Windows Azure is a product of Microsoft and it provides various internet services that can be useful for both on-premises and off-premises environment. It is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Its production will start from January 1, 2010.

Windows Azure Platform provides a simple and flexible environment for developers who want to create a cloud application. It can be easily implemented in your current environment and also supports multiple languages. Windows Azure supports the following: Microsoft Visual Studio, SOAP, REST, XML, and PHP. The following are the five services that are provided by the platform:

• Live Services

• SQL Services

• NET Services

• Share Point Services

• Dynamics CRM Services

Functions/ Usage of Windows Azure are:

• Large-volume storage

• Batch Processing

• Complicated/ large-volume computations

• Build, modify and distribute applications with minimum on-premises resources

• Run commodity processes in the cloud

• Create, test, debug and distribute Web services swiftly and economically

The benefits of Windows Azure Platform are:

• Reduces cost of building and extending on-premises resources

• Cuts down the cost, time and effort of IT management

• Your ideas/ applications will be brought to market faster than expected

• Flexible platform adapts to the changes in business environment and customer needs

• Choice of selecting the best suitable on/ off premises deployment model

• Save energy and time by focusing less on managing operational resources and constraints

• Eliminate the need of hardware management

• Existing tools can be used to build cloud applications

• Consistent on-premises development

• Use computing resources only when required

The launch of Windows Azure is significant as it is the first step of Microsoft in ‘Cloud Computing’ followed by ‘Microsoft Online Services’.

– Brian Kingsley, Director of Technical Services, ACS Services, Boston