WinAzure_rgbA number of updates and improvements have been unveiled today for Windows Azure that will help you to more easily access Azure and unlock the value of cloud computing as a development platform.

Join us tomorrow when senior Microsoft leaders will  how easy it is for developers to get started with Windows Azure in detail during a broadcast event: Learn Windows Azure. They’ll also show how to build scalable cloud applications using Visual Studio.  The event will include a number of great hands-on demos as well.

New Features for December Azure Release

In this release, we really focused on ease of use and creating more value for .NET developers as well as opening up new opportunities for open source developer to take advantage of Windows Azure.  Among the highlights:

  • New and Enhanced Open Source Software Experience-Windows Azure SDK for Node.JS makes Windows Azure a first-class environment for Node.JS developers that support hosting and storage.
  • A new Hadoop Service Preview for Windows Azure brings Hadoop Big Data capabilities to Windows Azure and enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days.  To gain greater insights on data (structured, semi-structured and unstructured data), Hadoop on Windows Azure will enable customers to analyze data through familiar tools such as Excel and Microsoft BI tools such as Power View and PowerPivot.
  • Improved MSDN, BizSpark and other trial offers
  • Subscription management capabilities that increase account visibility simplify spending caps and streamline the sign-up process.
  • Increased SQL Azure maximum database sizes in SQL Azure (at no additional cost) and a new sharding pattern to simplifies elastic scale-out
  • Price reductions per gigabyte SQL Azure databases storage
  • Simplified pricing for the Windows Azure Service using two new meters (relay hours, message operations).  The Service Bus is available free of charge now through March 31st, 2012.

You can find more details on the announcement here.

ISVs can begin taking advantage of the new release today on http://windowsazure.com

And check out the new user interface that makes access to your apps easier than ever.