Windows Azure: Everything in the cloud

These days we are seeing the dawn of a new computing generation, that is the 5th generation of computing. The first one were monolithic applications, then came the Client-Server and tiered applications, and currently we are building Web-based and SOA applications, today, the new buzzwords are Services and Cloud computing.

The past week, on PDC (Professional Developers Conference) event, Microsoft announced Windows Azure, a big initiative on the new computing generation. Windows Azure is a “cloud services operating system”, this is, a platform for developing, hosting and managing applications and services in the cloud. Being in the cloud, means that it is hosted on and available from internet, in this case, the hosting service is provided by Microsoft’s datacenters.

But that is not all, Windows Azure is just the lowest level of the Azure Services Platform, this platform includes several services running over Windows Azure, like:

  • Live Services: allows to create rich applications to run on a variety of platforms and devices.
  • .NET Services: includes:
    • Service Bus: provides a secure, standards-based messaging infrastructure to communicate application components even across organizational boundaries.
    • Workflow Service: hosts and runs workflows on the clouds and provides specialized activities for communication using HTTP and Service Bus.
    • Access Control: integrates standards-based identity providers, including enterprise directories and web identity systems such as Windows Live ID.
  • SQL Services: Stores data in the cloud using ACE structure (Authority, Container, Entity), the entities are flexibles and you can access the data using several standards-based interfaces (SOAP, REST, …).

Being part of this extraordinary family that we call Southworks, gave me the opportunity to learnt about these new technologies and participate in the development of a new set of Hands-On Labs about Azure Services Platform for the PDC event. For downloading this HOL go to: Azure Services Training Kit – PDC Preview.

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