Microsoft delivers beta of Azure services for Windows Server

Microsoft plans to deliver to hosters the fully released version of its Windows Azure cloud services for Windows Server 2012 by early 2013.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is moving ahead with plans to add some of its new Windows Azure services to Windows Server 2012, announcing the beta release of those services on October 8.


Microsoft's plan is to deliver the final versions of these services, which include virtual machine hosting and Web-site hosting for Windows Server, by early 2013, officials said in a new Server and Cloud Blog post today.

Microsoft delivered a Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of these Azure services for Windows Server in July at the Worldwide Partner Conference. The coming services are aimed at service providers and hosting partners. At some point Microsoft might expand the target audience to other customers, but for now, that's the core audience, officials said.

The CTPs are versions of four of the same new services that Microsoft announced in June as part of its Azure spring updates:

Microsoft announced earlier this year it was expanding its Windows Azure from a more-or-less pure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) play to a combined PaaS and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) play. The hosted VM capability will allow users to run Windows Server, Linux, SQL Server and SharePoint (and apps built on these platforms) on Windows Azure. Microsoft now is bringing these IaaS scenarios to Windows Server datacenters.

I asked Microsoft last week whether the persistent VM services allowing Linux and Windows Server to be hosted on Azure have yet moved beyond preview/testing. A spokesperson told me they are still considered preview at this time and declined to offer a timeframe as to when they'll be fully released.

On the server side, these new services will be fully released along with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which is due in early 2013, according to today's blog post.

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