Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Azure™ Services Platform

This morning I learned about Windows Azure services platform. Our company had a guy from Microsoft do a presentation. Very interesting and inspiring. I had heard about Cloud computing on several blogs before, but truly realized its power in this session.

Being an entrepreneur, I really think Azure (and other Cloud computing platforms) levels the playing field for Entrepreneurs. Instead of worrying about servers, databases, hosting etc, we can now focus on the core idea and use the "cloud" as the publishing platform. It's awesome, specially in the times we are in, economically speaking!  

"Cloud computing will change how we do IT, end-to-end, over the next five years," says Chuck Hollis, vice president of global marketing at EMC, the Hopkinton-based storage firm.

Before we talk about Azure, let's talk about Cloud Computing.

According to Wikipedia:

Cloud computing is Internet ("cloud") based development and use of computer technology ("computing"). It is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualised resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure "in the cloud" that supports them. 

The concept incorporates infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) as well as Web 2.0 and other recent technology trends which have the common theme of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users.

Cloud Computing explained by Canon O' Brian's Twin Brother:

The cloud computing space is now really heating up with competing platform plays from Google’s AppEngine and Amazon’s recent EC2 announcements. In some sense this is perhaps the re-birth of Windows as a platform that enables developers and the ecosystem to build on a whole new set of capabilities and scale for the Software+Services world, in much the same way as Windows fueled the desktop software industry in the past "era". 

The really compelling thing about this particular development platform especially combined with other technologies such as Mesh, SQL and Silverlight is that you’re likely already familiar with it - if you’ve been developing ASP.NET and .NET applications using Visual Studio, either on the desktop or your own servers or hosted servers, you’re already got a good head start in working against this new platform.

What is the Azure Services Platform?

The Azure™ Services Platform (Azure) is an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers, which provides an operating system and a set of developer services that can be used individually or together. Azure’s flexible and interoperable platform can be used to build new applications to run from the cloud or enhance existing applications with cloud-based capabilities. Its open architecture gives developers the choice to build web applications, applications running on connected devices, PCs, servers, or hybrid solutions offering the best of online and on-premises.

Azure reduces the need for up-front technology purchases, and it enables developers to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud by using their existing skills with the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and the Microsoft .NET Framework. In addition to managed code languages supported by .NET, Azure will support more programming languages and development environments in the near future. Azure simplifies maintaining and operating applications by providing on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web and connected applications. Infrastructure management is automated with a platform that is designed for high availability and dynamic scaling to match usage needs with the option of a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Azure provides an open, standards-based and interoperable environment with support for multiple internet protocols, including HTTP, REST, SOAP, and XML.

Microsoft also offers cloud applications ready for consumption by customers such as Windows Live™, Microsoft Dynamics™, and other Microsoft Online Services for business such as Microsoft Exchange Online and SharePoint® Online. The Azure Services Platform lets developers provide their own unique customer offerings by offering the foundational components of compute, storage, and building block services to author and compose applications in the cloud. 

Write Applications to Run On Windows Azure

Developers can start by writing applications to Windows Azure™ by using the Microsoft® .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio®. Write web or mobile applications or author web services. In the future there will be support for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft programming languages and development environments.

Once you’re done coding the application, deploy it to the cloud and run it in Windows Azure and make it available via the internet to your end users. Scale compute capacity up or down based on traffic.

Use Azure Services In Online and On-Premises Applications

Take your cloud application to the next level by adding new functionality using additional Azure services. Use Live Services to reach over 460 million Live users, Microsoft .NET Services for workflow, access control, or service bus functionality, or use the Microsoft SQL Services cloud database. Developers can also write applications and web services that can be consumed by business partners or consumers.

Additionally, Azure services can also be used to augment an existing application that runs on a PC or a server to give on-premises software cloud capabilities. The services use industry standard SOAP, REST and XML protocols so using them won’t be a problem regardless of the operating system or programming language you’re using.

Bring It All Together

The Azure Services Platform is a cloud operating system and collection of services that can deliver web, mobile, or hybrid software-plus-services applications to users. Existing software can utilize the services to add cloud capabilities, and developers can easily write applications for the cloud to be used by end users, or write services that can be consumed within other applications.

Download the Azure Services Platform training Kit (February update)

The Azure Services Training Kit February update is now available and includes the following content covering Windows Azure, .NET Services, SQL Services, and Live Services:

13 hands-on labs – This includes 3 new hands-on labs for Live Framework & Services in addition to the hands-on labs released in the previous version of the kit.

19 new demo scripts – The demo scripts are designed to provide detailed walkthroughs of key services and features so that you can easily present a demo and better understand the services.

10 new presentations – These PowerPoint presentations can be used to deliver presentations at user groups or other training events.

Download the SDKs to experiment with the Azure locally

No comments:

Post a Comment