for Redmond Developer News,
Azure provides an abstracted environment for deploying and managing highly scalable
and available cloud-based applications.
Azure represents a sea change for Microsoft, a company that has famously struggled
to come to terms with the very concept of services-based computing. Remember
when Microsoft wouldn't even say the term SOA?
That era is over. Big time. Services will be a strategic focus in Redmond for
the foreseeable future. From Windows to .NET Framework to SQL Server, SharePoint
and Dynamics CRM, every corner of Microsoft's enterprise portfolio is going
service-based. Microsoft even discussed an upcoming portal for Microsoft's System
Center product, called "Atlanta," that leverages Azure to provide
analysis and presentation of the status of on-premise infrastructure.
Despite all that, it was notable how closely Microsoft stayed to its tried
and proven playbook.
Windows brand and platform leverage? Check. From the Azure name to the integration
of the Hyper-V hypervisor virtualization, Microsoft went to great lengths to
deeply brand Windows into this cloud platform.
Visual Studio and .NET integration? Check. Amitabh Srivastava's "Hello
PDC" demo showed how Azure cloud-based applications could be written using
the familiar ASP.NET in Visual Studio. Throughout the presentation, attendees
were pitched on the benefits of familiar tooling and languages.
XML foundations? Check. Cloud models are built in XML, which enables all sorts
of extensibility scenarios.
Questionable support for non-preferred Microsoft technologies? Oh, yes -- check.
Support in Azure for unmanaged native code, Amitabh let slip late, will come
later. There's certainly an openness and interoperability message, but it's
hardly surprising that the early work will be happening inside the Microsoft
While the direction Microsoft took here may not be a surprise, it's clear that
the company is taking the long bet. PDC 2008 may be remembered as the pivot
point, when Microsoft moved past the tension that's been building between shrink
wrap and services. The bet is on. The infrastructure is being deployed and the
tools are being mobilized.
Did you see the keynote? What are your thoughts on Windows Azure? E-mail me