Microsoft has announced the Azure™ Services Platform . Azure offers independent software vendors (ISVs) the ability to provide their customers a range of choices in user experience over the Web or on connected PCs, servers, and mobile devices. ISVs can take advantage of the Azure Services Platform to deliver software as a service without having to maintain data centers or build new capabilities on existing investments in on-premises applications.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect, announced Windows Azure at Microsoft Professional Developers Conference this morning. He described how this platform combines cloud-based developer capabilities with storage, computational and networking infrastructure services, all hosted on servers operating within Microsoft’s global datacenter network. This provides developers with the ability to deploy applications in the cloud or on-premises and enables experiences across a broad range of business and consumer scenarios. A limited community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform was initially made available to developers in attendance at PDC2008. You can register for the CTP at Try It.

Unlike many of today’s service-based solutions, the Azure Services Platform provides developers with the flexibility and ability to create applications while taking advantage of their existing skills, tools and technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio. Developers also can choose from a broad range of commercial or open source development tools and technologies, and access the Azure Services Platform using a variety of common Internet standards including HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).

Windows Azure Services Platform

Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:

  • 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