Microsoft has been throwing around the word "Preview" for most of their interim, not-ready-for-prime-time releases recently. It's not new, of course, but it's definitely the first time that we've been inundated this much in so little a time frame. It is completely due to Microsoft's new rapid release schedule where they develop new product features like a runaway freight train, and release a mass of new updates all at once.
Just take a look at all the new releases to see what I mean: Preview Releases on Windows IT Pro
As we've noted here at Windows IT Pro, each Preview release contains features that speak to Microsoft's Cloud roadmap. If you've taken time to consider each of the TechEd and WPC announcements, you'll realize that there's a single, common thread throughout Microsoft's release proposals for this Fall. That single, common thread is Windows Azure.
There's been a lot of talk about Windows Azure, the coming enhancements, and how the Fall releases will integrate further with Microsoft's Cloud OS, but there's been very little in the way of Preview Releases communicated for Windows Azure itself. As part of an announcement at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft made mention of some upcoming Windows Azure improvements and products and then included links to enjoy the Preview Releases. I was not aware of the Windows Azure Preview Releases page before, despite being plugged-in so deeply during the last few months of Microsoft conferences.
The Windows Azure Preview Features page has a list of pieces that can be tested right now, including BizTalk, Azure HDInsight (Hadoop clone), on-premise to Cloud Backup solution, Hyper-V disaster recovery (mirroring on-premise in Windows Azure), Cloud health, and single sign-on capability. Who knew?
Anyway, here's the link if you want to read more about the Windows Azure Preview releases, or even try them out yourself: