“Hybrid cloud” – the use and building of applications that connect to data and services across a mix of datacenters – is the reality for cloud computing today. Your businesses and applications will move to the cloud in their own unique way, at their own unique speed.  Supporting this change requires a cloud solution that provides the necessary flexibility for the different ways you will architect, develop and deploy your applications and IT solutions– be it on-premises, in the cloud, or a mix of both. 

Tomorrow we will release previews of new Windows Azure services which simplify building applications that span cloud and on-premises servers. By combining infrastructure and platform services, these new capabilities of Windows Azure give you greater flexibility in how to build or bring your applications to the cloud.  We will also add support for new operating systems, release new language libraries for .NET, Java, PHP, and Node.js, and will make Windows Azure available in new geographies.  Tomorrow (June 7), Scott Guthrie will host “Meet Windows Azure” (streamed live at 1pm Pacific) to introduce these new services, but here are some of the highlights:  

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines— Virtual Machines give you application mobility, allowing you to move your virtual hard disks (VHDs) back and forth between on-premises and the cloud.   Migrate existing workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SharePoint to the cloud, bring your own customized Windows Server or Linux images, or select from a gallery.    As a common virtualization file format, VHD has been adopted by hundreds of vendors and is a freely available specification covered under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.
  • Windows Azure Virtual Network— Virtual Network lets you provision and manage virtual private networks (VPNs) in Windows Azure as well as securely extend on-premises networks into the cloud.  It provides control over network topology, including configuration of IP addresses, routing tables and security policies and uses the industry-standard IPSEC protocol to provide a secure connection between your corporate VPN gateway and Windows Azure. 
  • Windows Azure Web Sites —Build web sites and applications with this highly elastic solution supporting .NET, Node.js, and PHP while using common deployment techniques like Git and FTP.  Windows Azure Web Sites will also allow easy deployment of open source applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, and Drupal to the cloud with a few clicks. 
  • New tools, language support, and SDK—Windows Azure SDK June 2012 includes new developer capabilities for writing code against the latest service improvements with updated support for Java, PHP, and .NET, and the addition of Python as a supported language on Windows Azure.  Additionally, the SDK now provides 100% command line support for both Windows and Mac.
  • Availability in New Countries— Availability of Windows Azure is being expanded to customers in 48 new countries, including Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and Ukraine.  Roll-out will be complete later this month, making Windows Azure one of the most widely available cloud platforms in the industry with offerings in 89 countries and in 19 local currencies.  

These new capabilities simplify building and bringing applications of all kinds to the cloud and enable flexibility in the following areas:

  • Increased datacenter capacity through secure VPN connections to the cloud
  • Easy operations and management from an improved Windows Azure Management Portal, with powerful operational capabilities for deploying and managing your cloud applications – with similar management support from the command line
  • Cloud scale for building websites with ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js
  • Support for additional Operating Systems and OSS language libraries for building cloud applications
  • Scale on demand by migrating existing applications to the cloud using portable, industry standard VHDs -- delivering global scale with maximum control
  • Secure connectivity between cloud and on-premises applications
  • Ability to develop, test and configure new applications in the cloud, and then deploy on-premises for production

We are excited for you to try these new capabilities, provide feedback, and see what’s possible with Windows Azure.  With Windows Azure and the next releases of Windows Server and System Center, there is no better platform for connecting to data and services across on-premises and public cloud. For more information on these new features, check out our Fact Sheet. To see what one of our most popular customers is doing with Windows Azure, check out the News Center feature on Pottermore.

See the first ever demos of these updates, additional announcements, and details on gaining access to our Service Previews by tuning in to the Meet Windows Azure Event tomorrow at 1pm PDT.

Bill Laing, Corporate VP Server and Cloud