Microsoft unveils several new Azure features

5 November 2013

It seems as if Microsoft just can't keep its hands off Azure. In the last several months, the software company has been launching new tools and features for the cloud-centric program on a regular basis. 

Because Azure is a great tool for hosting SQL Server databases in the cloud and is easy to integrate with other Microsoft products such as SharePoint, more IT professionals have started to invest in Microsoft training. With the company's most recent announcements, that educational trend should only pick up steam. 

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft now allows Azure users to access an Import/Export service that enables developers to exchange data from Azure via hard drives or even physical shipping of hard drives.

Although other companies that have similar cloud systems offer these services, Microsoft rates are more affordable. While both Google and Amazon offer such data shipping for about $80, Microsoft allows Azure users to ship hard drives to its data centers for a $40 flat fee.

Before a drive can be shipped, it needs to be encrypted using the Microsoft BitLocker Drive Encryption software, TechCrunch reported. Also, a single shipment can include as many as 10 different hard drives.

Apart from the Import/Export, the source reported that the latest Azure update comes with a virtual machine gallery that simplifies the creation of VMs in cloud environments. Other new features include an enhanced search engine, VM filtering and the inclusion of analytics and performance tools from New Relic.

With this software release, Microsoft continues to improve upon its already useful cloud platform. For this reason, enterprise IT leaders may be more likely to adopt Azure if they haven't already. 

Future updates in the works
Recent steps taken by Microsoft show that the company is attempting to make all of its products compatible with Azure. It's part of the organization's larger goal of creating a truly unified enterprise suite of products that allow users to access the same files and data with a variety of software options. 

However, Microsoft is planning to further integrate its products in the coming months. ZDNet reported that Microsoft Dynamics AX – a resource and supply chain planning tool – will be able to be hosted on Azure by April 2014. 

With so many of the company's products becoming cloud accessible, IT professionals in any industry can benefit from Microsoft certification courses for Azure. By participating in online classes, tech workers can learn from remote locations, allowing them to access lessons from their home after work and on the weekends. 


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