Windows Azure

Sriram Krishnan wanted to defrag the room, it was a jam packed house like a tin of binary sardines, all for a new color from Microsoft, Windows Azure. Sriram Krishnan of Microsoft spoke at the Silicon Valley Codecamp 2008 on Microsoft’s new cloud computing initiative. From the onset Sriram warned the audience that the technology is nascent, if the demo breaks, his colleague, a technologist evangelist, had to do one push up for each demo that crashed.

A minute of the talk was devoted on how to pronounce azure and Sriram joked how middle management at Microsoft distributed WAV files with the correct pronunciation. After we all had our pronunciation down, Sriram reminded the audience that the hardest thing about web development is not the coding, it is provisioning equipment, keeping them up to date, maintained, and well oiled, setting up load balancers, databases, routers, security, updates and upgrades, etc. Cloud initiatives like Windows Azure and Google’s App Engine remove the system administrator from the startup equation. With Windows Azure you can create application running on Microsoft’s infrastructure.

Windows Azure seems fairly familiar to App Engine, except that Azure has a lot more tooling and utilities to help in development. As you can imagine, many of the tools available are based around Visual Studio.

Sriram said that many of the configuration of Windows Azure application are done in config files, he said “what we learned over several years is that the registry in the data center is an evil, evil thing.”

Even though Azure ware recently announced at PDC2008, the SDK is already available to play with.

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