Microsoft previews cloud computing platform

Microsoft Corp. previewed the Azure Services Platform, a major component of the software company's cloud computing initiative, to developers at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 yesterday.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft Corp.'s chief software architect, announced Windows Azure, the cloud-based service foundation underlying its Azure Services Platform. The Azure Services Platform is Microsoft's initiative to help developers build next generation applications that will span from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter. The goal is to provide businesses and consumers with new capabilities across the PC, Web and phone, company officials said.

Azure Services combines cloud-based developer capabilities with storage, computational and networking infrastructure services, all hosted on servers operating within Microsoft's global datacenter network, Ozzie said.

A limited community technology preview of the Azure Services Platform was initially made available to developers in attendance at PDC2008, giving them a chance to try out its features and functions and plan for their own future development.

'Today marks a turning point for Microsoft and the development community,' Ozzie said. 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,' Ozzie said.

The Azure Services Platform lets developers take advantage of their existing skills, tools and technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio. They also can choose from a broad range of commercial or open source development tools and technologies, and access the Azure Services Platform using a variety of common Internet standards including HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub), Microsoft officials said.

Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:
  • Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking;
  • Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting;
  • Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control;
  • Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites;
  • Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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