IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding Microsoft's developing cloud computing strategy
Learning about the Windows Azure hosting service
Exploring application development using the Windows Azure Platform
Viewing the applications and services that are part of Windows Live
Microsoft has a very extensive cloud computing portfolio under active development. Efforts to extend Microsoft products and third-party applications into the cloud are centered around adding more capabilities to existing Microsoft tools. Microsoft's approach is to view cloud applications as software plus service. In this model, the cloud is another platform and applications can run locally and access cloud services or run entirely in the cloud and be accessed by browsers using standard Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) protocols.
Microsoft calls their cloud operating system the Windows Azure Platform. You can think of Azure as a combination of virtualized infrastructure to which the .NET Framework has been added as a set of .NET Services. The Windows Azure service itself is a hosted environment of virtual machines enabled by a fabric called Windows Azure AppFabric. You can host your application on Azure and provision it with storage, growing it as you need it. Windows Azure service is an Infrastructure as a Service offering.
A number of services interoperate with Windows Azure, including SQL Azure (a version of SQL Server), SharePoint Services, Azure Dynamic CRM, and many of Windows Live ...