Microsoft isn't slowing down in its mission to turn Azure into the cloud computing option of choice for enterprises.
Following the preview of Azure Redis Cache released in May, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, announced that his company's implementation of the open-source data caching platform is now generally available. As he explained in a lengthy Oct. 7 blog post, "Azure Redis Cache is now the recommended distributed cache solution we advocate for Azure applications."
Redis offers a number of business application-friendly benefits that have won over Microsoft. "Unlike traditional caches, which deal only with key-value pairs, Redis is popular for its support of high-performance data types, on which you can perform atomic operations such as appending to a string, incrementing the value in a hash, pushing to a list, computing set intersection, union and difference, or getting the member with highest ranking in a sorted set," explained Guthrie.
It helps that Redis has emerged as a well-supported, multi-platform solution.
According to Guthrie, "Redis has a healthy, vibrant open-source ecosystem built around it." Several clients are "available across multiple languages," he added. "This allows it to be used by nearly any application, running on either Windows or Linux, that you host inside of Azure."
Azure Redis Cache is available in seven sizes and two editions. Cache size options include 250MB, 1GB, 2.8GB, 6GB, 13GB, 26GB and 53GB. "We plan to support even higher-memory options in the future," Guthrie said.
Carrying no formal service-level agreement (SLA), the Basic edition is a single cache node meant for development and testing or noncritical workloads, he said. The production-ready Standard edition of Azure Redis Cache is a two-node configuration "backed by an enterprise SLA."
The Azure Redis Cache service joins a number of new Azure updates, including the general availability of Azure Site Recovery (formerly Hyper-V Recovery Manager), Microsoft's all-cloud, InMage-enhanced disaster recovery solution. In the event of a disaster, the service enables customers to resume operations directly in the cloud with minimal downtime.
Azure Backup now protects servers running the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, on top of existing support for Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2. "Azure Backup allows [organizations to back up] on-premises Windows Server 2008 servers to Azure for long term in an efficient and secure way," said Giridhar Mosay, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise program manager in a separate blog post.
Mosay's announcement also revealed that Microsoft's bet on cloud-based Windows Server backups is paying off. The product "is growing rapidly into double digits month over month," he said.
Microsoft also launched a public preview of Elastic Scale for Azure SQL Database, which "enables the data-tier of an application to scale out via industry-standard sharding practices, while significantly streamlining the development and management of your sharded cloud applications," said Guthrie.