It's been a big couple of days here at PDC where we've made some of the biggest announcements in the history of the company. There's plenty of press coverage of the release so I'll give you a high level, personal perspective:
Monday 27th of October saw the delivery of the first installment of the embodiment of the MS software + services strategy. This has been (chief software architect) Ray Ozzie's main focus since joining Microsoft - and he looked very happy to be sharing with developers and the world the vision he's been driving for the last 3 years.
So, Windows in the cloud, Strata, Red Dog, Zurich - now Windows Azure - is now available as a Community Technical Preview (CTP) so developers around the world can begin to familiarise themselves with not only the programming model, but the the new computing model it represents. Here's the conceptual view:
In a nutshell "Windows in the Cloud" but that sounds a little trite - what does it really mean?
If you think of the various computing development and deployment models over the last 40 years services represent the next logical step - ubiquitous and utility-like services that can be consumed without the need to own the infrastructure yourself - much like electricity or telecommunications services. It doesn't make sense to build your own power station or, to better apply the analogy, for an organisation to generate their own energy when others can do it on a far greater scale and provide the service for a known cost - and with no up-front capital investment.
In the future it's difficult to think why an organisation (any or - not just enterprise) would want to host say their own messaging service, unless required to for compliance reasons. It will make far more sense to "rent" the capability.
Now, this sounds like I'm suggesting existing pure web-based mail systems like gmail, but bear with me...at Microsoft we believe in the power of software combined with services so customers will have a choice of where they host their messaging (and other) infrastructure, on premise or in the cloud.
But here's the thing...
With S+S it's a two way street. You can move your messaging to the cloud, but you can also move it back again, or host various components in places that make sense to you.
And all with a uniform programming and management model that your people already know.
More to come on Windows Azure, Windows 7, the next version of Office - from PDC2008...
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