Windows Azure Upgrade

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Windows Azure Upgrade

Microsofts announced updates to Windows Azure are designed to improve ease of use, interoperability and overall value.

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Risk-Free Trial

Microsoft will now be offering a simplified risk-free trial and subscription to Windows Azure. Users can get started on Azure in three quick steps, greatly simplifying the sign-up process. Additionally, spending caps ensure a truly free 90-day trial.

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Windows Azure Pricing Calculator

Customers can select whatever capabilities they need for their Windows Azure applications and get instant feedback on the potential costs involved. The pricing calculator gives users a quick way to price applications at a high level, or they can drill down into the full calculator and get in-depth information on every cost for their solution, Microsoft said.

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Streamlined Billing

Windows Azure now offers an updated portal, which gives users increased insight into managing their applications and billing. They can view up-to-the-minute details on usage and billing, and can cancel unneeded subscriptions from the Windows Azure Management Portal, eliminating the need to sign in to multiple sites for subscription management and usage details. In addition, customers can view real-time usage and billing details directly from the Windows Azure Management Portal. To streamline billing, Windows Azure has moved to single-day invoicing each month for customers with multiple subscriptions, according to Microsoft. Invoices have been updated to provide key details at a glance. In-depth reports can be run across multiple information fields if desired.

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SQL Azure

SQL Azure now features a refreshed management portal. The new portal uses the Metro-style user interface, which features tiles and workspaces that make management of SQL Azure databases more intuitive. Highlights include:- The ability to easily monitor databases- The ability to drill down into schemas for easy viewing and changing of schemas- Detailed query plan views and query performance statistics - Easy management of indexes and keys - Spatial query data mapping via Bing Maps The new SQL Azure portal also supports SQL Azure Federation, a feature that makes it easy to scale a single logical database across many physical nodes for massive scalability.

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This image shows a SQL Azure database that has been federated across 31 members, so the database is actually serviced by 31 different physical servers for greater scalability and performance. SQL Azure Federation allows the developer to treat the federated database as a single logical database. Also, Microsoft has increased the maximum SQL Azure database size from 50GB to 150GB. In addition, IT managers can now benefit from SQL Azure pricing caps that lower the cost per GB for large databases, with the maximum price per SQL Azure database at $499.95. The change allows customers with 50GB databases and larger to continue to grow without additional costs.

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New Node.js, Updated Java Support

Microsoft has added Node.js language libraries to Windows Azure. The initial library will include support for Windows Azure Blob, Table Storage and Windows Azure Queues. Node.js on Windows Azure will also support any and all JavaScript libraries that Node.js supports natively on Windows, including Sockets.IO and express. With future releases, the Windows Azure Library for Node.js will become more comprehensive, according to Microsoft. Microsoft has updated support for Java, including library support for Windows Azure Blob and Table storage, Windows Azure Queues and Service Bus. Java will also support any and all Java libraries that run on Windows. In addition, Microsoft has updated Eclipse tooling support for Windows Azure.

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Apache Hadoop

Microsoft now offers an Apache Hadoop-based service on Windows Azure for analyzing unstructured data at a low cost. In creating a Hadoop-based service on Azure, Microsoft hopes to broaden access to Hadoop by simplifying the installation and promoting JavaScript to a first-class programming language. This Hadoop-based service also offers faster time-to-business insights via integration with Microsoft business intelligence tools, including Excel, Power View and PowerPivot. The service will be available to a limited number of customers later in the week of Dec. 12.

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