At the Build 2014 conference, we introduced the new Microsoft Azure Preview portal and the new Basic tier of compute instances. We also announced the general availability of the Web Sites Basic tier along with enhancements to the Web Sites Standard tier, Active Directory Premium, Scheduler, RA-GRS, Dynamic Routing Gateways and Point-to-Site, AutoScale, and Visual Studio Online. In addition, Azure Automation public preview was announced and Azure Backup pricing was reduced.

Azure Portal 

The web browser portal brings together portions of both Azure and Visual Studio Online—Microsoft Azure Web Sites and SQL Database—plus, eventually, more and more add-on tools across the app lifecycle from both Microsoft and partners.

Try the portal at http://Portal.azure.com, you can sign in, work, and browse, and also move back-and-forth between the Preview portal and the current Microsoft Azure management portal.

Basic tier of compute instances

A new Basic tier of compute instances offers similar CPU and memory configurations as the Standard tier of instances, but these instances cost up to 26.6% less.
The Basic tier doesn’t provide load-balancing and automatic scaling features, as the Standard tier does. Instances in the Basic tier are best suited for applications such as single-instance production workloads, development workloads, test servers, and batch processing, where those features might not be required.

For more information, visit the Virtual Machines website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Machines Pricing Details website.

Windows Azure Web Sites

Azure Web Sites Basic tier now generally available (GA), and Web Sites Standard tier customers to receive more value Web Sites Basic tier, a new entry-level tier, provides support for small, medium, and large virtual machine (VM) sizes and enables you to scale up to three VM instances. The Basic tier includes 10 GB of storage and supports custom domains. SSL is available at standard rates. Advanced features like AutoScale, Backup, web jobs, and staging slots require customers to subscribe to the Standard tier.  Web Sites customers using the Standard tier will now receive even more value. At no additional cost, customers can now upload and use five SNI and one IP SSL certificates with 50 GB of storage. Plus, Standard tier customers will now receive all the new advanced capabilities, including live debugging, Backup, and site slots. Standard tier instances support up to 500 websites; scale up to 10 VM instances; and offer AutoScale, which dynamically adds or removes VM instances based on actual customer traffic.

These are perfect for student projects For more information, visit the Web Apps website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Web Sites Pricing Details website.


Azure Active Directory Premium now generally available

Azure Active Directory Premium, the Microsoft identity and access management solution for the cloud, provides synchronization with on-premises directories, single sign-on to hundreds of SaaS applications, machine learning–based security and usage reports, alerting, and Multi-Factor Authentication. Azure Active Directory Premium also empowers end users with self-service password reset, delegated group management, and a customizable environment for launching enterprise and consumer applications.

Azure Active Directory Premium includes entitlement to Forefront Identity Manager Server and Client Access Licenses. Azure Active Directory Premium will be available for purchase through the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement volume licensing program for academic institutions.

For more information, visit the Azure Identity and Access Management website.

Scheduler now generally available

Using Scheduler, you can invoke actions—such as calling HTTP/S endpoints or posting a message to a storage queue—on any schedule. With Scheduler, you create jobs in the cloud that reliably call services both inside and outside of Azure, and then run those jobs on demand, on a regularly recurring schedule, or on a designated future date. Scheduler is backed by a 99.9 percent SLA.

For more information, visit the Scheduler website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Scheduler Pricing Details website.

Read-Access Geographically Redundant Storage now generally available

The new read-access service is now available as another option for geographically replicated storage accounts. As with other options, the stored content is replicated to a secondary location, but now you can have read access to the secondary location in case of a major disaster in the primary location. The secondary location is in the same region but is hundreds of miles from the primary location.

This is perfect for Universities who now have campus location in other countries.

Virtual Network Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site now generally available

Last year, we announced a feature called Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site VPN, which supports route-based VPNs and allows you to connect individual computers to a virtual network in Azure. That feature is now generally available.  The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway in a virtual network will now have the same SLA as the Static Routing VPN Gateway. The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway will continue to be free until May 1, 2014. Starting May 2, 2014, it will be charged at the general availability price.

For more information about the service, visit the Virtual Network website. For a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Network Pricing Details website.

AutoScale now generally available

In Azure, you can configure your application to automatically scale up or down to accommodate current demand, and use auto-scaling rules to minimize costs. AutoScale is now generally available for Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Web Sites, and Mobile Services.
For more information about how to use AutoScale, visit How to scale an application and How to scale web sites.

Visual Studio Online now generally available

Visual Studio Online, the cloud solution that enables development teams to plan, build, and ship software across a variety of platforms is now available with a financially backed SLA.

Try Visual Studio Online for your next development project. It will guide you through setting up an environment for you or your team that includes everything from hosted Git repositories and project-tracking tools, to continuous integration and deployment to Azure—all without having to install or configure a single server.

For more information, visit the Visual Studio Online website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit Visual Studio Online Pricing Details website.
If you choose not to continue to use the Visual Studio Online service at the new prices, you can disable Visual Studio Online for your account by using the Azure Management Portal.

Azure Automation public preview now available

Azure Automation allows you to automate processes for your infrastructure and application lifecycle by enabling integration, orchestration, and automation of tasks using Runbooks built on Windows PowerShell Workflow. With Automation, you can author Windows PowerShell Runbooks that integrate into other Azure services, as well as external systems you use to deliver your end to end tasks that simplify cloud management.

For more information on Azure Automation, visit the Automation webpage. To get started with Automation, go to the Automation: Getting Started guide.

Azure Backup price reduction

Effective April 1, 2014, customers will see lower prices for Backup. Backup helps you protect important server data off-site with automated backup to Azure. Now you can benefit from simple, reliable off-site data protection at a lower cost.

For more information, visit the Azure Backup website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Azure Backup Pricing Details website.

For more details on the Microsoft Azure Announcement at Build see the following sessions