Microsoft Looks for Blue Skies Ahead with its Azure Cloud Computing Platform

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It was called "Project Red Dog" during development, but this week Microsoft revealed its favorite color for its cloud computing development platform is actually blue - Azure, in fact.

Windows Azure Services Platform was introduced at this week's PDC, and includes the following key components, according to eWeek :

  • Windows Azure (service hosting, management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking)
  • Microsoft SQL Services (databases and reporting)
  • Microsoft .NET Services (.NET Framework workflow, access control, and so forth)
  • Live Services (file and media synchronization between PCs, phones, apps and website)
  • Microsoft SharePoint Services and CRN Services (business content, collaboration, and rapid solution development)

Applications developed using the Azure platform can be tested offline, and can be deployed locally or to the cloud, thanks to the incorporation of existing Microsoft technologies. Azure will first be made available through Microsoft data centers. Developers can use HTTP or other common Internet standards to access Azure services. Learn more at Microsoft's Azure Services Platform website.

What's the appeal of Azure for Microsoft - and developers? According to the Information Week blog, Azure offers scalable pay as you go services. It might not be "The End of Software?" as Information Week wonders, but Azure is the latest sign that services, not shrinkwrapped packages of Microsoft whatever, may be the wave of the future for profitability in Redmond - and for maximum flexibility in uncertain times for developers.

With Amazon.com already in the game , Windows Azure is playing catch up. Will the sky remain the intense "October blue" of azure for Redmond, or will its vision of cloud computing be clouded over by the competition? Developers, you can register for the Community Technology Preview to find out for yourself (and your company). But, whether you're a developer or a user, feel free to click the Comments button to tell us what you think about Windows Azure and cloud computing.

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