As a further sign of its efforts to open up its platforms and support customers with mixed shops, Microsoft today updated Azure Site Recovery to allow it to be used with VMware virtual machines (VMs) and physical servers using Azure in addition to the Hyper-V VMs it already supports. The update is currently in tech preview.
"We're listening to our customers and partners who are telling us to make sure that they can think of Azure as a platform for all of their applications and data," says Mike Schutz, general manager of Cloud Platform Marketing at Microsoft. "It's absolutely part of a broader strategy for us to offer an open and flexible infrastructure for customers to enable them to have Azure run all of their applications."
Azure Site Recovery is a disaster recovery service that provides near-zero recovery point objective (RPO) with continuous data-protection technology.
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While the current update adds support for VMware VMs and physical servers, Schutz didn't rule out further extensions.
"We'll continue to listen to our customers and based on their need for us to support other platforms, we'll obviously do that," he says.
Also on Thursday, Microsoft announced the general availability of new features of Azure Backup, which allows you to protect files and folders with multiple copies in multiple geographies. It offers integration with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), allowing you to protect SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, Windows client and Hyper-V VM applications. It can also perform online backups of Windows and Linux infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) VMs.
Together, Microsoft says, Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup enable Availability on Demand, allowing on-premise assets to extend into Azure for disaster recovery, analytics, backup, cloud bursting, migration and development and testing.
"We believe that the hybrid cloud model of using both public and private cloud is a model that is here to stay for a long time," Schutz says. "For us it's very, very central to our overall strategy and approach because we feel it's very important to our customers. We provide a set of hybrid cloud services that can help provide the connective tissue between the private cloud and public cloud, with the goal of making the public cloud feel like a seamless extension of our customers' private infrastructure."
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Microsoft also released Azure API Management Premium to general availability on Thursday. The service provides Geo-distribution to host an API in multiple Azure data centers. Configuration is automatically synchronized. The premium tier pricing will go into effect on May 1.
Azure Active Directory also received an update Thursday with new capabilities to protect and enhance access to cloud resources. Among the new capabilities are:
- Rollover of passwords. With Azure AD, an administrator can hold the real password of a group's shared application accounts, while group users have access with their work credentials. This is an important security measure for managing access to things like company-owned social media accounts.
- Set rules on any group. Administrators can now set rules on any group in Azure AD based on user attributes like "department" or "country." These groups can be used to provide access to applications or cloud resources or to assign licenses to users.
- Multifactor authentication per application. New Conditional Access policies let you create access rules for any Azure AD connected application based on user location and group membership. For more sensitive apps, you can now assign stricter policies, like requiring multi-factor authentication when outside the corporate network.