Microsoft Azure heads for the clouds


Microsoft Azure heads for the clouds

Cliff Saran

Microsoft has unveiled Windows Azure, its cloud computing platform, which will provide users with storage, networking and computational power, via servers operating within Microsoft's global datacentre network.

Speaking at the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect, said the company would help developers build the next generation of applications that are able to span from the cloud to the enterprise datacentre. "The Azure Services Platform gives our customers the power of choice to deploy applications in cloud-based internet services or through on-premises servers, or to combine them in any way that makes the most sense for the needs of their business."

Steve Ballmer revealed Microsoft's plans for cloud computing last month when he was in London.

To support its hosted services, Microsoft has opened datacentres in Quincy, Washington and San Antonio. It also plans to build additional datacentres in Chicago and Dublin, Ireland.

Microsoft said the Azure Services Platform would provide developers with a way to create applications using the familiar .net framework and Visual Studio, along with other commercial development tools and open source products. The Azure Services Platform uses internet standards such as HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).

Azure Services Platform 


Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking

Microsoft SQL services offering database services and reporting

Microsoft .net services which are service-based implementations of .net framework concepts such as workflow and access control

Live services allow users to store, share and synchronise documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and websites

Microsoft SharePoint services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud

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