Introduction to Windows Azure

WinAzure_web At PDC 2008, Microsoft unveiled Windows Azure to the world. Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing offering and last week on February 1st, went live to the broad public.

Cloud computing means that data and computing resources are performed in the “cloud.” (A picture of a cloud is often used as a metaphor to describe the internet.) Instead of managing infrastructure needs and dealing with complex costs associated with the infrastructure, cloud computing enables you to perform complex computing workloads on an infrastructure managed by someone else and for more affordable and manageable costs.

To put some context and clarity around the above definition, here’s a real world example. You operate a large pizza chain and you offer the ability for customers to place their orders online. Currently, you host the online ordering application in house, and are paying cooling, server, human capital, and other costs to keep this application available to your customers. Now it’s Super Bowl Sunday and you experience a huge spike in people trying to order pizzas, and your website crashes. Oh no! You’ve lost sales, you’ve lost customers, and you have a public relations nightmare.

How does Windows Azure help you out of this?

Windows Azure allows you to host your applications in an environment designed for high workloads and scalability.

With Windows Azure, you can host your pizza order application and as demand increases, you can with a few clicks of the mouse turn on more servers to meet the demand of your application. So instead of losing money, customers, and having a public relations nightmare, you make money, keep and earn customers, and have a positive public relations story.

For more information about Windows Azure, visit http://www.azure.com

As soon as I have a bit more time to get the technical details under my belt, I’ll post the technical details of how Windows Azure works. 🙂

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