Microsoft today announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering hosted on Windows Azure, which it already announced in 2010. Up until now Microsoft only offered Platform as a Service on Windows Azure. Between 2010 and today Microsoft has been building the IaaS offering extending it with additional functionality. Microsoft also added support for Windows Azure to its on-premise System Center Suite of products.
Windows Azure Infrastructure Services offers both Windows Server and Linux Virtual Machines plus Azure Virtual Network. Supported VMs available in the Windows Azure Virtual Machine Gallery are: Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 and the following Linux flavors: OpenSUSE 12.1, CentOS 6.2, Ubuntu 12.04 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2. Also included in the release are the Big Compute VMs which Microsoft announced in November last year.
Azure Virtual Network allows customers to extend the internal corporate network to Azure using a site-to-site IPSec VPN which used to be known as project Brooklyn as covered by ZDNet in September last year. Windows Azure connect (codename Sydney) which allows for linking one or more VMs in Windows Azure with a group of on-premise machines isn’t released yet as Mary Jo Foley reports.
With the announcement Microsoft also announced a 21-33% price reduction going into direct competition with Amazon.