Microsoft brings new features to Azure alongside 'major update' to SDK

Microsoft fills out features on its cut-price Azure cloud platform as its share of the Fortune 500 inches up.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has announced a bevy of new Azure features, a big update to its Azure SDK and a slightly bigger presence among Fortune 500 clients.

A week after Microsoft trimmed Azure pricing in response to Amazon's Google-spurred price cuts, Microsoft has announced a major new feature release.

Microsoft's VP of cloud Scott Guthrie yesterday announced Azure Backup Services had moved to general availability. The Azure service is primarily for Windows Server and should make it easier for enterprise customers to move files and folders to Azure with some assuredness now that it's backed by a Microsoft Support enterprise SLA.

Dovetailing with the new backup service, Microsoft announced a new Azure replication service called Hyper-V Recovery Manager is now available in public preview, which helps customers replicate critical services between a customer's own private clouds using System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Application data stays in the private cloud while metadata such as names of logical clouds and virtual machines are sent to Azure for orchestration.

The Azure SDK 2.2 was also released yesterday and is, according to Guthrie, a "massive update". It includes among other things:

  • Visual Studio 2013 Support
  • Integrated Windows Azure Sign-In support within Visual Studio
  • Remote Debugging Cloud Services with Visual Studio
  • Firewall Management support within Visual Studio for SQL Databases
  • Visual Studio 2013 RTM VM Images for MSDN Subscribers
  • Windows Azure Management Libraries for .NET
  • Updated Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets and ScriptCenter

Users can now also delete attached disks and virtual machine instances in a single operation in Azure. Previously deleting the VM was a manual task that needed to be done via a storage account. It's also possible to delete a cloud service, its deployments, and its role instances in a single action.

Guthrie also noted a few enhancements to previously released Azure Active Directory services in preview such as its single sign-on support for a variety of SaaS applications. Guthrie said price and general availability will be "by the end of the year".

According to Geekwire, Guthrie also announced that Azure now serves 57 percent of the Fortune 500. That's up a little from June last year when Microsoft said it had 50 percent of the Fortune 500 on the platform.

Guthrie said Azure hosts 250,000 websites, where as last year Microsoft said it had a total of 250,000 customers and was adding on average 1,000 new customers per day.

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