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Azure services for Windows Server 2012 hit beta

By Stuart J. Johnston, Senior News Writer

Microsoft this week began beta testing a set of cloud features designed to give Windows Server 2012 customers the ability to provide Windows Azure services to users. The additions for Azure, first announced  last spring, will enable hosting providers and on-premises users to offer cloud capabilities similar to Microsoft’s own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, although initial releases are targeted towards hosting partners.

It’s all part of a larger plan that Microsoft has dubbed Cloud OS — an umbrella concept to let customers run cloud applications on Windows Server 2012 on-premises, in third-party hosting centers or in Microsoft’s own data centers.

“As datacenter computing continues to evolve, customers should ultimately have full flexibility to decide where their data center resources are deployed (in their data center, a service provider’s data center, or Microsoft’s data center) and not have to worry about increased management burden or costs,” said Chris Van Wesep, senior product manager, in a post on Monday to Microsoft’s Server & Cloud Blog.

The company first announced the updates to Azure in early June and shipped community technology previews (CTP) of the Windows Server 2012 features at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July. Windows Server 2012 began shipping in early September.

“We’re now moving in the final phase of testing and bug fixes to make sure these technologies will be fully released along with the System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which is scheduled for early 2013,” Van Wesep said.

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