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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Microsoft today announced its spring update for its Cloud Computing Platform Windows Azure. This is a significant update that raises Windows Azure to the level of Amazon Web Services in terms of Infrastructure As A Service. Here are the highlights from the update announced, 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 ...

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The War Horse Journey is a war drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and released in the United States on 25 December 2011 and in the United Kingdom releasing on 13 January. The film creators have done a beautiful website to promote their film.  The site has two parts, a gallery and the TimeMap. The Gallery uses Deep Zoom technology to let the user explore a patchwork of historical images, maps and shots from the film. It’s an interactive exploration of the world of War Horse. The TimeMap uses Bing Maps and Map Cruncher to overlay today’s map of the WWI battle area with historical maps and photos. You can scroll a viewer around to see, for example, where the front line ran and the pockmarked landscape. It’s a powerful use of Microsoft technology to bring history to life and add depth and context to the film. In both regards, ...

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Microsoft today announced the availability of the SQL Azure Q4 Service Release. This new service release offers greater flexibility for scaling on demand, and simplifies database monitoring and management. Also Microsoft reduced the maximum price per SQL Azure DB is $499.95. Microsoft also released a new Metro-Style SQL  Azure Management Portal. The new portal has a Metro-style user interface with new features including new workspaces with the ability to more easily monitor databases, drill-down into schemas, query plans, spatial data, indexes/keys, and query performance statistics (see screen shot above). The new portal also supports SQL Azure Federation. You can find more about what’s new in this release here.  ...

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Microsoft recently updated their Windows Azure portal. The new redesigned website is clean, simple and easy to navigate. For example, under pricing tab you can now calculate total Windows Azure pricing including storage db, data transfer,etc, by dragging the sliders of various services. Give the new website a try at Windowsazure.com. ...

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Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Computing platform beats its rivals Amazon EC2 and Google App Engine in Cloud speed tests. In an independent tests were conducted by application performance management vendor Compuware using CloudSleuth tool, Windows Azure did the assigned job in just 5.96 seconds ahead of all the others including Google, Amazon, Rackspace, etc. Also this is not a single test results, the company performed 515,000 tests overall for a year’s worth of data to find the above results. You can read more about the results at Ars Technica. ...

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    Microsoft is offering  Windows Azure platform 30 day pass, so that you can try Windows Azure and SQL Azure for free. However, it requires promocode. If you really want to try Windows Azure, Follow msftnws or pradeepviswav on twitter and ask for azure promocode, We will DM you. More details at http://windowsazurepass.com/ ...

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Fujitsu yesterday announced the availability of its Global cloud platform running on Windows Azure. Windows Azure will run on Fujitsu’s datacenter in Japan and will be launched in August 2011 for general customers. Currently they have been beta testing with about 20 companies. Microsoft first announced the private cloud/Azure appliance last year with partners Fujitsu, HP and Dell. There is no word on similar service from Dell and HP. Fujitsu even have sales targets of 400 enterprise companies, 5,000 SMEs and ISVs in a five-year period after the service launch. Good bet I guess. more details on Zdnet Mary Jo Foley’s blog. ...

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