Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microsoft Cloud

@CloudExpo: Article

Microsoft Dubs its Cloud ‘Azure’

Microsoft is also promising to put all of its own enterprise software online

Well, there’s another Big Blue on the block.

The official name of the widgetry that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently called “Windows Cloud” is Windows Azure – (which should grate on IBM) – described by Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie at the company’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) Monday morning as a “scale-out” cloud operating system that will run on virtualized servers in Microsoft’s massive new data centers.

A limited technology preview of the stuff is available and it looks like it will take Microsoft two weeks to get those at the PDC who sign on for the beta up and running.

Microsoft will be running a so-called Azure Services Platform on the Internet-scale OS that developers can use to build applications that scale to the cloud from the beginning and run on Microsoft’s rented on-demand infrastructure.

Microsoft is also promising to put all of its own enterprise software online. (Reportedly a limited web-based version of Office will debut in January.)

Ozzie, who acknowledged that Microsoft was standing on Amazon’s shoulders, claims the grand unfolding vision is a “game changer.”

“It’s a transformation of our software,” he said. “It’s a transformation of our strategy.”

He also said it was still “early days” yet for this transformation, which is meant to counter the advances being made by Google and Amazon and their ilk.



The widgetry will come out in stages and for all practical purposes some of the promised functionality is still at the chalkboard stage. Microsoft gave no indication when Azure would be “baked” and told PDC-goers the widgetry could change depending on their feedback.

It also gave no indication what its hosting prices would be when it gets to the point other than to say they would be “competitive” and that there would be a “variety of service levels.”

It also doesn’t expect its accounts to all go rushing willy-nilly into the cloud – at least it hopes not. It still expects on-premises data centers to remain in place, it said, and perhaps combine with the cloud. It mumbled something about “symmetry.”

Microsoft described the Azure Services Platform as being “built from the ground up,” but users and developers should find it familiar since it recycles basic warm-and-fuzzy Microsoft technologies like the .NET Framework and Visual Studio while making a play for a wider (and perhaps disaffected) audience that might use open source development tools and of course common Internet standards such as HTTP, REST, WS-*, and the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).

Besides managed code languages that .NET supports, Microsoft says it will add Ruby on Rails and Python – and the open source Eclipse development environment – “in the near future.”

As part of the Azure Services Platform – which is supposed to be interoperable and open – Windows Azure is responsible for the hosting, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking. Infrastructure management is supposed to be completely automated.

And at this point there is also a web-based SQL Services and Microsoft’s Live Services with its 400 million users (think of it as a starter market for Azure apps), as well as something called .NET Services – which is supposed to traverse firewalls and communicate across applications and services, creating federated applications.

Microsoft says SharePoint Services and Dynamic CRM Services will be added soon.

The architecture is supposed to support web applications, applications running on connected devices, PCs, servers and hybrid solutions.

Microsoft has built cloud infrastructures out of shipping containers in Quincy, Washington and San Antonio, Texas and will open others in Chicago and Dublin.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Charles Di Bona estimates that Microsoft has spent $3 billion on the cloud, according to Forbes, which claims the 100-megawatt data center Microsoft is putting in Chicago is bigger than anything Google’s got.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
"Avere Systems deals with data performance optimization in the cloud or on-premise. Even to this day many organizations struggle with what we call the problem of data gravity - 'Where should I put the data?' - because the data dictates ultimately where the jobs are going to run," explained Scott Jeschonek, Director Cloud Solutions at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.