windows-azure-logo-lgDuring the keynote address at Developers Conference (PDC), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Server and Tools Business President Bob Muglia showed how the company is advancing the Microsoft platform, spanning the PC, phone and cloud. Microsoft specifically highlighted the momentum of Windows Azure, Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7 and the opportunity for developers today and in the future.

With the capabilities in Windows Azure, Muglia showed how developers can apply their existing skills to build new types of business applications, consumer Web applications and commercial ISV offerings.

“Only Windows Azure delivers general-purpose PaaS, which gives developers the breadth of services needed to allow them to focus on their applications and not the underlying infrastructure or virtualizing machines,” Muglia said. “Imagine having all of the IT infrastructure, hardware, OS and tools you need to support an app just a few mouse clicks away — it opens up so many possibilities for developers worldwide. We are looking forward to seeing the amazing things our customers will build on our PaaS offering.”

The On-Ramp to PaaS: Moving Applications to the Cloud

For existing applications, one option for customers is to move workloads to the cloud, using virtual machines to help lower traditional cost and management burdens. Today Muglia announced two new Microsoft capabilities for Windows Azure to enable customers to get on the path to platform as a service (PaaS):

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role gives customers the ability to run an instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 running in Microsoft’s cloud, making it easier for developers to move applications to the cloud.
  • Server Application Virtualization gives you ability to transfer application images to Windows Azure, harnessing the underlying management capabilities of the platform.

Enhancing and Transforming Applications in the Cloud

Microsoft announced a number of Windows Azure services that also help developers create rich cloud applications that open up new business opportunities. To enable this, Microsoft introduced the Windows Azure AppFabric Composition Model to speed the process of assembling services by providing critical application deployment and management capabilities. To better connect developers to customers, Microsoft announced the Windows Azure Marketplace including the new DataMarket (formerly “Project Dallas”), offering premium and public demographic, financial, mapping, and entertainment data and other content. Commercially available today, the marketplace features more than 35 providers currently offering data subscriptions.

Windows Azure scales to projects and businesses both large and small, including mobile applications that require an easier and lower-cost means to experiment and build prototypes. As part of Windows Azure enhancements unveiled today, Microsoft made available the Extra Small Windows Azure Instance that eases the process of development, testing and trial. Priced at $0.05 per compute hour, this new offering lowers the barrier to entry for developers who want to run smaller applications on Windows Azure.

“Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners” is an offer that replaces Microsoft’s existing partner offers. This offer will go live on Jan. 7, 2011, and provide free access to the Windows Azure platform, including 750 Extra Small Instance hours and a SQL Azure database per month at no additional charge. Partners can sign up for the Cloud Essentials Pack at http://www.microsoftcloudpartner.com.

For More Information

For more information on the roadmap, release dates, and availability of the Azure offerings, see my post Cloud Roadmap Includes Virtual Machine Role, SQL Azure Reporting, Windows Azure Marketplace, and More.

For technical assistance and marketing benefits in moving your application to Windows Azure, join Microsoft Platform Ready.

Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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