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Oct 27, 2008

Cloud, SaaS, ASP, Web Services - Microsoft Live Services, Windows Azure, Live Mesh Adds to Confusion

Ed: Do we need more confusion? Here it comes - more jargon from Microsoft. 

IBM offers hosted or outsourced services. Google Apps offers free, hosted, outsourced services. Microsoft leverages it's many products and intellectual property into a new service - sold for an undisclosed rental fee over the web. Let the new war begin.

I prefer simplicity for consumers, customers, and partners.

Ray Ozzie Has His Head In the Clouds

Microsoft wants in on cloud computing. At the company's Professional Developer's Conference today, Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie announced Windows Azure, its "internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers." Windows Azure will only be open as a technology preview to a very limited number of developers for now, and no pricing details have been revealed that I can find. But this is basically Microsoft's answer to Amazon's Web Services and cloud computing initiatives from other enterprise IT players, including everyone from IBM to RackSpace. Azure will run Windows servers and the .Net framework in the cloud as a hosted, pay-as-you go service. It will be part of what Microsoft is calling Live Services, and it will run Live apps, .Net apps, SQL server, Sharepoint servers, and Microsoft's Dynamics CRM...

Microsoft PDC2008: Ozzie Introduces Azure

Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie started off the company's 2008 Professional Developer Conference With a discussion of the back-end , server parts of the company's "software plus services strategy." This doesn't get the attention that goes to client solutions - like Windows, which I expect we'll hear more about tomorrow - but it is crucial for developers and corporate users.

Ozzie said that Microsoft's big advantage in writing platforms comes from three items: It builds its own apps on the platform, which makes sure the platform works. Because of the size of Microsoft, its platforms are likely to reach critical mass. Microsoft has always understood that ISVs need to be successful for the company to be successful.

There's a lot of truth in that - there are many companies and developers who have grown using Microsoft's tools. But Microsoft has been a very aggressive competitor to some of its ISVs, a point Ozzie didn't make. Perhaps as a result, is seeing more competition than it has in years - particularly from open source software on the server and tools side...

Ray Ozzie Announces Windows Azure - "Windows in the Cloud"

Ray Ozzie opened the Microsoft PDC '08 this morning with a keynote speech. In it he announced Windows Azure, Microsoft's "Windows in the cloud". It is a new service based operating environment. He described it as a massive highly scalable service platform. What is being released today is just a fraction of what it will become. It will be Microsoft's highest scalable system enabling people and companies to create services on the Web.

On the new webpage for Windows Azure, it is described as follows:

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.

To build these applications and services, developers can use their existing Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 expertise. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, and XML. Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments.

Use Windows Azure to:

* 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.
* Reduce costs of building and extending on-premises resources.
* Reduce the effort and costs of IT management.

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