ExpressRoute is now generally available
With Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, you can create private, high-throughput connections between Azure datacenters and your existing infrastructure, whether it’s on-premises or in a colocation environment. ExpressRoute connections do not go over the public Internet, and they offer more reliability, faster speeds, lower latencies and higher security than typical connections over the Internet. Plus, we’re offering two new bandwidth tiers for the Exchange Provider scenario – 200 Mbps and 500 Mbps.
If you were already using ExpressRoute during preview, you can continue to use the service at the preview rates until July 1, 2014. Lower connection speeds are now available at their general availability rates. If you don’t want to continue to use the ExpressRoute service at the new prices, you can delete the ExpressRoute connections for your account.
For more information, visit the ExpressRoute website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
General availability of Virtual Network enhancements
Announcing the general availability of the two most requested features for Azure Virtual Network: Multiple Site-to-Site and VNET-to-VNET Connectivity
First, Virtual Networks now supports more than one site-to-site connection. So, you can now securely connect multiple on-premises locations with a Virtual Network (VNET) in Azure. Using more than one site-to-site connection comes at no additional cost. You incur charges only for the VNET gateway uptime.
Second, VNET-to-VNET connectivity has been enabled. That is, multiple virtual networks can be directly and securely connected with one another. Using this feature, you can connect VNETs that are running in different Azure regions and have traffic route via the Azure backbone. This feature enables scenarios that require presence in multiple regions, applications that are highly available, or the integration of VNETs for a larger network. The data traffic flowing between VNETs is charged at the same rate as egress traffic.
For more information, visit the Virtual Network website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
Compute-intensive A8 and A9 instances now generally available for Virtual Machines
Compute-intensive A8 and A9 instances are now generally available for Azure Virtual Machines. These instances provide faster processors, faster interconnectivity, more virtual cores for higher computing power, and larger amounts of memory. A8 instances (which have 8 virtual cores and 56 GB of RAM) and A9 instances (which have 16 virtual cores and 112 GB of RAM) also include a 40Gbit/s InfiniBand network that provides remote direct memory access (RDMA) technology for the maximum efficiency of parallel Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications. With these instances, customers can run compute-intensive and network-intensive applications such as high-performance cluster applications and applications that use modeling, simulation and analysis, video encoding, and so on.
For more information, visit the Virtual Machines website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, including the details about Azure regions where A8 and A9 instances are available, visit the internal pricing webpage.
IP Reservation for VIPs now generally available, and Instance-level public IPs for Virtual Machines in preview
You can now reserve public IP addresses and use them as virtual IP (VIP) addresses for your applications. This enables scenarios where your applications need to have static public IP addresses or where you need to update your applications by swapping the reserved IP addresses. You can reserve up to 5 addresses per subscription at no additional cost and assign them to the Azure Cloud Services of your choice. You can also reserve another 5 (for a total of 10) addresses at additional cost.
For more information, visit the Reserved IP website and to get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
Also, you can now assign public IP addresses to your virtual machines, so they become directly addressable without having to map an endpoint to access them directly. This feature will enable scenarios like running FTP servers in Azure and monitoring virtual machines directly using their IPs. During preview, you can obtain two public IP addresses per subscription free of charge.
Import/Export service now generally available
By using Azure Import/Export, you can move large amounts of data into and out of Azure Blobs much faster than is possible by downloading data from the internet. Transporting your data from your hard drives to Azure is easy. It can be completed by using the Microsoft high-speed secured internal network to transfer the data to our data center.
Currently, Import/Export is available globally. To get started with Import/Export, follow these instructions.
For more information, visit the Import/Export website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
If you do not want to continue to use the Import/Export service at the new prices, you can disable the service for your account by using the Azure Management Portal.
Managed Cache Service now generally available
Azure Cache Service gives you access to a highly secured, dedicated cache that’s managed by Microsoft. It provides high performance and great features and is easy to use in your cloud applications. A cache created using the Azure Cache Service is accessible from any application within Azure that’s running on Azure Web Sites, Cloud Services or Virtual Machines.
For more information, visit the Azure Cache website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, please visit the internal pricing webpage.
If you do not want to continue to use Managed Cache at the new prices, you can disable the service for your account by using the Azure Management Portal.
Traffic Manager support for external endpoints
Azure Traffic Manager now supports both Azure endpoints and external endpoints. Traffic Manager enables you to control the distribution of user traffic to your specified endpoints. With support for endpoints that reside outside of Azure, you can now build highly available applications across Azure and on-premises. You can apply intelligent traffic management policies across all managed endpoints.
For more information, please visit the Traffic Manager website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
Redis Cache Service now in public preview
Azure Redis Cache is a distributed, in-memory, managed cache that helps you build highly scalable and responsive applications, by providing you super-fast access to your data. Azure Redis Cache is based on the popular open-source Redis Cache. It gives you access to a secured, dedicated Redis Cache that’s managed by Microsoft. A cache created using Redis Cache is accessible from any application within Azure.
Azure Redis Cache will be available via the new Azure Preview portal. Azure Redis Cache is available at no additional cost during public preview.
Retirement of existing Shared Caching Service
As previously announced, the current Azure Shared Caching Service will be retired in September 2014 and with it the Microsoft Silverlight-based portal. Because the Azure Cache Service is in general availability, we strongly encourage you to migrate all existing caches on Shared Caching to the new Azure Managed Cache Service.
Azure RemoteApp now in public preview
In today’s dynamic business environment, everyone wants to access corporate resources from a variety of devices and be productive anywhere, anytime. The “bring-your-own-device” trend presents not only an opportunity to increase productivity but also a challenge to maintain data compliance. To meet these ever-changing business needs with limited resources, you need a flexible infrastructure that can securely scale up or down.
Azure RemoteApp delivers Window Server session-based applications from Azure. With RemoteApp, you can:
Enable users to access corporate applications from anywhere, on a variety of devices.
Quickly respond to the dynamic needs of the business, without large capital requirements.
Centralize and protect corporate applications with the security features and reliability of Azure.
For more information, visit the Azure RemoteApp website. Azure RemoteApp is available at no additional cost during public preview.
API Management now in preview
Azure API Management enables organizations to publish APIs more reliably, more securely, and at scale. Use API Management to engage with and drive API consumption among developers, partners and even internal teams while benefiting from the business and operational insights available in the admin portal. This service provides the tools that your organization needs to manage APIs–from provisioning user roles to creating usage plans and quotas, applying policies for transforming payloads, throttling, conducting analytics, monitoring and configuring alerts.
For more information, visit the API Management website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
Internal Loadbalancing now in public preview
The ability to load-balance Azure (VMs) with private IP addresses is now in public preview. The internally load-balanced endpoint will be accessible only within a virtual network (it the VM is within a virtual network). Internal Loadbalancing is useful when you’re creating multitier applications in which some of the application tiers aren’t public facing but require load-balancing functionality. Internal Loadbalancing is available in the standard tier of VMs at no additional cost.
For more information, visit the Internal Loadbalancing website.
Files now in public preview
Azure Files enables virtual machines in an Azure datacenter to mount a shared file system using the SMB protocol. These VMs are then able to access the file system using standard Windows file APIs (CreateFile, ReadFile, WriteFile, and so on). Many VMs (or Platform as a Service roles) can attach to these file systems concurrently, so you can share persistent data easily between various roles and instances. In addition to accessing your files through the Windows file APIs, you can access your data using the file REST API, which is similar to the familiar Blob service interface.
To use the Azure Files service, create a storage account using the Azure Management Portal or the Azure Service Management API. Any new accounts that you create using your approved subscriptions will automatically be enabled for Azure File.
For more information, visit the Azure Files website. During public preview, preview services are offered at a discount. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the internal pricing webpage.
BizTalk Hybrid Connections now in preview
With no custom code required, Azure BizTalk Hybrid Connections enables you to connect to any on-premises TCP or HTTP resource–such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, or any web service–from Azure Web Sites. To get started, just add a new Hybrid Connection to your web site in the Azure Preview portal.
For more information, visit the Hybrid Connections website.
Support plans now available from the providers of top Linux distributions
Support plans are now available direct from the providers of top Linux distributions. If you’re running Linux in Azure Virtual Machines and have purchased Azure support, you can take advantage of these plans by deploying the associated image in the Azure image gallery.