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Windows Server gets access to new Azure services

Weather.com may only be able to give an accurate forecast for the next 10 days, but Microsoft has already given IT pros a hint of what to expect this fall: Clouds. Lots of clouds.

When Windows Server 2012 releases in September, it will come with tighter ties to the company’s Windows Azure cloud platform. During Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference this week in Toronto, the company announced that Windows Azure Web Sites and Virtual Machines – new features revealed last month – will be extended to Windows Server. The services, now available in a Community Technology Preview version, can be administered via a self-service portal that provides the same experience regardless of whether it is accessed on-premises or via the cloud.

To run the CTP, users will need to have at least four virtual machines running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as System Center 2012 SP1.

In other Windows Server cloud news, Rackspace, the hosting provider recently named the 2012 Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year, announced that it would offer Server 2012 as a dedicated hosted server and as part of its Cloud Sites PaaS package.

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