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Windows Azure is Microsofts Operating System, in the cloud.

Thats a mouthfull, isnt it?

Basically, Windows Azure is a Microsoft DataCenter somewhere in the US (for now), where you can host applications you build.

You have API (HTTP && REST) access to databases, queues, blob stores that you can use to put your application together.

And if you a .NET developer, you can leverage your current skills to build applications in the cloud.

The best anology I have seen for cloud computing and the 'traditional' on premise computing is that of the  train and the truck.

Imagine you've got a farm --- with cows

To deliver milk to your customers

1. BUY A TRUCK

You have control on its schedule, how much you can load , where you can pack it etc.

However, as demand for your milk grows you've got to buy more trucks, hire more drivers, incur more packing fees etc to meet that demand. 

Furthermore, on Christmas, your demand sky rockets but because you've got limited trucks you cannot handle that spike.

In Janaury, everyones broke, demand is low, so you pack some trucks but still have to pay for packing.

Thats your traditional in - house datacenter. You have control over your data and services.

However, to scale you have to buy more hardware, probably hire more admins, worry about availabilty, worry about upgrades etc.

When you have spikes in demand, your systems grind to a halt -- as you install more servers. When demand is low, you have redudant capacity.

2. USE THE TRAIN

Its public transport, so you've got to follow there schedule, follow certain routes ----and  hey --- you've got to have access to the train station. You dont have much control over the trains, do you?

However, the train can carry lots of milk .... lots and lots of milk. The more you carry, the more you pay. You dont worry about fueling the train, servicing the train -- just get my produce there in time.  

In december when demand is high pay for more carriages. In Janaury, when demand is low, pay for less carriages.

Thats cloud computing.  Your data is not near you (its in the cloud, dah), you have limitations on what you do with your data and services.  

However, you can scale up to the level of the internet with less marginal costs than if you have your own datacenter, and you dont have worry about availability, performance etc.

As demand for your applications grows, you can pay M$ for more capacity.

 If demand shrinks, you can pay for less capacity.

Did I mention you can do this with less adminstrative overheads.


So go over to  www.microsoft.com/azure/default.mspx and sign up for a test carriage ---- sorry account.

Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:21 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: What is Windows Azure?

# re: What is Windows Azure?
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And just who takes care of the security of the milk? Pre hiring screening will take care of my truck driver. What have I to do for the train of which I have no control?
Left by Tumusiime on Nov 26, 2008 1:55 AM

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