- Azure now supports Active Directory for managing access to customers' applications hosted in the Azure cloud as well as Microsoft cloud services such as Office 365. This enables end users to sign in once to Azure and gain access to any applications for which they have been assigned rights. Similarly, businesses can revoke access rights when workers leave the company or change roles within the company, Microsoft says. Customers and business partners can be assigned access rights to sets of Azure-based corporate services and simplifying such access. The only requirement to reach Azure AD and sign in is an up-to-date browser.
- System Center Management Pack for Azure and System Center Advisor Connector are both available as public previews for customers of System Center 2012 SP1. The first enables monitoring the performance of corporate resources that are housed within the Azure cloud using the same System Center platform they use to monitor assets hosted within the corporate network. The second is a resource for configuration best practices for Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012. The advisor is accessible through System Center Operations Manager.
- Windows Azure Backup is now a public paid preview. The backup to Azure protects data on corporate-owned servers by creating a backup in the cloud.
- Microsoft has made available Global Service Monitor, which can help businesses that own System Center 2012 SP1 get a glimpse of how their outward-facing Web services are performing for customers.
(Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Tim_Greene.)