On October 27th October at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft officially announced 'Windows Azure Services Platform' the next phase in the Microsoft vision for Software + Services and Cloud Computing.  Read the official press announcement for the official story.

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.

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Key components of the Azure Services Platform include:

  • Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking
  • Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting
  • Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control
  • Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites
  • Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud

Three new team blogs are now available Azure Cloud Computing, .NET Services and SQL Data Services (SDS) which will be added to the directory and weekly updates.   The Live Services Blog already included is another blog to watch.  Here are some key announcements from these blogs:

If you would like to learn more about Windows Azure visit the Offical Windows Azure Website or and read the article What is Azure.

For further information about Microsoft’s overall vision for Software + Services and Cloud Computing, have a read of the BlogMS Resource Guide.