If you attended PDC or have watched some of the sessions (all of which are available on demand – how cool is that?!), you know there were a LOT (four pages worth) of announcements of upcoming functionality for Windows Azure, some of which were to be available by the end of this year, some in 2011.  Well as you were finishing off the Thanksgiving leftovers, the Azure team has been busy setting up downloads for the first wave of releases mentioned at PDC.  

Today, the 1.3 version of the Windows Azure SDK and Tools for Visual Studio is available for download.  Coinciding with this release is the general availability of 

  • elevated privileges and remote desktop functionality,
  • full IIS support in Web roles, enabling multiple web sites per role and the ability to install IIS modules,
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 for your compute instances,
  • support for multiple LiveIDs as Azure account administrators (previously you had to share a LiveID among those on your team requiring administrative privileges), and
  • a new Silverlight Windows Azure Management Portal, providing a more intuitive user experience and access to additional diagnostic information regarding deployed role instances.

Windows Azure Portal

Also released in beta form:

Finally, Windows Azure Connect (previously known as Project “Sydney”) is now available as a CTP (Community Technology Preview).

To sign-up for the beta and CTP offerings, visit the Windows Azure Management Portal.