Microsoft has announced several products for Azure that allow the cloud platform to better tap into the Internet of Things (IoT) and enable improved app deployments.
Microsoft revealed Azure IoT Suite at the company's AzureCon event, saying that the collection of tools that let users build cloud-based services making use of IoT data are now available for purchase.
Microsoft also revealed an Azure Certified for IoT programme to coincide with the general availability of the suite. The initiative forms an ecosystem of partners with services and offerings approved by the software firm for use with IoT projects.
Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Azure team, described Azure IoT Suite as a way to help businesses tap into the potential of the IoT.
"It is purpose built to address common business needs for IoT, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance," he noted.
"When a business is able to connect the assets it already owns and then harness the power of the data these assets are already generating, they realise operational efficiencies, create innovation and can transform their business."
Microsoft is also bolstering the security of the platform with Azure Security Centre, slated for availability at the end of 2015.
The centre is designed to address concerns about security when using cloud services, and integrates with security offerings from the likes of Cisco and Trend Micro to monitor and control security and policy management across infrastructure deployed on Azure.
The service also provides security recommendations drawn from analysis of Azure customer deployments and data from Microsoft's work on global threat intelligence.
Microsoft also announced the Azure Container Service, which taps into Docker and is based on the open-source cluster management of Apache Mesos to allow apps to be deployed more efficiently in the Azure cloud and on virtual machines.
The company said that the service allows organisations using Azure to easily configure and deploy Mesos compute resource clusters within the cloud platform and schedule applications containerised in Docker across multiple virtual machines.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is expanding the availability of Azure into India, claiming that it is the first public cloud provider in the country. Three regions have been opened: Central India in Pune, South India in Chennai and West India in Mumbai.
This takes the global footprint of Azure to 24 regions, which Microsoft claims gives it more range than any other public cloud provider, including arch rival Amazon Web Services.
Rounding off the announcements was news that Azure will use a new family of virtual machines dubbed the N-series, which are powered by GPUs from Nvidia and make use of the chip specialist's Grid 2.0 technology to power compute and graphically intensive workloads.
The new products and services follow Microsoft's announcement of the Azure Data Lake toolset designed to expand how big data is managed and analysed in the cloud.
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