Steve Plank brings word about the long-awaited  Windows Azure 1.3 SDK with support for the following:

  • Virtual Machine (VM) Role (Beta):Allows you to create a custom VHD image using Windows Server 2008 R2 and host it in the cloud.
  • Remote Desktop Access: Enables connecting to individual service instances using a Remote Desktop client.
  • Full IIS Support in a Web role: Enables hosting Windows Azure web roles in an IIS hosting environment.
  • Elevated Privileges: Enables performing tasks with elevated privileges within a service instance.
  • Virtual Network (CTP): Enables support for Windows Azure Connect, which provides IP-level connectivity between on-premises and Windows Azure resources.
  • Diagnostics: Enhancements to Windows Azure Diagnostics enable collection of diagnostics data in more error conditions.
  • Networking Enhancements: Enables roles to restrict inter-role traffic, fixed ports on InputEndpoints.
  • Performance Improvement: Significant performance improvement local machine deployment.

It could be quite easy to get carried away and think “oh great, I can use Windows Azure Connect or VM Role now”. But note that these are the features of the SDK, not the entire Windows Azure Infrastructure. You still need to be accepted on to the VM Role and Windows Azure Connect CTP programs.

You can download the SDK from here –  thanks Steve for pulling this info together.