Microsoft recently announced additions to its Windows Azure platform in the form of some features becoming generally available while others emerged in preview mode. BizTalk Services, Traffic Manager and Active Directory became generally available while services and features related to mobile devices, notification hubs, storage, websites and monitoring became available in preview mode.
Details of generally available features were announced on November 21 and include the following:
BizTalk Services provides Azure customers with a cloud-based set of tools for integrating their on-premise applications with the cloud. BizTalk Services empower customers to build portals that access Azure-based applications as well as on-premise data. The solution also facilitates the implementation of robust B2B transaction processing.
Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD)
The general availability of Windows Azure Active Directory enables customers to leverage single sign on functionality for hundreds of applications including Office 365, Box, DropBox and Salesforce.com. The premium preview version of WAAD enables more advanced identify management features such as “group provisioning” and functionality for end users to reset their passwords.
Traffic Manager improves application availability and application performance as elaborated in a detailed blog post by Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Server and Tools Business:
Windows Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control the distribution of user traffic to applications that you host within Windows Azure. Your applications can run in the same data center, or be distributed across different regions across the world. Traffic Manager works by applying an intelligent routing policy engine to the Domain Name Service (DNS) queries on your domain names, and maps the DNS routes to the appropriate instances of your applications.
Traffic Manager improves application performance by directing customers to the nearest application instance and improves application availability by automating the re-direction of traffic in the event of an application instance fail-over or equivalent scenario.