Thursday, October 30, 2008

Microsoft Heads for the Cloud

Microsoft often uses its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) as a launching pad for major product announcements. This week at the PDC in Los Angeles, CA, was no exception. For most of us, the most far-reaching news is Microsoft's venture into cloud computing with a new operating system called Azure. Developers can now get their hands on the community technology preview version of the software and begin learning how it will be relevant for remote hosting of web applications.

Microsoft is not the first vendor to offer cloud computing, but it has many advantages over the first pioneers of the field. The community of Microsoft developers is large and active. Using familiar tools such as Visual Studio will unleash tremendous activity as well as harness the existing code base of .NET applications.

A number of services from Microsoft will be available right out of the gate, drawing on the Microsoft Live services. These include authentication, collaboration and document management (SharePoint), messaging (Exchange Online) and Dynamics CRM.

The big question is how much government agencies will want to move to the cloud and when. I will be exploring this topic in greater detail in future posts.

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