Windows Azure confirmed for SA

Microsoft announced in a blog post yesterday (6 June 2012) that its Windows Azure cloud computing platform would be made available to 48 new countries, including South Africa.

“The platforms offer customers the choice and flexibility to move existing applications or develop new ones using the language and platform of their choice,” said Stephen Cakebread, Azure Marketing Manager at Microsoft SA.

Windows Azure competes against the likes of Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, and a number of other local and overseas cloud computing offerings.

In addition to the wider availability of the service, Microsoft also announced a number of new features. This includes adding support for new operating systems and releasing new language libraries for .NET, Java, PHP, and Node.js.

Cakebread said that some of the new services include:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service capabilities, including Windows Azure Virtual Machines for Windows and Linux-based applications, as well as the Windows Azure Virtual Network to securely link Windows Azure with on-premises networks.
  • Windows Azure Web Sites which lets developers build web sites and applications using multiple frameworks and popular open source applications.
  • An integrated Windows Azure Preview Portal.

The following existing services are set to receive updates, Cakebread said:

  • Interoperability updates, including new libraries for Java and Python.
  • Windows Azure SDK and support for Visual Studio Team Foundation Services.
  • Windows Azure Active Directory, the content delivery network, distributed caching and support for media services
  • Windows Azure SQL Reporting.

Microsoft said that previews of new Windows Azure services will be available from today (7 June 2012) and that Scott Guthrie will host “Meet Windows Azure”, which will be streamed live from 22:00 SAST, to introduce these new services.

South African pricing will only be available after the launch, Cakebread said, but added that it is possible to get a rough idea of the current functionality and pricing (though it will be in USD) by looking at the Windows Azure website.

“Please note, the new functionality will not be on this site yet,” Cakebread said.

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Windows Azure confirmed for SA