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Appeared on: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Microsoft Focuses On Cloud With Visual Studio 11, Windows Azure And Windows Server 8

Speaking today at Microsoft's BUILD conference, Server and Tools Business President Satya Nadella outlined a changing world of application development, discussing new application patterns across connected devices.

Nadella announced advancements in several Microsoft technologies, including developer previews of Visual Studio 11, Team Foundation Service (TFS) delivered on the Windows Azure platform and code-named "Windows Server 8," as well as new capabilities on the Windows Azure platform.

"In today's world of connected devices and continuous services, we are focused on helping developers build the next generation of client applications that are tethered to a back-end cloud," Nadella said.

Building on yesterday's keynote demonstrations. of Metro style applications for "Windows 8," Microsoft delivered a Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview. The product provides an integrated development experience spanning architecture, code, test and deployment. This release adds support for Windows 8 Metro style applications built with HTML 5, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic and C++, as well as numerous productivity enhancements for project compatibility, extension management, game development, code analysis, code review and agile testing. The Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview is available today for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers and available to the public on Friday.

In addition, Microsoft showcased a number of enhancements to its developer tools and technologies, including the following:

- A preview of TFS running on the Windows Azure platform, which provides a collaborative Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) environment delivered as a Microsoft-hosted Windows Azure cloud service, making it easier to deploy, scale, operate and access collaborative development projects.

- A Microsoft .NET 4.5 Developer Preview, which has focused on top developer requests across key technologies and includes new features for asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic, support for state machines in Windows Workflow, and increased investments in HTML5 and CSS3 in ASP.NET.

- ASP.NET MVC 4 Preview, which provides new Web tooling capabilities for developers to better manage Web application rendering, and its impacts on business application logic, in different browsers.

Microsoft also released a developer preview of the next version of its server operating system, Windows Server 8. Windows Server 8 applies Microsoft?s experience building and operating the Windows Azure public cloud to provide a cloud-optimized operating system focused on delivery of applications, interoperability within today?s diverse IT environments, high-performance virtualization and strong links to public clouds.

Windows Server 8 provides multi-tenant infrastructure for cloud services with enhancements to help reduce the costs of high availability and to automate service management. As an open application and Web platform that shares common management, identity and development tools with Windows Azure, Windows Server 8 empowers developers and IT professionals to deliver services across their choice of private and public cloud environments, or a combination of both.

Microsoft has focused on manageability and serviceability of cloud infrastructure without service down time. For example, patching and updating servers is a costly and error prone process. Microsoft is delivering new technologies, such as "cluster aware updating," and the ability to script workflows with Powershell to make it an easier and repeatable process to patch multiple servers while maintaining continuous service availability.

Continuous availability of services typically requires expensive hardware infrastructure, but not every IT organization can afford the necessary hardware. So, with Windows Server 8 Microsoft is delivering high availability and disaster recovery at a much better price point, using software technologies and commodity networking, storage and servers. For example, Microsoft is giving customers access to high-end storage capabilities that before required specialized hardware, such as device pooling, disk virtualization, and thin provisioning, in Windows Server 8.

The Windows Server 8 Developer Preview is available to MSDN subscribers.

A cornerstone to building next-generation applications is Microsoft?s Windows Azure platform. At BUILD, Microsoft showcased new capabilities of the Windows Azure platform, including the following:

- Windows Azure Georeplication. Now available, this enhancement replicates Windows Azure Blobs and Tables between two datacenters hundreds of miles apart from each other on the same continent, at no additional cost, to provide additional data durability in the case of a major disaster.

- Windows Azure Marketplace expansion. Available in 25 new countries in early October, the Windows Azure Marketplace offers developers a market for datasets and finished applications.

- Microsoft Translator API. Available today on the Windows Azure Marketplace, the Microsoft Translator API provides machine language translations to developers looking to customize their applications to satisfy the language needs of a global audience.

- Windows Azure SDK version 1.5. Advancements to the Windows Azure SDK include better capabilities for developers to build Windows Azure applications, including improved emulator performance, service certificate support, package and configuration management and remote desktop encryption.

- Windows Azure Service Bus September Release. Enhancements to the Service Bus improve pub/sub messaging, enable asynchronous eventing to better link applications to occasionally connected devices such as phones and kiosks, and provide improved support for loosely coupled application architectures and advanced intra-app messaging.

- Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8: Currently available for Windows Phone, Android and iOS, Microsoft is extending its toolkits for cloud applications to Windows 8. The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 provides developers with code samples, documentation and components for building Metro style applications that use Windows Azure for connectivity and notifications.

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