Understanding Windows Azure

January 26, 2011

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform composed of specific cloud technologies, each providing a specific set of services to application developers that tie up with familiar Windows applications.

Windows Azure has three main components: Compute, Storage and Fabric. There is a scalable environment with computing (web and worker roles), storage (blob storage, table storage), hosting (queue service), and management capabilities. Windows Azure also provides a cloud-hosted relational database (SQL Azure) that is very similar to SQL Server, and AppFabric, an SDK to connect on-premises applications with the Cloud.

From the developer’s standpoint, interoperability allows to combine new Azure cloud-based applications with other platforms. Developers have the choice of several languages for building their applications, including:

  • .NET
  • C#
  • Visual Basic
  • C++
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Java

A very nice addition is the inclusion of Drupal 7 into the cloud services platform using the Windows Azure Companion, thus making available all the fantastic features of this legendary Content Management System. Definitely a pleasant surprise and a step in the right direction for Microsoft, that has dedicated team resources for this project during the past few months.

In addition, interoperability with other platforms is made available through community-based libraries, such as:

  • Plug-ins for Eclipse
  • SDKs for Java, PHP, and Ruby




 

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