Updated: 12:30 PM 10.27.08
At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Microsoft unveiled their entrance into Cloud Computing with the launch of the Azure Services Platform. Billed as "an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers," Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud.
Azure is designed to allow Microsoft developers "to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud using their existing skills with Microsoft Visual Studio development environments and the .NET Framework." More information on the Azure Services Platform can be seen here.
Obviously with the information just being released hours ago, there is plenty of speculation around the features and functionality of this new Cloud. So I thought that I would quickly put down my thoughts as to how this plays in the current Cloud offerings as they exist. First, let’s take a look at the Cloud Pyramid:
Some quick notes:
- From the naming (Cloud Service Platform), Azure is clearly positioned as a "Platform" play here.
- This is the Ray Ozzie’s "Red Dog" project…probably why some of the presenters were wearing red shoes (?)
- Cloud Platforms, traditionally, offer development environments, using technologies that are somewhat restrictive or proprietary
- Azure introduces certain Services (e.g., .NET and SQL Services) as a means to Extend the functionality of the platform (e.g., Cloud Extender)
- Most similar to the Azure Cloud would be Google’s App Engine (where Python and possibly soon other languages are required for usage)
- With Azure, you do not get access to the root Operating System, as you would with an Infrastructure offering, which means you will be restricted to only what Microsoft enables within the Platform
- Azure pricing is not immediately available, however: (more…) «Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This»