Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Platform: Top Attractions for Developers

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Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Platform: Top Attractions for Developers

by Darryl K. Taft

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Easy On Ramp to the Cloud

Windows Azure provides a low adoption curve for developers considering Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS). Developers can leverage existing skill sets with .NET and tight integration with Visual Studio tools to simulate cloud locally.

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The cloud platform lets developers use familiar languages and tools of choice. It also supports application development and other industry standards while enabling non-Microsoft runtimes such as PHP, Tomcat and MySQL. Microsoft and its partners are delivering interoperability SDKs, including Eclipse tooling support, PHP, Java and Ruby SDKs.

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Azure Integrates with Existing On-Premises Infrastructure

Microsoft has committed to providing legacy-application migration to enable deployment to Windows Azure depending on business needs. Customers can choose an on-premises or off-premises deployment model that best suits their needs. Windows Azure Storage is a massively scalable and highly reliable persistence mechanism that is also accessible to the applications hosted on-premises through industry-standard Web services interfaces such as REST.

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Reduces the Cost of IT Management

Windows Azure helps to drive business and operational efficiencies. For example, Soprima, which provides online contract management applications, reports in a statement that "with the automated service management in Windows Azure, we estimate an overall annual cost avoidance of approximately $500,000 in salaries alone. Without Windows Azure, we would have had to hire additional full-time employees to support our application."

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Increased Ability to Generate New Revenue

With availability in 41 countries, Azure provides the ability to expand an enterprises customer base and create new business growth opportunities around the globe.

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Addresses Evolving Business Needs

Windows Azure provides built-in functionality to procure, configure and manage hardware. Platform scalability allows for adding and removing capacity as business needs change to drive innovation and meet customer demand.

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Commitment to a Common Application Model

Windows Azure adheres to a common application model across servers and online services, which simplifies development, deployment and management of applications. The Windows Azure platform appliance rounds out Microsoft's server and cloud services offerings.

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Windows Azure Delivers Broad Cloud Services Platform

Today the Azure PAAS (platform-as-a-service) model provides a managed development environment to focus on the application itself rather than the complexities of the underlying infrastructure. Microsoft is also committed to providing IAAS (infrastructure-as-a-service) model in the future.

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Provides Best Features for Cloud App Development

• Windows Azure Content Delivery Network to provide improved delivery of content (handles instantaneous high load, better performance and user experience for users who are farther from the source of the content).• IntelliTrace in Visual Studio for debugging in the cloud (can see events that occurred in the past which reduces the number of restarts that are required to debug an application).• SQL Azure Database - cloud-based relational database to build highly available, scalable, multitenant database service to build business intelligence and line of business applications.• Microsoft codename Dallas - Information marketplace to find premium third-party content to power next-generation apps for consumer and business scenarios (for example, business intelligence and geospatial applications).

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There Are Many Resources to Get Started with Azure

Offers:"With Windows Azure, we know the data is in good hands because it's being hosted by Microsoft. Microsoft is our IT department-it doesn't get much better than that"—Oil industry exploration and production information services company

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Microsoft Provides Partner Resources, Tools

Partner resources: "It's difficult for a small, unknown startup to look highly credible," Antti Makkonen, Research and Development Lead at Sopima, said in a statement. "We chose to work with Microsoft because the company is more than a technology partner; it's a business partner, too."

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