What is this Cloud Computing that everyone is talking about? The concept of Cloud Computing is a growing term that is gaining popularity and rightly so.
In order to talk about cloud computing you need to understand what the cloud is. The cloud is nothing more than an abstraction of resources on a remote/hosted server. The idea is that these servers are in secure *data centers giving you abilities that you may not have within your company such as scaling up and out.
Microsoft's vision of Cloud Computing is based on four key pillars: Scaling out, Automated Service Management, High Availability, and Multi-Tenancy. These pillars are used to help convey the concept of Software Plus Service. Simply put, working on documents, checking e-mails, and even listening to music are great things to do locally but having access to them online is even better. However, the opposite is true. Having things online is great but sometimes you need them locally just in case you don’t have an Internet connection.

Scaling Out rather than scaling up, Scaling Out means that that your application can use multiple resources on different machines and almost have a running parallel environment rather than trying divide the resources on one particular machine.

Automated Service means that the developer does not have to worry about all the logistics when developing a specific infrastructure such as management rules or patching an OS while still having the other three pillars support your application/service. This way the developer can focus on service development.

High Availability is simply having your service accessible; load balanced and can scale both up and out.

Multi-Tenancy means that the application can have more than one tenant/user at any given time as well as make sure resources on a machine are shared.

The platform that allows all this to happen is the Azure. Using the Azure platform, Azure SQL, and Azure Dot.Net you will be able to create or put your applications online in order to have all these attributes described above. 

You can also check out the official Windows Azure home page at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/


*Data Center- A facility used for housing a large amount of computer and communications equipment maintained by an organization for the purpose of handling the data necessary for its operations(msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb246417(VS.85).aspx)

**Details for this blog were taken from a session by Eric Morse (Depth Partners Director)