Review: Windows Azure shoots the moon

Microsoft's cloud wows with great price-performance, Windows toolchain integration, and plenty of open source options

By Peter Wayner, InfoWorld |  Cloud Computing, Microsoft, windows azure

A long time ago in a century slipping further and further away, Bill Gates compared MSN with the exploding World Wide Web, saw the future, and pivoted nicely to embrace the Internet. A few decades later, someone at Microsoft looked at the cloud and recognized that the old days of selling Windows Server OS licenses were fading. Today we have Windows Azure, Microsoft's offering for the cloud.

Azure is a cloud filled with racks and racks of machines like other clouds, but it also offers a wider collection of the building blocks enterprise managers need to assemble modern, flexible websites. There are common offerings such as virtual machines, databases, and storage blocks, along with not-so-common additions such as service buses, networks, and connections to data farms address verifiers, location data, and Microsoft's own Bing search engine. There are also tools for debugging your code, sending emails, and installing databases like MongoDB and ClearDB's version of MySQL.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Peter Wayner reviews Rackspace Cloud " Joyent Cloud " HP Cloud " Google Compute Engine | Move over, Amazon -- IaaS providers are elbowing into the cloud | Stay on top of the current state of the cloud with InfoWorld's special report, "Cloud computing in 2012," and Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

All of these show that Microsoft is actively trying to build a system that lets developers easily produce a working website using the tools of their choice. Azure is not just delivering commodity Microsoft machines and leaving the rest up to you -- it's starting to make it simpler to bolt together all of the parts. The process still isn't simple, but it's dramatically more convenient than the old paradigm.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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