Microsoft unveiled a major release of Windows Azure on Thursday, June 7 at the “Meet Windows Azure” event. Windows Azure has been out for quite some time, but some in the industry are describing this as Windows Azure 2.0. The amount of new functionality is really impressive and is the culmination of more than a year of work. If you were unable to attend, the full event was recorded which can be seen at

If you do not already have an account to access Windows Azure, you can sign up for a free 90-day preview at

Once you obtain an account or if you already have a Windows Azure account, open up the Management Portal and select “Visit the Preview Portal” from the menu on the bottom of the page. This will allow you to toggle between the preview portal and the current portal while the new features are fully enabled.

I’m still digging through the new features and digesting all the possibilities, but I really like what I see so far.