News Column

Microsoft Server Unit Shows Off Full Plate of Results

June 28, 2013

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently has been trumpeting Microsoft's new mantra of the rapid-release cycle.

Apparently, its Server and Tools business has been following that philosophy for a while.

On Day 2 of Build, Microsoft's annual conference for third-party developers, the folks in Server and Tools -- the division that handles cloud platforms and infrastructure, servers and development tools -- announced a raft of accomplishments and upcoming previews and releases.

First up: Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform for developers, which launched in 2010. In April, it passed the billion-dollar sales mark for Azure software and related software programs.

Half of all Fortune 500 companies are using Windows Azure, the division's president, Satya Nadella, said during Thursday morning's keynote address.

Plus, he said, Windows Azure has had more than 100 major service releases since its last build.

"We have some of the fastest cadence," he said.

He and his team added several more to the list of releases Thursday.

Among them:

--The general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, in preview since the last Build conference. This tool allows developers to create websites that scale more easily.

--The general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services, which enables developers building Windows, Windows Phone, iOS or Android apps to store data in the cloud, authenticate users and send push notifications. More than 20,000 applications have been built using this platform since it debuted in preview form.

--Previews of auto-scaling capabilities built directly into Azure; Windows Azure Active Directory, which allows organizations to enable a single sign-on to access its cloud apps; Windows Azure BizTalk, which allows developers to integrate apps more easily; and Visual Studio 2013 plus .NET 4.5.1.

In addition, Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's head of outreach to developers, announced the preview availability of Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry. Windows Embedded is a set of operating systems for use in embedded device for systems used by industries such as health care, manufacturing or retail.

Guggenheimer also announced a partnership with game-development platform company Unity Technologies to make it easier for developers to bring games and apps to Microsoft's devices.



Source: (c)2013 The Seattle Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.