It has been just over a year since Microsoft announced about their Cloud Computing platform, Windows Azure. This year’s PDC is just around the corner and Azure is going to dominate the event. You can check out some of the sessions you can expect in this year’s event. For those who were in deep coma during the past year or so, I will quote the Windows Azure site for a brief introduction.
Windows® Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft® datacenters.
Windows Azure is an open platform that supports Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, XML, and PHP.
I was never excited about anything Microsoft offered in the past but I am really excited about their Cloud initiatives. I have a strong feeling that it has a disruptive potential, in spite of my own feeling that Microsoft is not pushing it harder. In fact, their aggressive pricing has already forced Amazon to bring down their pricing on EC2. A truly competitive cloud marketplace is good for customers and impact of these pricing can be felt all through the cloud ecosystem.
While talking to companies who are interested in exploring the cloud based infrastructure, I realized that most of them are a bit confused about the TCO savings and want to have a clear idea on the kind of value they can get with the move to clouds. Microsoft has announced a TCO calculator cum report generator which offers a detailed take on the kind of cost savings one can expect when they move from an in-house virtualized datacenter to Azure cloud. It may not accurately predict the TCO but it offers a good estimate on the kind of savings one can expect. It is a very good tool for companies looking to move their IT infrastructure to Azure cloud.