Microsoft launches UK’s most powerful cloud services

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M-Series virtual machines in Azure can handle large workloads involving a lot of data

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft has launched the UK’s most powerful cloud services.

The M-Series virtual machines (VMs) in Azure can handle large workloads involving a lot of data.

VMs are being used by train company Trenitalia to analyse information in real-time, the city of Cape Town, South Africa, to run an emergency policing solution and fleet management firm ARI to let customers report on every detail of its operation.

Data can also be transferred between VMs making it easier for companies to back up files or replicate databases.

In December, Microsoft expanded its partnership with enterprise software company SAP to help firms such as Coca-Cola, Columbia Sportswear and Costco move to the cloud.

Microsoft has launched Dv3 VMs in UK data centres which can perform more efficiently.

“By unlocking more power from the underlying hardware, we are able to harness better performance and efficiency, resulting in cost savings that we are passing on to our customers,” said Jon Beck, principle programme manager at Microsoft.

The Dv3 VMs use ‘hyper-threading technology’ on Intel processors which allows users to run several processes at once.

Microsoft has also launched B-series VMs, a new range that allows customers to control how much Azure computer power they use.

Some companies only require a small amount of cloud computing power but may see occasional increases in demand that require more central processing units (CPU). The B-series allows users to build up Azure credits as they pay for low-level usage of Microsoft’s cloud service which can then be exchanged for more computing power.

“These VM sizes allow you to pay and burst as needed, using only a fraction of the CPU when you don’t need it and burst up to 100% of the CPU when you do need it,” said Corey Sanders, director of compute at Azure.

Microsoft has also revealed that Notification Hubs will be available in its UK data centres allowing users send push notifications to their customers regardless of which platform they are using.

“Microsoft Azure gives us a fast, easy development environment,” said Adam Wyss, senior software engineer at NBC News. “Turnaround through Windows Azure is faster than we could achieve inside our existing infrastructure. That’s more cost effective, of course, but the even greater benefit is faster time-to-market. None of our competitors are standing still, and our ability to shave months off time-to-market is an important competitive advantage.

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