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Microsoft evolves the cloud experience for customers

Company releases first-of-its-kind cloud portal, new services and tools to radically simplify cloud development.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Thursday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp. announced a first-of-its-kind cloud experience that brings together cross-platform technologies, services and tools, enabling developers and businesses to innovate at startup speed via a new Microsoft Azure Preview Portal. In addition, the company announced several new milestones in Visual Studio Online and .NET that give developers access to the most complete platform and tools for building in the cloud. Thursday's announcements are part of Microsoft's broader vision to erase the boundaries of cloud development and operational management for customers.

Microsoft company logo.

"Developing for a mobile-first, cloud-first world is complicated, and Microsoft is working to simplify this world without sacrificing speed, choice, cost or quality," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president at Microsoft. "Imagine a world where infrastructure and platform services blend together in one seamless experience, so developers and IT professionals no longer have to work in disparate environments in the cloud. Microsoft has been rapidly innovating to solve this problem, and we have taken a big step toward that vision today."

One simplified cloud experience

The new Microsoft Azure Preview Portal provides a fully integrated experience that will enable customers to develop and manage an application in one place, using the platform and tools of their choice. The new portal combines all the components of a cloud application into a single development and management experience. New components include the following:

  • Simplified Resource Management. Rather than managing standalone resources such as Microsoft Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio Projects or databases, customers can now create, manage and analyze their entire application as a single resource group in a unified, customized experience, greatly reducing complexity while enabling scale. Today, the new Azure Manager is also being released through the latest Azure SDK for customers to automate their deployment and management from any client or device.
  • Integrated billing. A new integrated billing experience enables developers and IT pros to take control of their costs and optimize their resources for maximum business advantage.
  • Gallery. A rich gallery of application and services from Microsoft and the open source community, this integrated marketplace of free and paid services enables customers to leverage the ecosystem to be more agile and productive.
  • Visual Studio Online. Microsoft announced key enhancements through the Microsoft Azure Preview Portal, available Thursday. This includes Team Projects supporting greater agility for application lifecycle management and the lightweight editor code-named "Monaco" for modifying and committing Web project code changes without leaving Azure. Also included is Application Insights, an analytics solution that collects telemetry data such as availability, performance and usage information to track an application's health. Visual Studio integration enables developers to surface this data from new applications with a single click.

Visual Studio Online general availability

Thursday also marks Visual Studio Online's release to general availability, which reflects the investments Microsoft has made in the reliability, scalability and performance of the service. Visual Studio Online is also now backed by a 99.9 percent availability SLA for account services and functionality, demonstrating Microsoft's commitment to enterprise-grade reliability.

Building an open cloud ecosystem

Showcasing Microsoft's commitment to choice and flexibility, the company announced new open source partnerships with Chef and Puppet Labs to run configuration management technologies in Azure Virtual Machines. Using these community-driven technologies, customers will now be able to more easily deploy and configure in the cloud. In addition, today Microsoft announced the release of Java Applications to Microsoft Azure Web Sites, giving Microsoft even broader support for Web applications.

.NET innovation

Microsoft also shared a number of new innovations for .NET developers:

  • Preview of .NET Compiler Platform (previously code-named "Roslyn"). This opens up the C# and Visual Basic compilers as APIs that allow developers to share in the wealth of information the compilers store about code. This is also available as open source, enabling new scenarios for .NET and Visual Studio developers.
  • .NET Foundation. Guthrie was joined onstage by Miguel de Icaza of Xamarin to announce the .NET Foundation, an independent organization created to foster open development and collaboration around the growing collection of open source technologies for .NET. It will serve as a forum for commercial and community developers alike to strengthen the future of the .NET ecosystem by promoting openness, community participation and rapid innovation.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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