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Windows Azure Drive achieves beta status

Microsoft Windows Azure Drive is now available for companies to use a trial version, allowing existing application to run in a private cloud.

Windows Azure Drive achieves beta status
Redmond-based Microsoft has launched a new service which allows companies to run existing applications in its cloud.

Microsoft has announced that its Azure drive online service has now reached beta status, with trial versions available for download. It allows companies to run existing applications in the Microsoft cloud, allowing them to save on expensive infrastructure costs.

The system uses existing NTFS APIs to allow firms to store data in a cloud-based virtual drive, known as a Windows Azure Page Blob. One of the advantages of this method, according to the firm is that if the application using the Page Blob crashes, the data contained within remains safe and can be remounted afterwards.

"For the beta release of Windows Azure drive, customers will be billed only for the storage space used by the Page Blob and the read/write transactions to the Page Blob. This will be incorporated into the standard Windows Azure usage rates and there will not be a separate line item on the bill," said the company in a statement on its blog launching the service.

The announcement marks one of the first forays by the Redmond-based firm into the world of cloud computing, which moves business to a rental model for IT infrastructure and charges vendors with providing an agreed, legally-enforceable level of service.

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