Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie unveiled at PDC 2008 a new set of platform technologies, Windows Azure. The Azure Services Platform combines the growing power of the Web-based “cloud” and today’s computers and devices with a suite of services designed to help developers deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and mobile phone or PDA. The new platform extends to developers the ability to rapidly develop and deploy new applications into the cloud, without having to worry about how they will scale up. It gives businesses a new set of choices for how they deploy IT. And consumers benefit through new abilities to see their growing array of digital devices linked together in new and exciting ways.
Windows Azure is not software that companies will run on their own servers. It’s something new: a service that runs in Microsoft’s growing network of datacenters and provides the platform that helps companies respond to the realities of today’s business environment, and tomorrow’s. Windows Azure technologies are already finding their way into products such as Windows Server 2008 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager, enabling organizations and Microsoft partners to create their own cloud infrastructure.
Key components of Azure Services Platform include the following:
— Windows Azure, for service hosting and management and low-level scalable storage, computation, and networking.
— Microsoft SQL Services, for database services and reporting.
— Microsoft .Net Services, which are service-based implementations of .Net Framework concepts such as workflow. .Net Services previously was called BizTalk Services. “The services themselves, we found, were actually more identifiable to the .Net community than BizTalk,” said Steve Martin, Microsoft senior product management director in the company’s Connected Systems Division.
— Live Services, for sharing, storing, and synchronizing documents, photos, and files across PCs, phones, PC applications, and Web sites.
— Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration, and solution development in the cloud.
The Azure Services Platform has two distinct layers. The base layer – Windows Azure – provides computation and storage foundational services on which the remaining components of Microsoft’s Services offering will reside over time. The second layer is a collection of additional infrastructure services including Microsoft .NET Services and Microsoft SQL Services, as well as services extensions to Live offerings, SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics. These services can be used in conjunction with applications developed on Windows Azure or to extend existing applications that run on-premises or in other hosted environments.