At PDC10 last month, Microsoft announced several enhancements for the Windows Azure Platform. Today, we're happy to announce that several of these enhancements are ready for you to try as a Beta or Community Technology Preview (CTP). You can find more details about these new features in the announcement on the Windows Azure team blog or in the webcast “Getting Started with the Windows Azure November 2010 Release”. If you are new to Windows Azure, you might want to read this post first, which contains guidance on getting you up to speed with the platform.

Step 1 – Download the Tools

Download today the Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio release 1.3 and the new Windows Azure Platform Developer Training Kit and start exploring the new services and features in the Windows Azure Platform.

Step 2 – Get Access to Windows Azure

Developers and IT Pros have several cost-effective choices to try the Windows Azure Platform including the Introductory Special with 25 hours per month at no charge and in addition to these offers, MSDN Premium and Ultimate Subscribers are eligible to a 16-month free access for development & testing purposes. Learn more about your MSDN Windows Azure Benefits and how to activate your account today.

Step 3 – Learn and Explore the Platform

Now that you have installed the tools and activated your Windows Azure account you can use the following resources to learn and get hands-on experience on some of the key services and features on the Windows Azure Platform.

Learn – Webcast

Explore – Hands-on Lab

New Service or Feature

Building, deploying & managing Windows Azure Apps

Introduction to Windows Azure HOL

Full IIS; New Developer Portal; Remote Desktop; Apps Deployment; Apps Diagnostics

Migrating and Building Apps for Windows Azure

Advanced Web And Worker Roles HOL

Windows Azure Virtual Machine role; Elevated Privileges for Web &  Worker roles; Full IIS; Remote Desktop

Inside WA Virtual Machines

Virtual Machine Role HOL

Windows Azure Virtual Machine role

Understanding Windows Azure Connect

Connecting Apps with Windows Azure Connect HOL

Windows Azure Connect

Building High Performance Web Applications with the Windows Azure Platform

Windows Azure CDN HOL

CDN Dynamic Content Caching; Full IIS; Elevated Privileges for Web and Worker roles

Additional Resources

If you would like to learn more about the Windows Azure Platform and the new features that we're making available, please watch on-demand sessions from PDC10 that dive deeper into many of these Windows Azure features; check here for a full list of sessions. For all other questions, please refer to the latest FAQ.