Microsoft Heaps On the Windows Azure Cloud Updates
The company refuses to let dust settle on its cloud by pushing out new updates to Azure backups, virtual machines and the platform's SDK.Leaving little doubt that Microsoft is serious about its transformation into an increasingly cloud-centric provider of "devices and services," the company announced several new Windows Azure updates and enhancements aimed at enterprise customers. Windows Azure vice president Scott Guthrie announced the immediate availability of a "huge set of updates to Windows Azure" in an Oct. 22 blog post. Among them is the official release of Windows Azure Backup Service, which is "backed by an enterprise SLA [service-level agreement], supported by Microsoft Support, and is ready to use for production scenarios," he wrote. Furthering the software giant's efforts to attract businesses to Azure, Windows Azure Backup provides file and folder backup, recovery and off-site data-protection services for organizations running Windows Server, in addition to System Center Data Protection Manager and Windows Server Essentials, with the downloadable Windows Azure Backup Agent. Data privacy is assured, Guthrie wrote. The issue was thrust into the spotlight this year when a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, went public with classified information pertaining to the intelligence agency's spying capabilities. Allegations that the U.S. government enjoyed privileged access to popular cloud service providers surfaced, putting tech heavyweights, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, on the defensive.
There were no such concerns with Windows Azure Backup. "All data is encrypted on-site before it is sent to the cloud, and customers retain and manage the encryption key [meaning the data is stored entirely secured and can't be decrypted by anyone but yourself]," wrote Guthrie.