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Ten Key Scenarios: Extend Your Network Today with Windows Azure

New VM and Virtual Network services empower networks with Hybrid Scenarios

Today, April 16th 2013, the Windows Azure team has announced that Windows Azure Infrasructure Services ( Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks ) has been released for General Availability ( GA ) for production workloads!  You can read the full details of this formal announcement at:

Activate a FREE Windows Azure 90-Day Trial

Over 200,000 customers are actively using Windows Azure as their cloud platform.  In this article, I’ll review the step-by-step scenarios with which these customers have experienced great value – so that YOU can easily get started leveraging the low-cost and flexibility of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, too – beginning today!

What does today’s announcement mean?

Previously, Windows Azure VM & VNets were being provided on a pre-release “Preview” basis for testing and evaluation without a Service Level Agreement ( SLA ) in place for production workloads.  With today’s GA announcement, Windows Azure Infrastructure Services is now ready for production workloads and the Windows Azure team is providing a financially-backed SLA as an availability guarantee.

New VM Sizes

In addition, the GA release today also brings forth new VM Sizes for large memory VMs ( in addition to the prior VM Sizes ):

  • NEW! VM Size A6 ( 4 Virtual Cores / 28 GB RAM )
  • NEW! VM Size A7 ( 8 Virtual Cores / 56 GB RAM )

These new VM sizes are a welcome addition for supporting memory-hungry VMs on Windows Azure, such as SQL Server and SharePoint Server workloads.

New Pricing Levels

The Windows Azure team is committed to provide the best balance of low-cost and performance for VMs running on the Windows Azure Infrastructure Services platform.  As an early incentive, there’s a substantial discount across the board for VM usage.

Ten Key Scenarios You Can Start with Today

Windows Azure VMs and Virtual Networks unlock a huge set of new capabilities for IT Pros exploring Hybrid datacenter scenarios.  Today, most IT Pros are faced with on-premise datacenter capacity issues for new workloads, and are often looking to leverage off-site options for backup and DR as well.  Windows Azure can be leveraged as a cloud-based extension of your on-premise datacenter for several key scenarios, such as ...


1. Backup SQL Server Databases & Logs to the Cloud

2. Backup Server Data to the Cloud with Windows Azure Online Backup


3. Extend On-Premise Network to the Cloud with Windows Azure Site-to-Site VPN


4. Extend Your Windows Server Active Directory to the Cloud

5. Replicate File Server Content to the Cloud with DFS-R

6. SQL Database AlwaysOn or Database Mirroring

7. Build a Private Cloud Recovery Plan with Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager


8. Accelerate the Delivery of Cloud-based Web and File Server Content


9. Deploy SharePoint to the Cloud


10. Deploy IIS Web Applications to the Cloud with Windows Azure

How Do I Get Started Today?

You can get started today by evaluating these scenarios using our FREE Windows Azure 90-Day Subscription program.  When you’re ready to move these scenarios into production and get the added value of our financially-backed Service Level Agreement, you can easily convert the FREE Subscription to a PAID subscription by supplying billing information.

Are you ready to join me in the Cloud? Winking smile

- Keith

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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