Microsoft Azure has become the company's flagship cloud service. Designed to lead the predicted rise in Platform as a Service (PaaS), Azure lets users store data, write applications directly onto invisible virtual
machines and control those machines directly, all on Microsoft’s next-gen data center. The company even uses Azure for some of its own internal projects, but the platform is so new that even its proud papa doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
In just over a year, Microsoft's deep pockets and stated commitment to cloud strategies have helped establish Azure as a major player in the cloud development world. Microsoft is also fast adding infrastructure-themed features and new services in an attempt to keep Azure competitive with market leaders like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud and Rackspace Cloud.
This tutorial presents, through news and technical tips, an overview of everything on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.
What admins need to know about Azure
In this look at the Windows Azure lifecycle from an IT pro's perspective, find out how the worlds of cloud computing and IT departments can come together in Microsoft's cloud environment.
An introduction to developing for Microsoft Azure
The Azure platform is Microsoft’s first foray into the lucrative PaaS market. So what should prospective developers know before beginning application development on Azure?
How Microsoft Azure actually works
One of Microsoft’s premier technical fellows offered up a detailed overview of Azure’s innards, including its infrastructure and virtualization underpinnings.
Making sense of Windows Azure's VM role
Microsoft has introduced the new VM role for Windows Azure as a way to ease the migration of applications to cloud computing, but it’s not ideal for all organizations.
Getting started with Microsoft SQL Azure Database
With Microsoft’s SQL Azure Database service now available to the public, developers with Azure access must grasp the fundamentals of this new way to store data in the cloud.
Microsoft Azure's place in the cloud
Where does Microsoft Azure fit into the cloud computing world? Although Amazon and Google have been given a significant head start, the Azure platform’s unique batch of services and broad appeal should stand out over time.
Use Azure development storage from unit tests
There are two available database options for developers writing Windows Azure applications: SQL Azure and Azure Storage. Those that choose Azure Storage need to correctly initialize their storage services before unit tests begin to fail.
Will Microsoft Hyper-V take you to the cloud?
Now that Hyper-V virtual machines are able to migrate into the Windows Azure cloud, it’s important to understand how the Microsoft hypervisor is positioned to contribute in a cloud computing world.
SQL Azure development, inside and out
How does SQL Azure differ from regular SQL Server? Get an answer in this overview of SQL Azure development basics.
Microsoft Azure will be in Windows shops
In the wake of Bob Muglia’s departure from Microsoft, the company seeks new blood, and new strategies, to transition Windows Server customers to Azure and make a splash in the cloud market.
Microsoft adds more controls to Azure cloud
Several new cloud features, announced in October of 2010, took the Microsoft Azure platform one step closer to true "Infrastructure as a Service" status.
Microsoft smoothes path to Azure for Windows shops
Microsoft wants Azure to be the first name in cloud computing, but some enterprises are still skeptical. How will Microsoft remove any remaining cloud roadblocks?
Windows Azure's hidden compute costs
While some enterprises believe that Microsoft Azure's pricing model is perfectly reasonable, many developers say it is expensive enough to make smaller application development with the platform unattractive.
Microsoft talks about Azure’s Platform as a Service advances
As Pixar Animation Studios stated plans to run complex animation jobs on Azure, Microsoft reminded IT pros that Microsoft was fully committed to the future of Platform as a Service.
Microsoft Azure: Is it good for the VARs?
What do value-added resellers think about Azure? While the platform may end up paying off, some of the company’s partners feel that Microsoft has not followed through with promises of parity between partner-hosted and Microsoft-hosted deployment models.
Early Azure adopter sees financial benefits of cloud computing
When an energy consumption monitoring and management provider decided to move its infrastructure off-site, Azure turned out to offer the most applicable framework for the company’s storage needs.
As Microsoft Azure matures, pricing remains a problem
Numerous Microsoft Azure upgrades, including enhanced SQL Azure database support and additional tools, can’t disguise the fact that the cloud platform still faces numerous pricing and virtualization questions.
This was first published in February 2011