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Windows Azure Adds Android Support, Azure Store Expands in 22 New Countries

Microsoft has bought MetricsHub, a Seattle-based startup focused on automating cloud performance management.

“MetricsHub’s technology, now available as a pre-release, no charge, version for Windows Azure customers provides Microsoft customers with a new way to get even more out of their cloud solutions, saving both time and money,” Microsoft stated.

In addition, a number of new features in Windows Azure including Android Support, SQL Reporting Services, Active Directory, and more with expanded Windows Azure Store support in 22 new countries announced.

First up, Azure Store is now available in 33 countries. Here is the list of enhancements released to Windows Azure:

  • “Mobile Services: Android support, East Asia Region Support, iOS dev content. Android developers can use Windows Azure Mobile Services to:
    • Accelerate mobile app development. Store data in the cloud, authenticate users, and send push notifications in minutes.
    • Add a scalable and secure backend to an Android application.
    • Spend the time you save on configuring infrastructure to build an experience users will love.
  • SQL Reporting Services: Support in the management portal
  • Active Directory: Support in the azure management portal, user and domain management
  • Availability Monitoring for Cloud Services. Virtual Machines, Web Sites, and Mobile Services
  • Service Bus: New configuration tab and metrics
  • Storage: Ability to download blobs directly in management portal
  • Media Services: New monitoring metrics and quickstart experience
  • Cloud Services: Support for .cer certificate files upload
  • Localization support for five new languages
  • Windows Azure Store Support in 22 Additional Countries,” informs Microsoft.

Windows Azure Mobile Services: Android, East Asia Region, iOS Content

Additionally, improvements to the identity and access management capabilities in Windows Azure is also made available.

Starting today, “if you already have Windows Azure Active Directory (AD) tenant or if you are a new customer and create an Azure subscriptions using an Windows Azure AD tenant, you can access the following three new features to more securely and efficiently manage access to Azure,” Microsoft wrote.

  • “Manage users and their access rights in the Windows Azure Portal
  • Try out a preview of our new phone based two factor authentication for users who are Global Administrators in Windows Azure AD
  • Manage the synchronization and federation between your Windows Azure Active
  • Directory and your Windows Server Active Directory from within the Windows Azure Portal,” Microsoft informs.

Watch the video below demonstrating the new capabilities –“Windows Azure Active Directory: Control Access to Windows Azure”:

In this video, Chris Risner talks Android support for Windows Azure Mobile Services:

…and here is a quick tour of the Mobile Services HTTP API that demonstrates how Mobile Services’ simplicity is more than just one layer deep. In the video you will find out how to:

  • Create your own client for Mobile Services
  • Consume a Mobile Services from another backend server using the Master key
  • Create ‘virtual tables’ that short-circuit the database altogether
  • Understand how the Mobile Services HTTP API works, including authentication
  • Learn more about the application key

Update 03/16: Microsoft just announced of Windows Azure root SSL certificate migration that will require a small number of customers to take action before April 15th, 2013.

In a blog entry, Microsoft said that Windows Azure currently uses the GTE CyberTrust Global Root and beginning on April 15th, 2013 will migrate to the Baltimore CyberTrust Root.

“The new root certificate uses a stronger key length and hashing algorithm which ensures we remain consistent with industry-wide security best practices. If your application does not accept certificates chained to both the GTE CyberTrust Global Root and the Baltimore CyberTrust Root, please take action prior to April 15th, 2013 to avoid certificate validation errors. While we seek to minimize the need for customers to take specific action based on changes we make to the Windows Azure platform, we believe this is an important security improvement,” the Azure team explained.

The Baltimore CyberTrust Root can be downloaded here.

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