Well, it´s just little more than three weeks go that I posted about the Steve Ballmer keynote in London where he did not hide that we are going to see Microsoft enter the cloud as well, beyond AWS also providing Windows servers on their platform.
Microsoft describes Azure this way:
Windows® Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage internet or cloud applications. Windows Azure supports a consistent development experience through its integration with Visual Studio. In the early stages of CTP, .NET managed applications built using Visual Studio will be supported. Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments. Windows Azure welcomes third party tools and languages such as Eclipse, Ruby, PHP, and Python.
I guess it will be quite some interesting times ahead, given Microsoft´s financial strength and ability to execute. Curious though, how open the Azure platform will be.
Azure will compete with other cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, and Salesforce.com’s force.com, and, given Microsoft’s enormous scale and influence in the software industry, its launch marks a milestone in the history of utility computing. The cloud is now firmly in the mainstream.
Cannot agree more.