TechEd 2014: Microsoft's pipeline of Azure improvements

Microsoft has announced a raft of new Azure features at TechEd 2014, and we take a look at what's in the pipeline

Microsoft has revealed a series of enhancements are in the pipeline for its Azure public cloud platform, designed to bolster its security, performance and disaster recovery capabilities.

The software giant used the first day of its TechEd conference in Houston, Texas, to showcase the improvements, and announce the UK general availability of its Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute service.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The latter provides end users with a private connection between their on-premise IT assets and Microsoft's public cloud, and is being offered in the UK by Equinix and TelecityGroup.

This functionality is designed to let end users tap into Microsoft's cloud resources as and when required, and without having to rely on flaky public internet connections.

Below, we run through the other Microsoft Azure enhancements announced at TechEd this week that IT professionals can look forward to using in the future.

Anti-malware protection

Windows Azure users will soon be able to protect their virtual machines (and any applications they are building on the public cloud platform) with anti-malware tools.

Speaking to IT Pro, Corey Sanders, group manager for Microsoft Azure and the firm's IaaS activities, said the decision to include anti-malware capabilities was not in response to any specific or growing threat to the platform but because users were asking for it.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Historically, disaster recovery has been reserved for only the most mission critical applications for most organisations because it's too expensive.

"It was responsive to customer demand, and I think... when we look at the check box of an IT pro and you go down the list, and say, what do they need?', enhanced security is always going to be listed," said Sanders.

Disaster recovery

Microsoft has revamped its Hyper-V Recovery Manager to include support for Windows Azure, meaning IT managers can now replicate and recover virtual machines and workloads to the public cloud platform should their primary datacentre go offline.

According to Microsoft, this will make disaster recovery cheaper and easier for enterprises to take advantage of, and means they can backup more workloads than ever before.

"Historically, disaster recovery has been reserved for only the most mission critical applications for most organisations because it's too expensive and too difficult," said Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise division (pictured), during the event's opening keynote.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Let's have disaster recovery for every one of the offerings in your company. For every one of the offerings your users and customers are using," he added.

This service, which now goes by the name of Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, will be available to preview from next month.

Enhanced storage

Moving legacy apps to the cloud can throw up all sorts of storage problems, which is an issue Microsoft hopes to address with the preview release of Azure Files.    

This provides users with access to a single pool of storage for multiple virtual machines within the same datacentre, and is available now to preview.

Speaking about the forthcoming release of the product, Anderson said: "Think of now having a share of common storage in Azure with an SMB protocol head to it that all your VMs in Azure and all the applications you're writing can use in a shared manner."

Advertisement - Article continues below

Running legacy apps

Enterprises with large numbers of Windows apps may struggle when it comes to delivering that software to users of iOS and Android devices.

To work round this, Microsoft has made its Azure RemoteApp offering available for users to preview.

This relies on Azure to let organisations upload their apps and then deliver them to non-Windows devices.

"Every single organisation I talk to has got a very large inventory of Windows applications that they are now trying to deliver down to all their users across all their devices," said Anderson.

"With Azure, we worry about the infrastructure and whether they can scale up or down in line with demand and they only pay for what they use."

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now


cyber security

Report: 16.5 million Britons fell victim to cyber crime in the past year

1 Apr 2020
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS launches Amazon Detective for investigating security incidents

1 Apr 2020

UK government to launch coronavirus 'contact tracking' app

1 Apr 2020
video conferencing

Zoom admits meetings don't use end-to-end encryption

1 Apr 2020

Most Popular


Zoom kills Facebook integration after data transfer backlash

30 Mar 2020
data breaches

Marriott data breach exposes personal data of 5.2 million guests

31 Mar 2020
cyber crime

FBI warns of ‘Zoom-bombing’ hackers amid coronavirus usage spike

31 Mar 2020
data management

Oracle cloud courses are free during coronavirus lockdown

31 Mar 2020