallery. We can build applications with .NET, PHP, Node.js, and connected to database like SQL Azure, MYSQL etc. With the web site creation, we have also provided with option to deploy the application through Team Foundation Services on the cloud (TFS), GIT, and FTP deployment along with support on WebMatrix which provides option to make changes and upload it easily to the cloud. Additionally we have options to deploy the open source content management systems like WordPress, Dotnetnuke, Joomal, Drupal and Umbraco from the gallery list directly to the cloud and access the application in minutes with ease.

HTML5 New Azure Management Portal:

The management portal is completely revamped and its no more Silverlight, its HTML5 Azure portal. This is something quite interesting why its moved from Silverlight to HTML5, but we will speak on this later. You can get the complete comparison and the enhanced details of the New portal in my previous blog which speaks on this topic completely “Comparing & Exploring the No Silverlight Windows Azure Portal

Enhanced SDK’s and Pricings:

All the SDK’s are updated with the new features support which provides the developers easy access to adapt the new feature without any problems. This update includes the .NET, Php, Java, Node.js and Python SDK’s. Also now with these SDK’s and PowerShell tools we have got complete support to run the tools on Mac and Linux platforms. When it comes to pricing we can see the new featured components are provided with some less charges and for the 3 month trial run any one can register and deploy the websites for about a year for free, this provides great advantage to host the project and get it familiar before we pay for the usage. We will look into the pricing of each of the component in detail in our upcoming articles which are going to discuss more detailed features of the components

About Author: Karthikeyan Anbarasan, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in ASP.NET/IIS Architecture. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the www.f5debug.net website and has authored books on Windows Phone and Business Intelligence(SSIS). He is also a Passionate Speaker and a Blogger on Microsoft Technologies.

You can Join Me On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn

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This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. For accuracy and official reference refer to MSDN/ TechNet. I have documented my personal experience on this blog.

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