Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Windows Azure - What is it?

Last week's PDC 2008 at Los Angeles created a lot of buzz around primarily two products from the Microsoft stable

1) Windows Azure - Microsoft's foray into the Cloud computing world
2) Windows 7 - Successor to Vista SP1

Out of which i will take up the first product here as that is in the words of Ray Ozzie going to define the next computing platform for enterprises

I am not going to floss too much about the nitty gritties of the Azure Platform here, that i will spare for another post. Here i attempt to put forward a bird's eye view of what is Azure. Excerpts from the Microsoft site.

Azure is a flexible platform that can be used as a whole or in part. You can run entire applications in the Windows runtime environment or utilize individual services.

Write Applications to Run On Windows Azure

Developers can start by writing applications to Windows Azure™ by using the Microsoft® .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio®. Write web or mobile applications or author web services. In the future there will be support for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft programming languages and development environments.
Once you’re done coding the application, deploy it to the cloud and run it in Windows Azure and make it available via the Internet to your end users. Scale compute capacity up or down based on traffic.

Use Azure Services In Online and On-Premises Applications
Take your cloud application to the next level by adding new functionality using additional Azure services. Use Live Services to reach over 460 million Live users, Microsoft .NET Services for workflow, access control, or service bus functionality, or use the Microsoft SQL Services cloud database. Developers can also write applications and web services that can be consumed by business partners or consumers.
Additionally, Azure services can also be used to augment an existing application that runs on a PC or a server to give on-premises software cloud capabilities. The services use industry standard SOAP, REST and XML protocols so using them won’t be a problem regardless of the operating system or programming language you’re using.

Bring It All Together

The Azure Services Platform is a cloud operating system and collection of services that can deliver web, mobile, or hybrid software-plus-services applications to users. Existing software can utilize the services to add cloud capabilities, and developers can easily write applications for the cloud to be used by end users, or write services that can be consumed within other applications.

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