Windows Azure is an application hosting infrastructure service where customers can have their software running without having to worry about the costs of deploying as well as maintaining server and network hardware. Microsoft offers 24/7 hosting based on virtual servers in a configuration that can easily be adapted to scale up depending on the customer’s needs.
This is cloud computing in a nutshell. Software will no longer run exclusively on a client machine or inside the fences of a corporate intranet, but will be able to take advantage of the functionality offered by ubiquitous services that live on the Internet, a.k.a. “the cloud”
Windows Azure is the software and hardware platform provided by Microsoft to create a cloud where customers can deploy applications that will available through the Internet. Right now Windows Azure supports applications built on top of the .NET Framework, SharePoint, or Dynamics CMS. Moreover the platform offers permanent storage with SQL Server and a series of centralized information sharing and synchronization services that go under the name Live Services.
Microsoft is proving the value of Windows Azure by betting on its own platform, and will soon start to give customers the option to buy server installations of their products on the cloud. This means that customers will be able to have a Microsoft server product up and running really quickly by delegating configuration and maintenance to Microsoft, all of this for the price of a subscription. This concept is called Microsoft Online Services, and it the current offering are included Exchange, Office Live, SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics CMS.
This is the first of the big announcements made here at PDC 2008 in Los Angeles, USA. Today they will give the first public preview of the next version of Windows, code-named Windows 7. Stay tuned!