Today at PDC, Microsoft has made some announcements which brings Microsoft up to the speed with Amazon’s offerings. Though Amazon still has the upper hand in the cloud market, Microsoft has clearly shown that they are serious about capturing the cloud market. Since I am still in the PDC Keynote and watching their demo, I am just going to list out the new features leaving out the analysis for another day.
Some of the new announcements made today include
- Support for Windows Server 2008 R2 VHDs on Windows #Azure. Support for 2003 and 2008 SP2 coming next year
- Extra small instances costing $0.05 per hour (a response to Amazon Micro Instances)
- Full IIS. It means that you can now run multiple websites in the same Windows Azure web role (again bringing parity with EC2)
- The idea of VM as in EC2 now comes to Azure
- Better Admin panel
- Windows Azure Connect, an IP level connectivity between Windows Azure cloud and on premise resources
- Enhanced Access Control Service
- App Fabric caching service
- Service bus enhancement
- SQL reports available as a multi-tenant service
- Data sync for SQL Azure
- New Windows Azure Diagnostic Utility that allows users to see the deployment time and last reboot
- Update: Windows Azure Marketplace. Data Market (previously Project Dallas) is available today itself
- Update: App Fabric composition service. A very interesting feature which is usually available from third party providers on other clouds
The features that were demoed today will be available by the end of this year.
Some initial thoughts
Even though I don’t have time to fully grasp today’s announcements, here are my early thoughts.
- Even though I knew about VM level controls creeping into Windows Azure, I am still split on whether I liked their move from a PaaS like offering to more IaaS like offering. I would have preferred the earlier incarnation of Windows Azure to stay but I guess their customers want more control over their resources on the cloud. Plus, it allows your existing applications to easily run on Azure
- Of course, I like the idea of full IIS and I guess they could do this because they could move down a bit on the stack (as mentioned in the above point)
- Extra small instance is an interesting move knowing the kind of positive review Amazon got.
Some of the announcements that came out today are really interesting and as Bob Muglia said, most of the feature requests came from the developers using Windows Azure.
- Microsoft provides updated cloud roadmap, technologies to developers (zdnet.com)
- Silicon Alley Insider: Ballmer Touts IE, Phones, Azure To Developers (MSFT) (businessinsider.com)
- PDC10: New features in Azure for VM, app marketplace, low cost package (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Quest Software’s Azure Services (channel9.msdn.com)