In a busy week for Microsoft, which included the Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Fla., the company announced the general availability of new Azure Site Recovery (ASR) migration features that streamline the process of migrating both virtual machines and physical servers to the Redmond, Wash., tech titan's cloud.
"To enable our customers to move heterogeneous workloads from multiple environments—VMware, Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or physical servers—to Azure, we are announcing the general availability (GA) of application-aware, one-click migration with Azure Site Recovery," said Abhishek A. Hemrajani, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise senior program manager, in a July 16 announcement. Azure Site Recovery also enables customers to transfer those workloads between Azure regions. Currently, the company maintains 17 Azure regions across the globe, including Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and both U.S. coasts.
In recent months, Microsoft has been bulking up its enterprise cloud capabilities in an effort to fashion Azure into the one-stop cloud for business workloads. A year ago, the software maker snapped up InMage, whose technology now powers much of Azure Site Recovery's platform-agnostic workload migration capabilities. And for a limited time, Microsoft is sweetening the deal for organizations looking to offload application workloads from their on-premises systems.
"Customers can replicate on-premises workloads to Azure with Azure Site Recovery for 31 days at no charge, effectively making migration to Azure free," Hemrajani revealed.
Chances are that ASR can handle practically any application businesses intend to migrate to Azure. "ASR's tested and proven migration capabilities are available for a wide range of workloads including Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server," he added.
Currently, ASR supports the transfer of the following source environments: Hyper-V 2012, 2012 R2 and 2008 R2 SP1; VMware vCenter Server 5.0, 5.5, ESXi 5.0, 5.5 and physical servers; and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Windows Amazon Machine Images (AMIs).
Azure Site Recovery is also being made available to customers using Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) to manage their hybrid cloud environments, announced Hemrajani. "OMS extends the value of System Center and helps you manage and protect your corporate workloads no matter where they run—Azure or AWS, Windows Server or Linux, Hyper-V or VMware," he said.
This week also marked the official launch of a new file-based media processor for customers that want to let the cloud handle their media transcoding needs.
For media and video production companies, Microsoft announced the release of Media Encoder Standard, which offers more support for media file formats and codecs and a higher-fidelity H.264 encoder and other improvements over Azure Media Encoder. "Over the next several months, we will be updating this new encoder regularly and introducing additional features, such as additional file format/codec support, thumbnail support, ability to trim a live archive Asset, and much more," said Anil Murching, senior program manager of Azure Media Services, in a blog post.
"Over time, the new 'Media Encoder Standard' will replace 'Azure Media Encoder,'" revealed Murching. "Consequently, this new encoder has the same pricing as Azure Media Encoder," he added. For example, currently in the United States, video-on-demand encoding starts at $1.99 per output gigabyte for the first 5 terabytes a month, dropping to $1.29 per gigabyte for customers surpassing 50TB per month.