Microsoft Azure clouds clearing at PDC '09

Microsoft announced more details of its Azure cloud computing plans for Windows yesterday. Ray Ozzie talked about how Microsoft's going to crush Amazon and VMware into itty-bitty pieces. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers are mostly impressed.

By Richi Jennings. November 18, 2009.


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Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Oddly Specific...

    Gavin Clarke taps his wristwatch:

Microsoft is fiddling around with the launch dates of the highly anticipated Windows Azure while showing off the cloud service's latest advances. ... Continues as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) through to the end of this year. ... Opens to paying customers on January 1, but you won't actually be charged for using Azure until a month later, as Microsoft tries to get its provisioning and billing systems up and running.


Ray Ozzie ... the white-haired chief software wizard ... noted Azure also now offers multiple sized virtual machines with the ability to support any Windows code or programming model. ... Microsoft has ... built the computing fabric, a programming architecture and ability to program not just using all Microsoft's programming languages and Visual Studio but also PHP, Java, and Ruby with a Fast CGI bridge and SDKs. ... [And] the familiarly of SQL Server, only in the cloud.

Peter Bright shines a light:

Microsoft [also] announced a new Azure service now included in the CTP. Codenamed "Dallas", the new service gives developers the ability to discover, purchase, and manage data subscriptions within Azure. ... Dallas itself is built atop Windows Azure and SQL Azure.


Ozzie wrapped up by underlining Microsoft's investment and belief in cloud computing, and the potential that the technology offers customers. Redmond is betting that cloud computing will herald a new wave of exciting development opportunities, and a bright future of interconnected cloud applications—and that Azure will be fundamental to this brave new world.

John Treadway says PDC attendees are "genuinely excited":

Azure is not targeted towards the big SaaS/Web 2.0/Facebook app crowd. Instead, they are going after the enterprise users who drive the bulk of spending in the tech market. ... Nearly all Windows apps are written with Visual Studio and most run on SQL Server. ... Deploying your apps to Azure will be WAY EASIER than deploying to any other cloud.


Face it – despite their very slow start, Microsoft knows that Azure is a make-or-break situation.  They are innovating, listening to customers, and pouring $ billions into the cloud. They will be happy to let the Web cloud crowd use Amazon, Google and others. ... Azure’s not perfect ... but it’s a strong solution for the bulk of those 2,000-4,000 regular applications that run a business.

Joe Wilcox is shocked and stunned:

Ozzie is a brainy type, who talks like his head is in the clouds, which is perhaps appropriate for someone laying out Microsoft's cloud computing strategy. ... Ozzie announced that Automattic, creator of open-source WordPress blogging system, would be one of ... a few companies [that] would take Azure into production starting today.


It was a stunning announcement, since Automattic uses open-source tools like Apache and MySQL. The message: Azure isn't just about Microsoft products or development tools. I must say it was simply shocking to see WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg on the PDC stage.

Alex Williams is similarly impressed:

From our vantage point, Microsoft got it right. How? In front of a sea of developers at the Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft trotted out a group of geek all-stars who showed how they are using Azure to do some pretty cool stuff. ... Matt Mullenweg from Wordpress, Loic LeMeur of Seesmic and the CTO for the Cheezburger Network.


Bringing in the geek elite gives developers a reason to relate to what Azure provides. ... [But] showing off the geeks can only get you so far. You have to show the goods. And for about two hours, Microsoft showed repeatedly that Ray Ozzie's vision may be right on. ... This launch should give competitors pause.

But Nick Wingfield wants Microsoft to show him the money:

Microsoft’s “cloud computing” service is taking shape. But it may be awhile before it translates into big dollars for the company. ... Ray Ozzie told the assembled throngs of developers that the service for the first month will be free, with billing starting in February.


Cloud computing is still a relatively small business for a big company like Microsoft. ... Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s server and tools business ... said he expects cloud computing to become a meaningful contributor to Microsoft’s revenues over the next five to 10 years. Of course, for a company with a lot invested in traditional methods of selling software, there could be an element of wishful thinking.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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