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Windows Azure Offerings Are Expanded with New IaaS Offerings

New Windows Azure Virtual Machine and Virtual Networking bolster Hybrid scenarios for your Private Cloud

On June 7th, Microsoft announced several new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings within the Windows Azure cloud that are now available as a customer preview: Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Virtual Network, Web Sites and Media Services.  A full release of these features is anticipated later this calendar year.

In particular, the new Windows Azure Virtual Machine and Virtual Network capabilities offer increased flexibility in planning private cloud deployments through the introduction of "hybrid" scenarios that leverage both private and public cloud resources. Private Clouds, typically associated with on-premises managed fabrics of virtual resource pools, can be extended into the Windows Azure cloud securely and cost-effectively using these new features.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide the flexibility to inexpensively run Windows and Linux workloads with a variety of resource sizes (ie., Small, Medium, Large, XLarge VMs).  In addition, the new Windows Azure Virtual Networking capabilities permit IT professionals to create secure site-to-site VPNs from their datacenters to the VMs they are running in the Azure cloud with no changes to underlying IP addressing. The resulting benefits provide the ability to quickly and securely extend your on-premises datacenter with elastic cloud resources while maintaining a single management toolset, Microsoft System Center, for managing both on-premises and cloud-based VM workloads.  This flexibility is ideal for hybrid scenarios that involve the need for some application components to burst temporarily with additional compute resources or involve Internet-facing components that would otherwise be expensive and difficult for a business organization to host in-house.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines can now be run on the Windows Azure cloud with persistence by leveraging virtual hard disk storage in the Windows Azure Blob Store.  In addition, Virtual Machines have broad operating support for running Windows Server 2008 R2, the new Windows Server 2012 RC, as well as several popular Linux distributions - Ubuntu 12.04, CentOS 6.2, OpenSUSE 12.1 and SLES 11 SP2 are all supported.  Application support is also optimized in Azure VMs to run Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint 2010 workloads.  With these enhanced VM capabilities, Windows Azure can now run critical business workloads in the Azure cloud without requiring application code to be migrated.

You can read more details about each of these new offerings here: http://aka.ms/NewsAzureVM.

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!