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Pie In the Sky : Microsoft Announces Azure Cloud Computing Platform and Shipping Container Datacenters

It is now official: Microsoft is taking cloud computing seriously as it announced the Azure Services Platform at the current Professional Developers Conference 2008 in Palermo, California.

The project was officially unveiled by Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie, during a keynote speech that sees Microsoft embrace Cloud computing as extensively as it did for Internet back in the days of Windows 95, stating that "Windows Azure is a new Windows offering in the Web tier of computing, a significant extension in the company's family of platforms"

Azure, which is the colour of sky on a bright clear day according to Wikipedia, will be available with the forthcoming Windows 7 Operating system and is compatible with Microsoft's other platforms like the .Net Framework and Visual Studio.

Azure was previously known as Strata and came under the limelight on the 9th of October when Microsoft let the word out on the PDC 2008 sessions page.

Ultimately, as Paul Thurrott from WindowsITPro writes (opens in new tab), Windows Azure will allow a generation of developers to build next generation applications that can scale from the smartphone to PC, datacenter and the Internet Cloud.

A limited community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform was initially made available to developers in attendance at PDC2008, giving them a chance to try out its features and functions and plan for their own future development.

Microsoft is also exploring the use of shipping containers "as flexible and portable housing for servers, providing 10 times the density and dramatic savings in power usage", long after Google and Sun had announced similar plans.

You can read more about Azure here (opens in new tab).

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.