In Scott Guthrie's obscure blog, he announced that Windows Azure has received one major new feature and some enhancements to existing features. One of the updates, Dedicated Cache Service, competes directly with Amazon's recent ElastiCache beta release, and does it much cheaper.

The new offerings are currently only being presented in Preview mode in the Windows Azure Management Portal. Funny enough, Microsoft seems to be stuck on the word "Preview" for many of their beta releases these days. Many recent pre-release products have bore this term. Amazon, on the other hand, still utilizes the word "beta" as does much of the technology world.

The new features for Windows Azure are:

  • Dedicated Cache Service (NEW): Announcing the preview of our new distributed, dedicated, high performance cache service
  • AutoScale (ENHANCED): Improved graph now shows the sum of CPU usage across all of instances and it will also now show the exact Schedule that was used to scale the service, including the settings that were in effect during that specific scale action.
  • Web Sites (ENHANCED): Configure Windows Azure Web Sites to write HTTP logs directly to a Windows Azure Storage Account.
  • Operation Logs (ENHANCED): Now supports filtering based on several additional fields: STATUS, TYPE and SERVICE NAME.

Scott goes into great detail about the enhancements and in particular the Preview release of the Dedicated Cache Service. You can read through all the bits here:  Windows Azure: New Distributed, Dedicated, High Performance Cache Service + More Cool Improvements

Actually, even though Scott's blog is pretty obscure and well away from the normal Microsoft blogs URL naming schemes, this is becoming the de facto location to learn about new Windows Azure feature releases. So, it might make sense to follow Scott's posts through the web site or through RSS.