The Windows Azure platform offers a flexible, familiar environment for developers to create cloud applications and services. With Windows Azure, you can shorten your time to market and adapt as demand for your service grows.

Windows Azure offers a platform that is easily implemented alongside your current environment.

- Windows Azure: operating system as a service
- Microsoft SQL Azure: fully relational database in the cloud
- Windows Azure platform AppFabric: makes it simpler to connect cloud and on-premises applications

Click on the fig below to access the ROI and TCO Calculator:

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I also found an interesting session recording from PDC09 that talks about lessons learnt in building scalable applications on Windows Azure. LINK TO PDC SESSION. (mention of Retail Industry applications in this session)