Microsoft Announces Windows Azure, Cloud-Based OS

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Microsoft has announced the Azure Services Platform at the ongoing Professional Developers Conference 2008.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing framework that will eventually be offered alongside Windows 7.

The Azure Services Platform is said to provide developers with the ability to create applications with existing technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect is quoted as saying that computer users should expect to Windows Azure to replicate the same operating system but “in the cloud.”

“Windows Azure is a new Windows offering in the Web tier of computing, a significant extension in the company’s family of platforms,” Ozzie said.

Windows Azure is mainly a service that runs on Microsoft data centers. And the developers are able to access to Azure immediately for the first CTP (Community Technology Preview).

Ray identified three computing tiers:

  • You (Windows client)
  • The enterprise (Windows Server)
  • Web tier (Windows Azure)

Ray claimed that Windows Azure is “setting the stage for the next 50 years of systems.”

“The goal of Azure is to provide developers who want to write applications that run partially and/or entirely in a remote datacenter with a platform and set of tools.”

Microsoft provides developers with the “Azure Developer Portal” for building their services. Windows Azure is targeted to five developer groups: business, corporate, ISVs, systems integrators and Web.

Microsoft plans to start making Azure services available next year. The company will charge based on an “app’s resource consumption” and the “service level we plan to provide,” Ray said. He wouldn’t detail pricing other than to say that it would be “competitive.” Competitive with what? I ask, since there’s nothing quite like this service platform.

[Source Microsoft Via Mary-Jo Foley Blog]