Microsoft unveils key new features for Azure as it prepares to launch Australian data centres next week

Andrew Sadauskas /

Microsoft has unveiled a number of major new features for its Azure cloud services at a conference in San Francisco, while also confirming in a keynote the company is launching datacentres for the service in Australia next week.

During the keynote Microsoft revealed 19 regions will get local datacentres by the end of 2014, including two in Australia, which is twice the number offered by Amazon AWS and six times the number offered by the Google Cloud.

The tech giant revealed 20% of the virtual machines running Azure are used to host Linux, while 40% of revenues come from independent software vendors (ISVs) and startups.

A key new feature is an online marketplace, called Azure Marketplace, where ISVs and startups can sell their cloud-based services or data to other Azure users, while enterprise customers can deploy new services and operating systems with a single click.

A second is its new G-series of virtual machines, which the company says is the most powerful offered in a public cloud service to date, along with a new high-performance premium storage service.

Meanwhile, for businesses running their own datacentres, the company unveiled the Microsoft Cloud Platform System, based on pre-integrated hardware from Dell, that allows them to host their own Azure-consistent hybrid cloud services.

Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.