Windows Azure Connect CTP is now open to everyone. In the past, you needed to request CTP access and be approved before you could use Connect.
"Starting today, no approval is needed. You can use Windows Azure Connect as long as you have a Windows Azure subscription," announced Windows Azure Connect team.
"With Windows Azure Connect, you can use a simple user interface to configure IPsec protected connections between computers or virtual machines (VMs) in your organization's network, and roles running in Windows Azure. After you configure these connections, role instances in Windows Azure use IP addressing like that of your other networked resources, rather than having to use some form of external virtual IP addressing," the software company stated.
Windows Azure Connect makes it easier to do tasks such as the following:
- You can configure and use a distributed application that uses roles in Windows Azure (for example, a Web role) together with servers in your organization's network (for example, a SQL Server and associated network infrastructure). The distributed application could be one that you are reworking to include not only resources in your network, but also one or more Windows Azure roles, such as a Web role.
Many combinations are possible between Windows Azure roles (Web roles, Worker roles, or VM roles) and your networked resources (including servers or VMs for file, print, email, database access, Web communication, collaboration, and so on). Your networked resources can also include legacy systems that are supported by your distributed application.
- You can join Windows Azure role instances to your domain, so that you can use your existing methods for domain authentication, name resolution, or other domain-wide maintenance actions. For diagrams that help describe this configuration, first see the basic diagram in Elements of a configuration in Windows Azure Connect, later in this topic, and then see Overview of Windows Azure Connect When Roles Are Joined to a Domain.
- You can remotely administer and debug Windows Azure role instances.
- You can easily manage Windows Azure role instances using existing management tools in your network, for example, remote Windows PowerShell or another management interface.
To start using it, go to the Windows Azure Connect portal.