It wasn’t the cloud operating system promised by Steve Ballmer, but Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform revealed yesterday by Ray Ozzie at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference will surely get Microsoft a place at the table with the other big cloud platform players like Amazon and Google.
So what’s in the Azure Services Platform? A bit of old and and a bit of new:
Unlike many of today’s service-based solutions, the Azure Services Platform provides developers with the flexibility and ability to create applications while taking advantage of their existing skills, tools and technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio. Developers also can choose from a broad range of commercial or open source development tools and technologies, and access the Azure Services Platform using a variety of common Internet standards including HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).
Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:
• Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking
• Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting
• Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control
• Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites
• Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud
A limited community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform was made available to PDC2008 attendees. There were no promises on commercial availability or pricing although according to Ray Ozzie (via Nicholas Carr):
During its preview stage, Windows Azure will be available for free to developers. Once the platform launches commercially – and, according to Ozzie, Microsoft will be "intentionally conservative" in rolling out the full platform – pricing will be based on a user’s actual consumption of CPU time (per hour), bandwidth (per gigabyte), storage (per gigabyte) and transactions. The actual fee structure has not been released, though Ozzie says it will be "competitive with the marketplace" and will vary based on different available service levels.
There are more technical details at http://www.azure.com.
Today at its Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008), Microsoft Corp. rallied software developers by sharing the first full public demo of Windows 7. Windows 7 extends developers’ investments in Windows Vista and encourages the creation of new applications and services for the Windows platform. The company also delivered a pre-beta build of Windows 7 to PDC attendees and announced plans to release a full Windows 7 beta early next year.
In addition to Windows 7, PDC attendees received a pre-beta developer release of Windows Server 2008 R2, which will deliver many enhancements to Windows Server 2008, including live migration of virtual machines, power saving capabilities, and developer features to build and host next-generation applications and services.
Developers should go to http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/windows to learn more about developing for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
If you would like to kick Windows 7′s tires vicariously, Peter Bright has an overview of the user interface changes.
At Microsoft’s Windows Vista Blog, Corporate VP Mike Nash reveals that the actual name for the next release of the client Windows operating system which is codenamed "Windows 7" will surprisingly be "Windows 7":
And, as you probably know, since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, "Windows 7." But now is a good time to announce that we’ve decided to officially call the next version of Windows, "Windows 7."
As had been touted previously, Mike also wants to remind us that more Windows 7 details will be revealed at PDC08 and WinHEC08:
Today at a partner event in London, Steve Ballmer revealed that Microsoft will be releasing a Windows Cloud OS at the Microsoft Professional Developers conference scheduled for late October:
“We need a new operating system designed for the cloud and we will introduce one in about four weeks, we’ll even have a name to give you by then. But let’s just call it for the purposes of today ‘Windows Cloud’,” said Ballmer.
“Just like Windows Server looked a lot like Windows but with new properties, new characteristics and new features, so will Windows Cloud look a lot like Windows Server.”
Ballmer also hinted at what would be built into the new OS, including geo replication, how to design apps intended to commingle [we think he means appeasing regulators by providing more interoperability], management modelling and an SOA model, to effectively create a new platform.
“We’re not driving an agenda towards being service providers but we’ve gotta build a service that is Windows in the cloud,” admitted Ballmer.
Surely he means a new set of cloud services (some of which sound suspiciously like what we used to call Web Services) for Windows Server, but I guess we’ll have to wait for the PDC to find out what Mr. Ballmer is running on about.