The company made several announcements on Monday relating to Azure’s maturation, including the shift of Azure Active Directory into general availability, the launch (in preview) of a Windows Azure Backup service, and the launch of a management package.
Windows Azure AD is a cloud based Identity Service built to support global scale, reliability and availability for our customers and comes at no cost for the base directory. This cloud based directory makes it easy to:
- Manage employee access to cloud based line-of-business apps, Microsoft cloud services like Office 365, and third party SAAS applications.
- Deliver a Single Sign-On experience for cloud applications eliminating the need for multiple usernames and passwords and limiting helpdesk calls and password resets.
- Revoke access to cloud based business applications when an employee leaves the company or changes jobs.
- Manage federation and access to cloud facing services for partners and customers. Windows Azure AD is an enterprise grade, high availability cloud service run from 14 datacenters spread across the United States, Europe and Asia.
Over the last 90 days, Windows Azure AD has processed over 65 billion authentication requests while maintaining 99.97% or better monthly availability. No other cloud directory offers this level of enterprise reliability or proven scale.
Along with AD going into general availability, the company has also pushed Windows Azure Backup into preview. This service lets administrators use Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager SP1 to configure backup data onto the Azure cloud.
Also, the System Center Management Pack for Windows Azure is now available in public preview form. This pack allows users to monitor availability and performance of the Azure services using their existing System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) environment.