Windows® Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft® data centers.
Windows Azure is currently in Community Technology Preview. Commercial availability for Windows Azure will likely be at the end of calendar year 2009.
Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments. To build applications and services on Windows Azure, developers can use their existing Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 expertise. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, XML, and PHP.
Utilities of Windows Azure:
Add Web service capabilities to existing packaged applications
Build, modify, and distribute applications to the Web with minimal on-premises resources
Perform services (large-volume storage, batch processing, intense or large-volume computations, etc.) off premises
Create, test, debug, and distribute Web services quickly and inexpensively
Reduces costs of building and extending on-premises resources
Reduces the effort and costs of IT management
Cloud computing with choices
Windows Azure reduces obstacles to creating reliable and scalable web applications because it is based on, and works with familiar Microsoft technology including ASP.NET, IIS, FastCGI, .NET Full Trust, P/Invoke, and Visual Studio 2008, so developers can use their existing skills to efficiently create, test, deploy, and manage web services. Windows Azure supports standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, XML, and PHP.
Cloud computing with low risks
Windows Azure provides a scalable platform and a rich development environment that allows developers to focus on the business logic of the application, without worrying about operational constraints.
Cloud computing with Fewer Distractions.
The Fabric Controller technology in Windows Azure, enables you to scale applications seamlessly, as demand rises and falls. The built-in management services give monitoring and tracing capabilities, and allow you to stay focused on what you do best—create and deliver services and applications online.
What’s Included in Windows Azure?
Simple data storage services
Blobs, tables, and queues hosted in the cloud, close to your computation
Authenticated access and triple replication to help keep your data safe
Easy access to data with simple REST interfaces, available remotely and from the data center
Complete offline development environment, including computation and storage services
Complete command-line SDK tools and samples
Visual Studio add-in that enables local debugging
New SDK Download: a new version of the Windows Azure SDK will be available for download at a time to coincide with the MIX09 conference, which will enable developers to take advantage of the new features offered by Windows Azure, as well as an update to the Visual Studio add-ins.
Service hosting environment
Security supported by flexible Code Access Security policies
Small runtime API that supports logging and local scratch storage
Web portal that helps you deploy, scale, and upgrade your services quickly and easily
FastCGI, a protocol for interfacing applications to web servers, which will allow customers to deploy and run web applications written with non-Microsoft programming languages such as PHP (Developers will be responsible for including the relevant runtime libraries for these languages when deploying applications.)
.NET Full Trust to allow usage of additional .NET features such as Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).
From Full Trust .NET, developers can call into unmanaged DLLs