Microsoft’s opening day keynote at TechEd North America included a stack of new announcements relating to its Azure cloud services. Here are all the key Azure developments, from the new Azure Files storage system through to RemoteApp for delivering desktop apps to end users via Azure, and when they’ll become available.
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What it is: The ability to stream Windows Server-based apps to Windows, Mac, Android or iOS devices from Azure. The devices only need a small client app installed and then can run any app you stream to them. User state and program data is preserved (each user has 50GB of storage). You can also combine RemoteApp with local storage for a hybrid installation
When it’s happening The preview is being rolled out this week. Final availability and pricing won’t be determined until later in the year. During the preview there’s no charge, but you’ll have to pay for the Azure compute and storage resources you use at normal rates. There’s a limit of 20 users, though you can ask to have this lifted if you’re planning a larger deployment.
Azure Site Recovery
What it is: Site Recovery is the new branding for Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager. The service is also being extended to allow virtual machine images to be replicated directly from a data centre to Azure. That provides a backup you can use for disaster recovery, but also allows you to (for instance) carry out analysis tasks using that copy as well
When it’s happening This is expected to be available by June.
Microsoft Antimalware for Azure
What it is: The ability to install security software directly to virtual machines without having to remote in. Symantec and Trend Micro are partnering with Microsoft, which will also offer its own antimalware solution. The Trend package includes the option to store your encryption keys in a separate Trend-managed non-Azure data centre — useful if you don’t want everything with one provider.
When it’s happening The preview is rolling out this week.
What it is: High-speed connections between Azure data centres and your own data centre premises, using a dedicated link rather than the public internet. This will be provided through a range of telco partners, including AT&T, BT, Equinix, Singtel and Verizon. Speeds of up to 10Gb/s are being touted. The charging model is a flat fee with unlimited transfers.
When it’s happening The service will initially be available for connections to Azure sites in Silicon Valley, Washington and London. By the end of 2014, it should be in all Azure data centres (including the two in Australia we’re expecting to open by then).
What it is: In simple terms, an SMB 2.1 share on top of Azure storage, so you have an addressable file system which can be used by multiple VMs, rather than an undifferentiated blob.
When it’s happening The preview is being announced this week; the service should be usable by the end of May. The Import/Export feature to allow fast movement of data into storage blobs has also moved from preview to general availability.
New Compute Options
What it is: New A8 and A9 instances for high-compute environments are being added to Azure. A8 instances have 8 virtual cores and 56GB of RAM; A9 offers 16 virtual cores and 112GB of RAM.
When it’s happening: Available now.
What it is: The ability to permanently reserve specified IP addresses from your own pool, rather than having a public IP assigned from the Azure pool each time a service is spun up. While DNS should normally mean this isn’t a problem, changing IP addresses can be difficult if you need to use whitelists to control access.
When it’s happening The service is expected to roll out mid-year.
What it is: The option to publish APIs for use by other Azure developers or partners. You can customise policies associated with APIs and manage them via an automatically-generated developer portal.
When it’s happening The service is in preview now.