What's new in Microsoft Azure

Microsoft is shifting its focus to the cloud in a big way, as this week's TechEd conference shows

What didn't happen this week at Microsoft's TechEd North America conference is what got people talking: Microsoft announced no new products for on-premises deployment. If you didn't get that Microsoft is serious about migrating its services -- and you -- to the cloud, this should make it crystal-clear.

At TechEd, Microsoft announced several important additions to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform (all but the first two were shown in beta form).

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Azure ExpressRoute: This provides a method for creating private connections between your on-premises infrastructure and the Azure data centers where you might have virtual machines for data migration, high availability, disaster recovery, and so on. What's key about ExpressRoute is that it doesn't go through the public Internet but instead goes through either an ExpressRoute location (an Exchange provider facility) or a WAN-connected MPLS VPN directly to Azure. This private routing allows for faster connections, lower latency, and greater reliability.

Azure Files: This tool simplifies the sharing of files in the cloud by providing access to an SMB 2.1 file share. It can help admins move legacy apps to the cloud, because most of those apps were designed with on-premises file shares as the standard, which the use of SMB 2.1 supports; thanks to those SMB mappings, sharing in the cloud works the same as what you have on-premises.

Azure Site Recovery: This is a very interesting disaster recovery option that provides failover to the Azure data center. It provides the same disaster recovery capabilities as on-premises Hyper-V Recovery Manager, but with Azure as your secondary data-center option instead of an actual data center or private cloud. This might be helpful especially for businesses that are not looking to set up a secondary data center.

Microsoft Antimalware: When you're building a VM in Azure, this capability lets you choose which antimalware tool to install: Microsoft's built-in Antimalware, Symantec's Endpoint Protection, or Trend Micro's Deep Security. You can enable these agents through your choice of the Azure management portal or the command line.

Azure RemoteApp: Similar to Remote Desktop Services, this provides connectivity to remote applications via a client on Windows phones, iOS devices, and Android devices.

It's looking more and more like the future of Microsoft squarely rests in the cloud. Are you ready?

This story, "What's new in Microsoft Azure," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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