What is Windows Azure?

AzureLogo Today, during the opening keynote of the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Ray Ozzie announced Windows Azure.  Windows Azure is an operating system for the cloud.  You may have also heard it called by its codename "Red Dog". 

Windows Azure provides the same facilities that a desktop OS provides, but on a set of connected servers ("the cloud"). 

  1. Automated service management: you define the rules and provide your code, and the platform follows the rules to deploy, monitor, and manage your service. 
  2. A powerful service hosting environment: all of the hardware (servers, load balancers, etc.) is provided; you get virtualized and direct execution. 
  3. Scalable, available cloud storage: you get blobs, file streams, tables, caches, queues, locks...
  4. A rich, familiar developer experience: you get a simulated cloud environment on the desktop and support for a variety of programming languages, including ASP.NET, .NET languages, native code, and PHP.  There is integration with Visual Studio and Eclipse. 


Want an example of an application running on Windows Azure?  Check out http://bluehoo.com.