Windows Azure Halloween News

Boy o’ Boy, there is a lot of stuff going on and it is a busy, still, a busy week or two for Microsoft. Just release Windows 8, the Surface with Windows 8 RT, Windows Phone 8 and yesterday and today we are flooded with news about what is happening in the Azure arena.

So what do we have?

Windows Azure Store
We have the launch of Windows Store Preview, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/zxue/archive/2012/10/29/windows-azure-store-preview.aspx with App Services and Data applications which you can just spin up on Azure. A noticeable service is New Relic which was demoed during one of the keynotes but unfortunately, because the store is still under preview, it is only accessible by US based accounts.

Windows Server 2012 & .NET 4.5 for Cloud Services (Web & Worker Roles).
We already had .NET 4.5 available on the Web Sites Preview side of Azure for a week or two (I am guessing) but today (halloween) Microsoft announced that .NET 4.5 and Windows Server 2012 moved into General Availability.
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/10/31/here-s-what-s-new-with-windows-azure.aspx

WIndows Azure SQL Data Sync October Update
I know, I know, not really released on Halloween but close enough. On October the 26th, the team released the October update for the SQL  Data Sync service which is now operational in all Windows Azure data centers.
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/10/26/announcing-the-windows-azure-sql-data-sync-october-update.aspx

Windows Azure October SDK (Version 1.8)
When you are downloading the Windows Azure SDK you are getting the October release, version 1.8. I can’t quite find a link to a blog post where it is announced but the SDK and the Tools are updated.
http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/?slideshow=5

Windows Azure Distributed Caching
The preview of the distributed caching, which was in preview since June was moved into general availability. This is a very powerful caching service, better than the original one in my opinion.

Azure Web Sites
The Azure Web Sites were only available in the West US data center but have now reached the other data centers as well. I had a problem testing with the US West data center but now I was able to pick a different region and everything was nicely working again. Chances are you are reading this blog post on a WordPress site hosted on a Shared instance on Windows Azure.

Windows Azure Portal Updates
Changes have been made in general to the Windows Azure portal. Pages have been improved for performance and the Microsoft team continues to work on the consistent look and feel of the site. I like it.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Service Availability
If that is not enough, then there is also a major update in the hosted TFS offering. TFS has been in preview for a while and you could get to it by going to http://tfspreview.com . I have been using TFS since the first version (on-premise) and when tfs preview came online I switched over to it. I has been great, no down time, everything I need is there, updates to the system are done in the background and so on.
During the (day 2) keynote Microsoft announced the next release of hosted TFS. It is now available by going to http://tfs.visualstudio.com. The best thing about the announcement is that you can still get access to it for FREE when your team has no more than 5 members. This is a must have. Sorry to say, but then Scott Guthrie asked the audience if there were people using GIT during one of the demo’s there were not many people. I don’t care for it!
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/somasegar/archive/2012/10/31/team-foundation-service-is-released.aspx 
Note: A little warning though, if you were using the tfspreview.com site don’t expect your data to show up on the new site. I am still looking for it but keep in mind… it was a preview!!!

You can read some more in the following posts:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/10/31/here-s-what-s-new-with-windows-azure.aspx

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-delivers-preview-of-its-store-in-the-windows-azure-cloud-7000006702/

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