Windows Azure, a new cloud computing service, will be launched at the same time as Windows 7. Build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. You choose what’s right for you. Windows Azure will allow data and applications to exist online in the ‘Cloud’, rather than locally on a PC.
Moving Microsoft’s cash cows, Windows and Office, onto the internet is a big move for Microsoft and will allow it to enter an arena already occupied by companies like Google. By tying it to the launch of Windows 7, Microsoft clearly intend to use Windows 7 to try and entice customers to use Microsoft’s other products and services, rather than those of their customers.
One of the touted benefits of Azure is zero downtime for applications, as applications can be patched without shutting down other running applications. I hope this will lead to new functionality being added to Windows applications more frequently, rather than the current 2 year product cycle. It will also do away with the need to constantly run Windows Update and reboot local machines, as more updates will be done automatically.
The Azure Services Platform is an internet-scale cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers. The Azure Services Platform provides a range of functionality to build applications that span from consumer web to enterprise scenarios and includes a cloud operating system and a set of developer services. Fully interoperable through the support of industry standards and web protocols such as REST and SOAP, you can use the Azure services individually or together, either to build new applications or to extend existing ones.
Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:
- Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking
- Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting
- Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control
- Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites
- Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud.
Official Site: http://www.microsoft.com/azure/default.mspx
Windows Azure at PDC: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/oct08/10-27PDCDay1PR.mspx