At the end of November 2010 we released a new version of the Windows Azure SDK which contains many new features driven by the great feedback of early adopters plus a shiny new portal.

New Portal implemented in Silverlight:

The new portal is implemented using Silverlight and replaces the (IMHO rather clunky) original HTML + JavaScript portal. It is 100% better although does still have a few bugs. Enjoy!

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P.S. You can if you wish still use the old portal:

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New runtime functionality:

The following functionality is now generally available through the Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio and the new Windows Azure Management Portal:

  • Elevated Privileges and Full IIS. You can now run a portion or all of your code in Web and Worker roles with elevated administrator privileges. The Web role now provides Full IIS functionality, which enables multiple IIS sites per Web role and the ability to install IIS modules.
  • Remote Desktop functionality enables you to connect to a running instance of your application or service in order to monitor activity and troubleshoot common problems.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Roles: Windows Azure now supports Windows Server 2008 R2 in its Web, worker and VM roles. This new support enables you to take advantage of the full range of Windows Server 2008 R2 features such as IIS 7.5, AppLocker, and enhanced command-line and automated management using PowerShell Version 2.0.

New runtime functionality – in beta:

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role: Support for more types of new and existing Windows applications will soon be available with the introduction of the Virtual Machine (VM) role. You can move more existing applications to Windows Azure, reducing the need to make costly code or deployment changes.
  • Extra Small Windows Azure Instance, which is priced at $0.05 per compute hour, provides developers with a cost-effective training and development environment. Developers can also use the Extra Small instance to prototype cloud solutions at a lower cost.
  • Windows Azure Connect: (formerly Project Sydney), which enables a simple and easy-to-manage mechanism to set up IP-based network connectivity between on-premises and Windows Azure resources, is the first Windows Azure Virtual Network feature that we’re making available as a CTP.

You can sign up for any of the betas via the Windows Azure Management Portal.

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Improved processes and simplified operations

  • New portal! (see above)
  • Access to new diagnostic information including the ability to click on a role to see role type, deployment time and last reboot time
  • A new sign-up process that dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to sign up for Windows Azure.
  • New scenario based Windows Azure Platform forums to help answer questions and share knowledge more efficiently.
  • Multiple Service Administrators: Windows Azure now supports multiple Windows Live IDs to have administrator privileges on the same Windows Azure account. The objective is to make it easy for a team to work on the same Windows Azure account while using their individual Windows Live IDs.

 

Related Links

Please also let us know through Microsoft Platform Ready if and when you intend to build an application using the Windows Azure Platform. Or indeed if you already have (Well done). You will get access to some great benefits if you do (more on that in a future post). It also really helps us better understand the demand out there which directly impacts how we will plan the next six months of activities around the Windows Azure Platform.