Azure leads Microsoft into the clouds

During Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie announced Windows Azure, an online service platform likened to that of Google and Amazon. According to Ars Technica and Infoworld, it includes a “virtualized computing, scalable storage, and an automated service management system”, bringing together Windows Live Services, .Net Services, SQL Services, SharePoint Services and Dynamics CRM Services under one environment.

Although in its early stages, reports suggest that Windows Live Mesh and the next generation of Live Meeting are already built on the services. It has also been reported the next version of Microsoft Office, due in 2010, will be available online too. Cnet has a video interview with Ozzie, where he discusses the operating system as a service.

While this was all going on, Microsoft also announced a new service – the Live Framework. Cnet describes the product as the “developer part of Live Mesh”, and is built on top of the core layer of Windows Azure. Sample applications for the framework included a version of the BBC iPlayer which allowed users to see what their friends were watching at the same time; Corporate Vice President David Treadwell said, however, that “It's not ready for shipping a production app.”

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