In the past summer months, a few announcements related to Windows Azure have been made: Let’s summarized the key ones (newest on top):

  • New Windows Azure Security Overview White Paper
    • Written by Charlie Kaufman and Ramanathan Venkatapathy, the paper provides a technical examination of the security functionality available from both the customer’s and Microsoft operations’ perspectives, the people an processes that help make Windows Azure more secure, as well as a brief discussion about compliance.
  • 20 Nodes Available Globally for the Windows Azure CDN – One in Zurich
    • The most common question we get asked about the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) is, “Where are the nodes physically located?”  We’re happy to say that (Swiss) customers choosing to serve data through the network today are offered a new physical node in Zurich which improves delivery of performance-sensitive content in Switzerland.
      More details about all the nodes can be found
      here. 
  • CTP3 of Codename Dallas
    • For more information and to experience “Dallas” CTP3 for yourself, visit www.sqlazureservices.com
    • Some of the new features:
      • Basic Authentication to authenticate users of Dallas data offerings
      • Flexible querying of OData content, as announced earlier this year at MIX, beyond simple web services
      • Support for Add Service Reference in Visual Studio
      • New content providers and data
  • Blog post: Adaptive Streaming with Windows Azure Blobs and CDN
    • Steve Marx shows how to use Windows Azure Blobs and the Windows Azure CDN to deliver adaptive streaming video content to your users in a format compatible with Silverlight’s Smooth Streaming player.
    • More information here.
  • CTP1 of Project “Houston”
    • It is a lightweight and easy to use web-based database management tool for SQL Azure databases.
    • It allows to perform basic database management tasks like authoring and executing queries, designing and editing a database schema, and editing table data.
    • It is now available on SQL Azure Labs.
  • Windows Azure AppFabric, July Release
    • Key new benefits:
      • Extension of AppFabric to web browsers and mobile devices
      • .NET 4 Support
    • To obtain the latest copy of the AppFabric SDK, visit the AppFabric portal.
  • Windows Azure Platform Appliance
    • Windows Azure Platform Appliance, a turnkey cloud platform that customers and partners can deploy in their own datacenter.
    • It consists of Windows Azure, SQL Azure and a Microsoft-specified configuration of network, storage and server hardware. Service providers, governments and large enterprises who would, for example, invest in a 1000 servers at a time, will be able to deploy the Windows Azure platform on their own hardware in their datacenter. 
    • The main benefit of the appliance is that it provides the benefits of the Windows Azure platform with greater physical control, geographic proximity, regulatory compliance and data sovereignty. 
    • The appliance software (Windows Azure and SQL Azure) is currently being delivered to a small set of service provider partners (Dell, Fujitsu and HP) and a customer (eBay) to run on Microsoft-specified hardware in their datacenters.
    • More information here.
  • SQL Azure features introduced at TechEd North America (June 2010)
    • SQL Azure Database size – With this update, SQL Azure now supports up to 5GB in the Web Edition, and up to 50GB in the Business Edition. SQL Azure can scale to multi-terabytes (across db instances) and is built from the ground up for scaling-out, high performance and high availability.
      Please refer to our offer comparison table for more details by offer on our pricing.
    • Spatial data support—Geography and Geometry types and query support in T-SQL are now supported in SQL Azure. 
    • Public preview of SQL Azure Data Sync Service — Expanding on the current ability to sync between SQL Server and SQL Azure, now you can also distribute and sync data across multiple datacenters and multiple SQL Azure instances around the globe. Click here to give it a try.
  • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 1.2 (June 2010)
    • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio extend Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2008 to enable the creation, configuration, building, debugging, running, packaging and deployment of scalable web applications and services on Windows Azure.
    • New key features in 1.2:
      • Visual Studio 2010 RTM  and .NET 4 support
      • Cloud storage explorer: Displays a read-only view of Windows Azure tables and blob containers through Server Explorer.
      • Integrated deployment: Deploy services directly from Visual Studio by selecting ‘Publish’ from Solution Explorer.
      • Service monitoring: Keep track of the state of your services through the ‘compute’ node in Server Explorer.
  • New “patterns & practices” material: Windows Azure Architecture Guidance
    • It demonstrates how you can adapt an existing, on-premises ASP.NET application to one that operates in the cloud.
    • It is intended for any architect, developer, or information technology (IT) professional who designs, builds, or operates applications and services that are appropriate for the cloud.
    • More information here.

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