Microsoft keeps building its hybrid cloud with Windows Azure updates

Microsoft(s msft) continues to push out enhancements and updates to its cloud. This week it’s made Windows Azure Backup Services broadly available and announced a couple other updates including a new software development kit (SDK) that should ease debugging of Azure sites.

With the new backup service Windows shops should be able to more easily backup and recover files to/from Azure, building more bridges between on-premises Windows Servers and Azure running in Microsoft’s data centers. Corporate VP Scott Guthrie outlined the service and other updates in a blog post.

Also new: a preview of Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager which aims to help companies replicate and recover data between private clouds running the latest version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager in the event of an outage.

All of these updates are part of Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar push to make Windows Azure a destination cloud for enterprise accounts. The company feels Azure can be the backstop for thousands of shops that run Windows Server, Systems Center et al, in house. Their on-site data center or server rooms plus Azure equal Microsoft’s ideal of hybrid cloud.

But Microsoft faces a huge rival in Amazon(s amzn) Web Services which has enticed many of those same customers to sample its public cloud, which can run Windows workloads. And VMware(s vmw) came online as an enterprise cloud competitor with the release of VMware Hybrid Cloud Services earlier this year.