Microsoft TechEd 2013: Windows Azure Differentiates from the Crowd
“So you could spin up a bunch of VMs and not pay us a penny for the month, depending on what you use," Guthrie said. “Like if you want to spin up a Hadoop cluster and test out MapReduce jobs you could do that, run it all day and not pay us anything. If you want to build Web apps and you want to use SQL Server, you could spin up that environment, run it pretty much the entire month and not pay us anything. But the beauty about these credits, plus the discounted rates, plus the per-minute billing, plus the stop-without-billing features means that an awful lot of dev teams today can start to use Azure for dev/test purposes and they’re not paying anything more than they are with their MSDN license. And they can use it both for cloud apps that they’ve built, but also they can use it to deploy apps that they’ve built on their existing Windows Servers on premise today. So it’s a really kind of unbeatable offer that any .NET, any Visual Studio, any MSDN user today should take advantage of. I don’t know how to make that one better other than giving you a free data center with it.” Microsoft is making these offers easy to take advantage of; people can use it for all their existing workflows and it plays to the company’s hybrid strengths across Windows Server and Windows Azure. Guthrie maintains that that symmetry and consistency is quite unique and it’s something no other cloud vendor has. Meanwhile, in addition to dev/test, a new service Microsoft is offering is Windows Azure BizTalk Services. Microsoft earlier this year shipped BizTalk Server 2013, which was a major update that works on premises. It can also run in VMs. However, this is a new Platform as a Service capability called BizTalk Services, designed to be compatible with the server, but it’s a managed service so you don’t have to install it inside a VM yourself or do any admin. Microsoft will run it clustered for you automatically. BizTalk Server is a relatively advanced, feature-rich product that is non-trivial to set up. Companies typically need to put BizTalk outside the firewall and configure it. They often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just installing BizTalk Server. But with the new BizTalk Services users can stand up a BizTalk implementation in about six minutes, Guthrie said. That’s with high-availability, scaled out, secure, completely isolated and ready to use. And it works with the same pay-by-the-minute model. It opens up the possibilities for using BizTalk in a much more broader space for both the enterprise and SMB scenarios, he said.These updates build on where Microsoft has taken Windows Azure over the last year.
Microsoft is launching this in preview form at TechEd in a dev/test version as well as basic, standard and premium editions. “We’re also shipping full .NET support and rich Visual Studio tooling support, so you can create bridges and adapters to integrate the BizTalk Services with your on-premise products like SAP, or existing databases or business systems,” Guthrie said.