Azure, other Microsoft sites hit by service disruption

A handful of Microsoft's online services, including, appear to be experiencing a global outage Thursday afternoon.

The outage, which Twitter users began reporting around 3 p.m., also affected and, other online services hosted by Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service. Error messages generated during attempts to visit the sites indicated it might be a DNS issue.

Service Unavailable - DNS failure The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later. Reference #11.83b302cc.1385076207.1118e9

The degree to which sites were affected appears to be varied. Some users … Read more

Microsoft preps unified Windows app store, says sources

Microsoft officials have been cagey about exactly when and whether the company would have a single app store for its Windows and Windows Phone devices.

But it sounds like that scenario is closer than many actually believed.

As Tom Warren reported on The Verge, Microsoft demonstrated a single app store for Windows and Windows Phone during its annual company meeting in Seattle on September 26. I've heard the same from my own sources.

I've heard a few additional details about what was supposedly shown Thursday from my sources.

The new unified store is supposedly going to be part … Read more

Microsoft boosts HomeOS with a new Lab of Things

Microsoft Research is continuing to advance work on its home operating system (HomeOS) project. The latest new component is the addition of a new framework, called the Lab of Things (LOT), which allows researchers to better study connected device usage in homes and other physical spaces.

Microsoft is fielding a first beta of the LOT software development kit (SDK), seemingly in conjunction with the opening day of the annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit event in Redmond. The SDK is available for download from Microsoft's CodePlex site.

Microsoft's HomeOS, as I've blogged before, is what it sounds like: … Read more

Microsoft makes Windows Azure services generally available

Microsoft is continuing to move more of its "preview" versions of its Windows Azure services to "general availability." The latest two to get the GA nod are Azure Mobile Services and Azure Web Sites.

Microsoft used its Day 2 keynote Thursday at the Microsoft Build 2013 developer conference to make the announcements.

Windows Azure Mobile services allow developers building Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android apps to store data in the Azure cloud, authenticate users, and send push notifications. Microsoft announced Azure Mobile Services preview in August 2012 and added Android support a few months ago.… Read more

Microsoft, Oracle join forces to stomp on cloud rivals

Microsoft and Oracle announced a lot of piece parts with their June 24 partnership around Azure and Oracle databases and middleware.

Here's your Cliff Notes version: Oracle apps are now certified to run on Windows Server, Hyper-V, and Windows Azure. Up until today, they were only certified to run on Windows Server. Oracle Linux also gets added to the list of Linux varianst supported in Azure's VMs, too.

Microsoft already has been certifying its own applications on Windows Azure, including its SQL Server database. (Here's a list of which versions of various database, security and other enterprise … Read more

Microsoft working on 'Mohoro' Windows desktop as a service

In yet another example of its growing emphasis on remaking itself as a devices and services company, Microsoft looks to be developing a pay-per-use "Windows desktop as a service" that will run on Windows Azure.

The desktop virtualization service, codenamed Mohoro, that's in very early development phase, from what I've heard from sources. I don't know the final launch target, but wouldn't be surprised if it isn't until the second half of 2014.

Mohoro is a town located on island of Grande Comore in the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean. Given members … Read more

Microsoft's Azure gets competitive with $1B in revenue

While Amazon is still king in the cloud computing world, it appears that Microsoft's Azure software is on the up and up. Not only have Azure subscriptions risen 48 percent over the past six months, but Azure and related Microsoft cloud service software earned $1 billion in revenue over the past year for the first time ever, according to Bloomberg.

Making the "billion-dollar club" is pretty significant -- considering the slumping PC market. Microsoft revealed these new performance details to Bloomberg in an interview on Monday.

Twenty percent of companies use Azure, while 71 percent go to … Read more

Azure, Yammer help shape next-gen Microsoft Office

In a break from the past, Microsoft's Office team has begun working much more closely with other groups, especially the Windows Azure, SQL Server, and Windows Intune teams -- all of which are part of another business unit, Microsoft's Server and Tools Business.

"Before, we had to land in very complementary dates," explained Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of Office Servers and Services. "But now, if Azure has a new feature, we can say we'd like to do work around it." With services, "there's no magic date when a computer has … Read more

Microsoft moves to match Amazon Web Services

Microsoft wants the world to know it is ready to go head-to-head with Amazon Web Services on both features and price.

As expected, Microsoft today announced that its Linux and Windows Server virtual machines (VMs) on Windows Azure are now generally available and ready for deployment. These are the persistent VMs that Microsoft publicly unveiled last June, and which provide users with a way to run existing Linux and Windows Server apps in the Azure cloud without having to completely rewrite them.

Microsoft announced last year that these persistent VMs will allow users to run Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows … Read more

Microsoft acquires cloud-monitoring startup MetricsHub

Microsoft announced today that it had acquired MetricsHub, a cloud monitoring startup that automates cloud performance management.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based company, which was a participant in Microsoft's three-month-long Accelerator program, helps customers interpret application data points to determine how and when to scale their application. Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

Microsoft's program provides 10 startups developing in the cloud with a $20,000 investment, office space, technical training and support, and mentorship from entrepreneurs. At the conclusion of the program, participants have the opportunity to pitch their product to Microsoft executives, investors, and the … Read more