This new feature offers new possibilities for BizTalk developers as they can have a Virtual Machine up in the cloud to use for development or testing purposes. Now it would not suprise me that a BizTalk administrator in the near future will setup and manage these virtual machines in Azure. Creating a VM in Azure is pretty straight forward and something I have described in BizTalk IaaS solution: Provisioning Developer Environment. This will not be the only job an administrator can do. He/she will also create images of Virtual Machines, scale Virtual Machines (changing from medium to larger instance), monitor usage of resources through the portal, taking Virtual Machines offline (deleting them to reduce cost, stopping machines does not imply incurring no cost). If you like to learn more I suggest to go through manage overview of Windows Azure site.
If you have an account with Windows Azure you can try creating a VM or some other tasks by following the how to guides. These are easy to follow and give a sense on how the tasks should be performed. This way as administrator you can get some hands on experience of possible future asministrative tasks you may may need to perform. In case you do not have an account with Windows Azure you can sign up for a free trail at Windows Azure site. Other resources on this topic I would recommend to read are:
- Can you use BizTalk in Azure Virtual machine for production use?
- BizTalk 2010 Environment in Windows Azure Virtual Machine (IaaS)
- Meet Windows Azure
Update 14-06-2012, there are some more resource for Virtual Machine:
- Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks (TechEd 2012 NA)
- Windows Azure Virtual Machines (Saravana Kumar made me aware of this great blog post)
- Steef-Jan Wiggers