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Microsoft Updates Azure Provisioning Tool

To help IT pros automate the provisioning and management of services deployed to the recently released Windows Azure cloud offering, Microsoft released a new version of its Windows Azure Service Management (WASM) Cmdlets for PowerShell last week. The tool is available for download on Microsoft's MSDN site.

The tool lets IT pros who script in PowerShell add new Azure management functions, such as deploying, upgrading and removing hosted services, and managing storage accounts and certificates.

"Many people have been asking for this toolset for quite a while," said Jeffery Hicks, a Windows PowerShell expert and Redmond magazine contributor. "Amazon's S3 service has had third-party PowerShell support for a while and Microsoft's offering eliminates one more adoption hurdle."

Ryan Dunn, a Microsoft developer and platform evangelist, said in a blog post last week that IT pros were looking for an "automation API that would fit into the standard toolset for IT pros. Given the adoption and penetration of PowerShell, we determined that cmdlets focused on this core audience would be the most effective way forward."

Furthermore, he noted that "since PowerShell is a full scripting language with complete access to .NET, this allows these cmdlets to be used as the basis for very complicated deployment and automation scripts as part of the application lifecycle."

Each call to the Services Management API requires an X.509 certificate and subscription ID, Dunn noted. Those provisioning apps must upload a valid certificate and have it installed on a local PC. Microsoft posted a Channel 9 video that describes the procedure.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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