Office 2013 Preview is here!

Technology 16 Jul 2012 0 comment

The customer preview of Office 2013 has been released! If you want to kick the tires on the next version of the most popular productivity suite on the planet, download now!  I’m installing as I type :-)

Office 2013 Customer Preview

New Windows Azure Services Unleashed!

Technology 7 Jun 2012 0 comment

We have recently announced a major set of updates to Windows Azure.

  • Windows Azure Web Sites – This feature makes building .NET, Node.js, Java and PHP web experiences easier and supports Git and FTP deployment techniques.  What’s even cooler is support for popular open source web applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco and Drupal
  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines - This feature enables customers to move existing application workloads that currently reside on virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises environments and the cloud.  Azure VMs also sport support for Linux VHD images
  • Windows Azure Virtual Network – This feature enables the creation and management of virtual private networks (VPNs) into Windows Azure which allows organizations to extend their corporate networks into the cloud

These updates are pretty significant in the history of Windows Azure.  My favorite feature in this release is Windows Azure Virtual Machines & Network.  This capability should begin to bring Windows Azure on par with the capabilities currently provided by Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and will provide solution providers and customers with a compelling alternative to AWS to delivering Microsoft-based solutions.  At long last, customers and solution providers will be able to deploy solutions such as SharePoint on Windows Azure (a much needed and desired feature)  Having delivered solutions on both Windows Azure and AWS, this capability alone will level the playing field and present a compelling alternative for customers and solution providers as they look to the cloud to host/deliver Microsoft-based workloads.

We’ve also made significant updates to the Windows Azure Management Portal, which now sports a more streamlined HTML-5 based interface that can be accessed from a variety of platforms, browsers, and devices.

In addition to the aforementioned features, we’re also releasing the following:

  • Locally Redundant Storage – By default, Windows Azure storage accounts are set up to be geographically redundant.  Windows Azure customers that do not require the additional level of durability now can turn off Geo Redundancy and obtain significant savings.  Locally redundant storage is still highly durable, with multiple replicas stored within the same sub-region
  • SQL Reporting – SQL Reporting is a new BI service that allows you to publish reports to the cloud or embed reports directly within on-premises applications.

This is a really exciting time for Windows Azure.  These new features and updated services will greatly enhance cloud solutions developed/deployed on the Azure platform.

To learn more about these great capabilities, I strongly recommend you register for the Meet Windows Azure event today at 1pm PST and watch/listen as our very own CVP of Windows Azure, Scott Guthrie, discusses the new features in great detail.  And knowing Scott, he’ll have a lot of cool demos to show.  BTW, the event is being streamed live!  Register now!

Meet Windows Azure on June 7th

Technology 7 Jun 2012 0 comment

Meet Windows AzureJoin Scott Guthrie as he’ll be doing a keynote in San Francisco this Thursday, June 7th at 1pm (PST) where Scott will showcase a lot of the cool stuff that’s being going on in Windows Azure over the past 12 months and how developers can take advantage of the fruits of that labor.  An extra treat is that the event will be streamed live .

Make sure you register for the event.


Get Windows 8 Release Preview and Visual Studio 2012 RC Now!

Technology 31 May 2012 0 comment

Great news!  We have just released the long awaited Release Preview of Windows 8 and the highly anticipated release candidate of Visual Studio 2012 (formerly Visual Studio 11)!  These are MAJOR milestones for Microsoft and is setting the stage for a complete re-imagination of Windows and providing a solid development foundation upon which to build next generation applications for a whole new family of devices to include the latest Windows Phone platform as well as a soon-to-be-launched onslaught of fantastic Windows 8-slate and tablet devices.

No other company on the planet has made the types of investments Microsoft has made in its client technologies, development and management tools, and cloud-based services.  We’re betting a lot on the upcoming releases and I for one am extremely excited and optimistic.

Take some time and download the release preview of Windows 8 today and if you’re a developer, download Visual Studio 2012 and begin building some great apps!


New Microsoft External Web Site Highlights Best Practices for Cloud Infrastructures (Data Centers)

Technology 18 Apr 2012 0 comment

Global Foundation ServicesCustomers and partners alike often ask the question, “How does Microsoft manage its vast network of data centers worldwide that power our 200+ cloud services such as  Office 365, Windows Live and Xbox Live, and our cloud platform Windows Azure?”

Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services (GFS) is the team that builds, manages, and secures Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and today we are launching our new external web site on the Windows Azure platform to address these questions and to more broadly share our cloud infrastructure best practices with external audiences!

The GFS team has a newly revamped website that contains content and tools that that addresses the following:

  • Customer Priorities that dive deep into infrastructure architecture, operations, reliability, security and compliance, and the sustainability strategies for our data centers and fiber optic network – all top of mind for customers, including:
    • 20-30 minute interactive presentations featuring data center subject matter experts addressing some of the top 3-5 customer questions we receive
    • Strategy Briefs for downloading and sharing
    • Video overviews from strategy leads addressing key priorities
    • Related whitepapers, technical content, and slideshows
  • Future Insights that explore the forward-looking challenges of providing cloud services at massive scale and the business impact, reliability, security, sustainability opportunities and roadmap
  • Blogs with industry relevant discussions on cloud infrastructure issues and best practices
  • Video tours of our data center facilities

The resources available via this website have been designed to help customers better understand Microsoft’s data center strategy, and to more broadly share our best practices as we make strides towards more efficient and operationally robust infrastructures.

Check out this great resource if you want a deeper understanding out how Microsoft does what it does in the cloud!

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