Today at PDC we announced the new Azure Services Platform, Microsoft's cloud computing strategy and product platform.
I can't tell you how hard this team has been working to get this ready for PDC and into developers' hands. Although it's limited in release right now, we're working to get it to the users we can, gather the feedback, and make it even better going forward.
I met with some of these guys a few weeks back and hashed out some of the main questions around Azure, so check out the outcome of this session, below. I'm really focused on this part of the platform (around web development), but I tried to summarize what I thought folks would want to hear about.
If you have questions, please put them in the comment section, and I'm going to try to get the team to respond to them later this week, so stay posted here for more info. Also, there's a whitepaper available on the right sidebar here - for those interested.
Q: What is the Azure Services Platform?
A: The Azure™ Services Platform (Azure) is an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers, which provides an operating system and a set of developer services that can be used individually or together. Azure’s flexible and interoperable platform can be used to build new applications to run from the cloud or enhance existing applications with cloud-based capabilities. Its open architecture gives developers the choice to build web applications, applications running on connected devices, PCs, servers, or hybrid solutions offering the best of online and on-premises.
Q: Is the Azure Services Platform one, single product or several product offerings combined into one?
The Azure Services Platform provides multiple cloud services that can each be used independently or in combination. It is a new cloud computing platform that enables developers to build the next wave of applications spanning the PC, mobile devices and the Web. Powerful new Microsoft tools and technologies available to developers will bring to life rich user experiences across a broad range of both business and consumer scenarios.
Q: What are the different components and services that make up the Azure Services Platform?
- SQL Services for relational data storage and querying
- .NET Services for service-connectivity, workflow, and messaging
- Live Services for application extension of the Windows Live platform
- SharePoint Services which provide extensibility for SharePoint Server
- Dynamics CRM Services which provide extensibility for Dynamics CRM
Q: Who should consider using the Azure Services Platform?
A: The Azure Services Platform is a great solution for anyone who wants to build highly scalable and available cloud-based solutions. Microsoft expects the Azure Service Platform to appeal particularly to:
- Large enterprises and ISVs who need to extend existing on-premises applications to the cloud to increase scalability, reliability, and interoperability while reducing costs and management overhead.
- Web 2.0 developers and small ISVs who want to take advantage of a rich, highly versatile Web-based platform to build scalable, available applications for the web.
- Hobbyists and students who want a platform that provides an easy way to start developing Web-based applications.
Q. Why did you pick the name Azure for your new platform offering?
A. As a word, Azure offers the promise of a better experience. The sky is azure colored – which is open, limitless, etc. – so it supports the concept of vast capacity and flexibility. Azure is a vibrant and dynamic color. It’s uplifting. Azure is also linked to the image of the blue sky and, by extension, ‘the cloud.’ Before making the decision we spoke to broad range of software developers, IT managers consumers around the world to understand their associations with the word “azure” and the response was almost universally positive.
Q: How does virtualization play into the Azure Services Platform story?
Q: Will Microsoft employ standards to ensure portability across multiple clouds?
Q: How does Windows Azure ensure that the environment and services are always available?
Q: How does Windows Azure scale?
Q: What is the Windows Azure Fabric Controller?
Q: What are some of the innovations that Windows Azure is based on?