Azure, Microsoft's attempt at conquering the cloud, is moving away from being just an ASP .NET platform. The big problem is making enough sense of the management speak to figure out where they really are going...
Microsoft PDC (Professional Developer's Conference), the event at which it traditionally announces important forthcoming developments for programmers, opened yesterday with a keynote address from Steve Ballmer and Bob Muglia keynote that focused on cloud computing.
According to Ballmer:
"Microsoft is combining the power and reach of the cloud with both Web and local device experiences ...There has never been a better time for developers to bet on Microsoft."
There followed some information about the take up of Windows Azure with discussion of showcase examples and Muglia announced two new capabilities for it to enable customers to use it for platform as a service (PaaS): Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role, which gives customers the ability to run an instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 in Microsoft's cloud; and Server Application Virtualization, which provides the ability to transfer application images to Windows Azure.
A public beta of Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role will be available later this year. Server Application Virtualization for Windows Azure will be available as a community technology preview (CTP) before the end of this year and the final release will be available to customers in the second half of 2011.
Among other dates added to the Windows Azure road map, two that are of particular interest are:
- SQL Azure Reporting - CTP will be available to customers by the end of 2010. The final release will be generally available in the first half of 2011.
- TFS (Team Foundation Server) on Windows Azure- CTP will be available in 2011.
One launch that took place at PDC was of Data market, formerly code-named "Dallas" and described as an "aisle" in Windows Azure Marketplace, the online marketplace for developers and IT professionals to share, find, buy and sell building block components, training, services, and finished services or applications needed to build complete and compelling Windows Azure platform applications.
In addition CTPs of two new tools in Windows Azure AppFabric , which helps developers rapidly build cloud applications on the Windows Azure platform, were made available:
- AppFabric Caching, which helps developers accelerate the performance of their applications.
- AppFabric Service Bus enhancements which help developers build reliable, enterprise quality delivery of data or messages, to and from applications to third parties or mobile devices.
It looks as if Azure is finally moving away from just being an ASP .NET platform.
Related book reviews:
Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform
Programming Windows Azure
Windows Azure Platform