Microsoft Decks up Azure for Government with a Host of New Features

By CIOReview | Friday, March 13, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: After listening to the customer feedback on features and services of Microsoft Azure for Government, announced in December last year, Azure fills the gaps with new features and enhancements. The top most demands mentioned by customers included scalability, secure networks; ability to capitalize on enterprise applications like SQL, SharePoint, Oracle and Java; better management of storage and streaming of video via Azure Media Services.

The key features described on the Azure website by Sam Chan, Program Manager, Azure Engineering include:

On Demand Encoding: Azure Media Encoder supports a wide variety of studio-grade input and output file formats and is charged based on output gigabytes.

Content Indexing: Allows media files to be accessible and discoverable with speech recognition, transcription, and indexing services.

Content Protection: Industry leading content protection with PlayReady DRM and AES Encryption.

Live Streaming And On Demand Playback: Microsoft Azure Media Services includes all the tools and services needed to handle media processing, delivery, and consumption.

Premium Encoding: Provides decision making logic, new formats and codecs, support for Closed Captioning and many other great features. You can learn more about Premium Encoding.

Another addition, Regional Virtual Networks (VNets) support, enables organizations to configure their Azure-backed VNets for an entire region. These were earlier restricted to a single scale unit within the data center’s area. But clients can now reserve IPs/IP blocks as well as allocate public IPs to virtual machines (VM), along with internal load balancing and support for several virtual network interfaces on a single VM. With these additions to the solution, Microsoft plans to assist government agencies and departments transition their Oracle workloads to the cloud.

Azure Traffic Manager, yet another feature that customers can leverage has three load balancing options—Failover, Performance or Round Robin. These three options has been created boost the deployment of web applications and services in Azure Government. Then there is Azure Service Bus that facilitates enhanced communications between applications as well as services and Azure Files service, for enabling virtual machines to mount a shared file system with the SMB [Server Message Block] protocol.

Chan also mentions in the statement“The Azure Files preview in Azure Government is provided at no additional charge and is non-SLA backed while in preview.”