Cloud Computing with Microsoft's Windows Azure
Article by George Norman
On 28 Oct 2008
At the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) that is currently taking place in Los Angeles, Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform made it's first ever public appearance. The one to do the honors was Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect with Microsoft, and it goes without saying that the audience was eagerly anticipating the presentation. After all, the one thing that we knew for sure about Windows Azure was its codename: Project Red Dog.

This is what Ray Ozzie had to comment: “Windows Azure is a new Windows offering at the Web tier of computing. This represents a significant extension of the Windows computing platform.” Since Windows Azure is host to a wide range of programs (.Net Framework, SQL Server, SharePoint, Dynamics CRM) and will connect with software programs that run locally thanks to Live Services, it will be much easier for software developers to build and utilize the web applications and services that that run on Microsoft platforms. What this means is that you, the user, can forget about installing software on you machine and simply access it over the web. Azure has the potential to impact the whole web, from all sorts of software applications run by companies to consumer services offered for laptops and even mobile phones.


According to Mary Jo Foley, who has more than 20 years experience in the IT field, Windows Azure is made up of four layers. Layer zero, the first of the four, is somewhat similar to HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and it represents the low level software that interacts with the servers. Layer one is the equivalent of Project Red Dog, and it is the base Azure OS. Layer two is made up of all the applications that run on top of Azure. Layer three is made up of all the applications that Windows Azure hosts.

A limited number of participants to the PDC will receive a CTP (Community Technology Preview) version of the Azure Services Platform which is mainly based on Windows Azure. It must be noted that the number of Microsoft software developers that participated at the Windows Azure presentation exceeded the 6,000 mark.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Windows Azure, Cloud
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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