Microsoft is competing with market leader Amazon in providing cloud services. They are already in price war and delivering reliable and top notch performance is a must have in this business. The cloud pricing scheme differs on performance levels and the new patent from Microsoft researchers revealed a new pricing approach where customers can either bid a price they’re willing to pay or to be quoted a price based on the system’s estimate of the resources needed to deliver that performance. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft delivers this pricing scheme to its customers. Abstract: Described are performance-based pricing models for pricing execution of a client job in a cloud service. Client-provided performance-related parameters are used to determine a price. The price may be a minimum bid price that is evaluated against a bid received from client bidder to accept or reject the bid. Alternatively, the price may be returned ...

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After the NSA scandal broke this summer, revealing that the U.S. spy agency was eavesdropping wholesale on the most popular services on the web, Microsoft turned to five or six of its top engineers for help.  One of them was Mark Russinovich.  It was only natural that Russinovich ended up on the small team of engineers who would decide how Microsoft should respond to the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. “It gave Microsoft a wake-up call, especially the revelation of tapping inter-data-center connections,” Russinovich says, referring to an October Washington Post story that exposed an NSA sketch, or “slide,” showing that the agency is grabbing data from lines that run between the massive computer centers operated by the likes of Google and Yahoo. “The tapping of public wires going into a data center? That slide was shocking to me, because it’s just so flagrant.” And, yes, he ...

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Microsoft’s Cloud platform Windows Azure is evolving at the rate in which even industry leaders like Amazon are now within the reach in terms of feature parity. Speaking to The Channel, Microsoft’s Windows Azure president Scott Guthrie revealed some interesting information about Azure, how it is evolving, how it compares to Amazon, etc,.  He also said that Skype now runs on Windows Azure, all new storage of SkyDrive goes to Azure, part of Xbox Live is now powered by Azure and Office 365 used Azure’s identity management for authentication. Some excerpts from the interview, “We have more regions than Amazon, we have coverage in places like China that they’re not in,”. “If you want to reach the globe the most, we’re the cloud vendor to do it.” “Every Office 365 customer has a Windows Azure Active Directory login,” he said. “All authentication, all security, all access control for Office 365 ...

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Microsoft today confirmed about their upcoming Build 2014 conference. Build 2014 developer conference will take place April 2 to April 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Registration for this event opens at 9 a.m. PT on Jan. 14 at www.buildwindows.com. Also Microsoft has teased us that they will be discussing about the future of Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Windows Server, Visual Studio and much more at the event. As always, Build is a time to bring developers together to talk about our latest products, platform advances, tools and offerings, all of which come together to create unmatched apps and scenarios. With Windows, developers can create new experiences to reach hundreds of millions of devices on peoples’ desks, in their homes, in their pockets and in their living rooms. At this year’s event, we’ll talk about what’s next for Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Windows Server, Visual Studio and ...

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  Microsoft today announced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. Many of the members were already Microsoft partners, but Microsoft is now giving them a brand new name to better target customers. The members of the Cloud OS Network are leading service providers who will offer hybrid services that give customers greater flexibility and choice. By making a substantial commitment to the Microsoft Cloud Platform, they are able to deliver tailored infrastructure and application services that meet diverse customer needs. Customers will have greater choice in customization, data sovereignty, security, privacy and service levels. For example, Cloud OS Network partner Outsourcery in the United Kingdom is driving an initiative to provide compliant cloud services for U.K. government ...

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Satya Nadella, is the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. He is also one of the few rumored CEO candidates inside Microsoft. Speaking at Le’Web, he said that “this meme of digitizing everything is well on its way.” “Over the next 10 years, we will reach a point where nearly everything will become digitized,” wrote Nadella. He added “an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data and intelligence from machine learning” will make it possible, and developers that leverage these technologies will lend a hand. He envisions that coders “will create new applications and services that help us transform what we do at work, and life, into digital equivalents.” The shift, already on its way, will have a big impact on how organizations conduct business. ...

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Microsoft is expanding the capacity of its Windows Azure cloud computing services in Europe with extra capacity being built out at its Northern Europe data center near Dublin, representing an investment of €170m. The new cloud computing capacity, which is due for completion in Spring 2014, is needed in order to meet the burgeoning demand for cloud services in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, Microsoft said. Speaking at a Microsoft event in Dublin where the new investment was announced, Microsoft’s vice president for Windows Azure Scott Guthrie said that the firm was transforming the way customers deliver and use IT. “We’ve been seeing massive adoption since we kind of relaunched Azure about a year ago, and now about 54 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have already signed up for Azure, and we’re seeing compute and storage capacity double about every six months,“ he said. This is ...

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Earlier today during an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Microsoft announced its plans to open a Windows Azure Region in Brazil.  Microsoft expects the region to come online in early 2014 and will begin to on-board preview customers in the next 4 to 6 weeks. This announcement represents the software giant’s first major expansion into South America.   Windows Azure previously announced expansions into Japan, Australia, and China through our partner 21Vianet.  Microsoft first made Windows Azure available to customers in South America in 2010. Customers in Brazil will experience better performance through reduced latency and will have the ability to keep their data in the country.  As the rules and regulations on data management continue to evolve in Brazil, customers using the Brazil Region will be able to opt for Locally Redundant Storage (LRS), which will maintain three copies of their data and will not replicate their data outside of the country.  Geo Redundant ...

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Every December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (“NORAD”) serves the important role of ensuring that Santa’s journey around the world is safe.  Since 1955, children of all ages have tracked his route with the help of NORAD’s radar, satellites, and jet fighters.  This year, Microsoft has lent a hand to make the experience the most magical yet, putting a fresh spin on the time-honored tradition with the launch of the new www.NORADSanta.org. This is not the first time Microsoft has worked with NORAD Tracks Santa.  Last year, the company provided interactive Bing Maps to give people at home an interactive visual of Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, which was powered by Windows Azure, as well as apps for Windows and Windows Phone that allowed people a platform to play and learn. The Internet Explorer team collaborated with NORAD to rebuild the Web experience from the ground up.  The new ...

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Microsoft has acquired Apiphany—a leading API management delivery platform.  The one year old company is based in Washington D.C. and the terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Steve Martin, general manager of Windows Azure Business and Marketing stated in a blog post: While there is nothing new about app extensibility, cloud computing has rapidly accelerated the use cases for extensibility which has increased the value of the APIs. As you might expect, with expansion and increased value, comes additional work to expose APIs reliably, securely and at scale.  Our newly acquired API management services provide businesses of any size the tools they need to expose particular endpoints while selectively gating access to more sensitive data and services.   We look forward to surfacing API management services within Windows Azure and providing our customers with the technology they need to grow their API ecosystem very soon.  With the acquisition Apiphany ...

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Windows Azure AD is the Microsoft’s Active Directory in the cloud. It offers enterprise class identity services in the cloud with support for multi-factor authentication and more. Microsoft yesterday announced no.of new features and stats about Azure AD yesterday. As of yesterday, we have processed over 430 Billion user authentications in Azure AD, up 43% from June. And last week was the first time that we processed more than 10 Billion authentications in a seven day period. This is a real testament to the level of scale we can handle! You might also be interested to learn that more than 1.4 million business, schools, government agencies and non-profits are now using Azure AD in conjunction with their Microsoft cloud service subscriptions, an increase of 100% since July. And maybe even more amazing is that we now have over 240 million user accounts in Azure AD from companies and organizations in ...

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Microsoft recently added two-factor authentication to its own Outlook.com just a few months back.  Now multi-factor authentication is available as a service on Windows Azure.  Multi-Factor Authentication quickly enables an additional layer security for users signing in from around the globe.  In addition to a username and password, users may authenticate via: 1) An application on their mobile device.  2) Automated voice call.  3) Text message with a passcode. On-Premises VPNs, Web Applications, and More – Run the Multi-Factor Authentication Server on your existing hardware or in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. Synchronize with your Windows Server Active Directory for automated user set up. Cloud Applications like Windows Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM – Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for Windows Azure AD identities with the flip of a switch, and users will be prompted to set up multi-factor the next time they sign-in.  Custom Applications — Use our SDK to ...

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Larry Ellison hates Microsoft, but former HP CEO Mark Hurd has helped patch things up a little bit and today Oracle & Microsoft announced a partnership.  As part of this partnership, Oracle will certify and support Oracle software — including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server — on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure. Microsoft will also offer Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server to Windows Azure customers, and Oracle will make Oracle Linux available to Windows Azure customers. Java developers, IT professionals and businesses will benefit from the flexibility to deploy fully supported Oracle software to Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure. “Microsoft is deeply committed to giving businesses what they need, and clearly that is the ability to run enterprise workloads in private clouds, public clouds and, increasingly, across both,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Now our customers will be able to ...

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Microsoft has made some nice improvements to Windows Azure, making it significantly cheaper for developers. Dev/Test in the Cloud: MSDN Use Rights, Unbeatable MSDN Discount Rates, MSDN Monetary Credits BizTalk Services: Great new service for Windows Azure that enables EDI and EAI integration in the cloud Per-Minute Billing and No Charge for Stopped VMs: Now only get charged for the exact minutes of compute you use, no compute charges for stopped VMs SSL Support with Web Sites: Support for both IP Address and SNI based SSL bindings on custom web-site domains Active Directory: Updated directory sync utility, ability to manage Office 365 directory tenants from Windows Azure Management Portal Free Trial: More flexible Free Trial offer A number of enhancements to Windows Azure to make a better environment in which to do dev/test: No Charge for Stopped VMs Pay by the Minute Billing MSDN Use Rights now supported on Windows Azure ...

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Satya Nadella is president of Microsoft Corporation’s Server and Tools Business (STB), a US$19 billion division that builds and runs the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services.  To put the $19 billion in perspective, it is greater than the combined revenues of Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Zynga, Netflix and a few other tech companies.  When Nadella was asked about this large number he commented, “We’re only doing 19 billion of 2.2 trillion dollars of IT.” Nadella is an extremely interesting person and longtime Microsoft insider, he joined Microsoft in 1992 and has now been working at the company for over 20 years.  Nadella is a native of Hyderabad, India, he has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He recently gave an interview with VentureBeat: Q: What are the ...

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Nasuni today released their report on performance of Cloud Storage Providers. Nasuni tested five clouds: Amazon S3, Microsoft Windows Azure Blob Storage, Google Cloud Storage, HP Cloud Object Storage, and Rackspace Cloud Files. Microsoft Azure has trumped the last year leader Amazon S3 in various cases. Across the three tests, Windows Azure emerged as a top performer in all categories, and the leader in two out of three: Speed: Azure was 56 percent faster than the No. 2 Amazon S3 in write speed, and 39 percent faster at reading files than the No. 2 HP Cloud Object Storage in read speed. Availability: Azure’s average response time was 25 percent faster than Amazon S3, which had the second fastest average time. Scalability: Amazon S3 varied only 0.6 percent from its average the scaling tests, with Microsoft Windows Azure varying 1.9 percent (both very acceptable levels of variance). The two OpenStack-based clouds ...

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