Windows Azure Services
During the keynotes for the 2008 PDC the Windows Azure Services Platform was announced and more detail was provided on it. For those of you who knew it as Red Dog, the name has changed. Honestly, what is with that naming? Red Dog, Azure Services? Anyways…
What this basically means is that Microsoft is focusing more attention on their cloud OS (as relating to Software as a Service and Cloud Computing), has clearly labeled it as an OS (glee!), and provides a big boost to SharePoint’s online services. White Paper here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/4/3/e43bb484-3b52-4fa8-a9f9-ec60a32954bc/Azure_Services_Platform.docx
If you look at the above diagram (taken from: http://www.microsoft.com/azure/whatisazure.mspx) it’s pretty clear cut in what it represents. I think everyone saw this coming, and I do honestly believe that hosted services, online services, and service platforms are the future for most business solutions.
The reason? All new technology is focused on empowering business users, and those without technical know how (not to mention technical know how is becoming more and more general knowledge). If you look at the SharePoint platform, Dynamics platform, or any of the other services it’s no longer necessarily the developers who are building solutions, but the business users themselves. Architects and Administrators help manage and guide these business users and developers build out the platform further in areas where gaps are identified. This is a smart, effective and scalable way of doing business that enables the organization to grow more rapidly, be more flexible, and as a result much more profitable.
The other big reason is the cost and headaches that go with trying to manage the hardware, and staff it takes to keep powerful IT solutions running. Online services are the smart choice for small and medium sized businesses that can’t afford to keep training IT staff.
The other great thing about all of this is that Microsoft is just lifting the work they already are working on, not really introducing anything new. Improve the online services. Improve the offline services. Improve the ways in which these systems can integrate and talk to one another while building towards the expectation that the future of cloud computing is going to be realized soon.
With Microsoft focusing more on virtualization and online services I really do believe the future looks bright, beautiful, and yes, cloudy (get it? Cause it’s an internet-scale cloud services platform),
P.S – A few people have asked me what cloud computing is (and why is it a big deal?).
Look at Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing), or something like this youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PNuQHUiV3Q) I could go on about it at length, but honestly just watch the youtube video, and you’ll get an idea of it.