One of the most puzzling and intriguing projects in Microsoft's current portfolio is Azure, sometimes called Windows Azure or the Azure Services Platform. It's essentially a cloud computing platform, but it's not exactly a new product. It's more like a cloud implementation of Microsoft's current server products (see below).
A lot of Azure is very conceptual and confusing, but it's significant because it helps us sort out how the world's largest software company plans to adapt to a world where a lot more applications will be delivered over the Internet.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley (right) is going to help sort out what Azure is (and what it isn't) in a live Webcast on Wednesday, June 24 at 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT / 5:00 PM GMT. This is a good opportunity to get up to speed on Azure before Microsoft launches it later this year.
Here's a look at what to expect from the online event:
ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog editor Mary Jo Foley will offer an Azure primer. She'll explain what Azure is -- from the base operating system level, to the higher-level services layers, to the "user experience." Foley will compare Azure to competing cloud platforms from Amazon, Google and other players. She will discuss how Microsoft is using and plans to use the platform itself. And Foley will differentiate between what we know about Azure from what many are anticipating from the platform.
Even if you're dragging your heels about moving your apps and data "to the cloud," it's not too soon to hear more about Microsoft's cloud plans. This Webcast will provide a high-level overview of where Microsoft has been and where it's going in the cloud/utility computing market.
And here are some additional ZDNet resources on Azure:
- Microsoft's Azure cloud platform: A guide for the perplexed
- Windows Azure defined: A developer's view
- Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users
- Windows Azure: Microsoft mainstreams the cloud
- Windows Azure: a very difficult concept explained
Watch Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's original announcement of Windows Azure in this four-minute video clip: