Microsoft Launches Windows Azure

October 28th, 2008 at 12:00 am

windows azure cloud-computing

Microsoft is in the news today.  For one thing they are hosting the PDC2008 (Professional Developers Conference) in Los Angeles.  For another thing, Microsoft is rolling out new products after each other starting off with their new Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-based service foundation.  In other words, Microsoft is going up against Amazon Web Services, Google AppEngine and more recently, Rackspace.

Of course this comes as no surprise.  Microsoft has always been trying to make its presence felt on the internet.  However, it seems that Microsoft does not know exactly how to innovate and ends up simply launching services that already exist.  Good thing for Microsoft is that they control the widest distribution of operating systems and can assert their product in every new PC.

Windows Azure promises a lot of features.   Unlike many of today’s service-based solutions, the Azure Services Platform provides developers with the flexibility and ability to create applications while taking advantage of their existing skills, tools and technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio.

Developers also can choose from a broad range of commercial or open source development tools and technologies, and access the Azure Services Platform using a variety of common Internet standards including HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).

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 [Microsoft]

Anyway, Windows Azure definitely will have to prove itself a viable alternative to Amazon Web Services which is currently the leader in the cloud-based services market.  Amazon’s success is based on two things which Azure should take into consideration: incredibly cheap prices and ridiculous ease-of-use. [TechDirt]