Digging into Windows Azure Cloud and Its Capabilities

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In the wake of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2013, it’s clearer than ever that Windows Azure has become one of the top cloud platforms for ISVs and enterprise product companies to tap for their cloud-based priorities. I say clearer than ever because Microsoft said so at WPC – that is, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer declared the company is morphing from its legacy licensed software model into a “devices and services” company.

Microsoft is pouring its organizational focus and energy into driving Window’s Azure’s growth and, in turn, persuade organizations and companies to move off premise and into the cloud.

So with an eye to providing a post-WPC13 refresh of Windows Azure and its characteristics, we recently hosted a webinar called Windows Azure: Tapping its Capabilities to Fuel Your Company’s Growth.

In our webinar, Motifworks CEO, Nitin Agarwal, presents a practical, easy-to-follow guide on how you can get your applications onto Windows Azure and take advantage of the cloud’s efficiencies. As Nitin says, Windows Azure is “truly a cloud on your own terms.” Windows Azure can be used in a variety of ways – starting with Software as a Service (SaaS). Consider Microsoft’s own Office365 and CRM Online as good SaaS examples among many others.

Next is Platform as a Service (PaaS) – which is one of Windows Azure original core offerings. For ISVs and enterprise companies especially, PaaS gives you an easy way to stay focused on your application and data – and not waste time fretting about your infrastructure and server management. With Windows Azure PaaS, you get an out-of-the-box, pre-configured, virtualized application server environment.

Then there’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Only made available this past April, this offering vaulted Windows Azure into the cloud big leagues. As with PaaS, if you’re getting ready to develop your app or launch a new product within your enterprise company, Windows Azure’s IaaS offering allows you to move your existing applications to Windows Azure in almost no time at all. Azure’s IaaS supports virtual machines (VM) in the cloud using the open, industry-standard VHD and using new high memory VM instances (28GB/4 core and 56 GB/8 core) to run your most demanding workloads.

In addition, Windows Azure offers a “hybrid” cloud capability wherein Azure becomes an extension of your on-premise data center. Even if your company is more comfortable staying with your own servers (or needs to do so due to compliance or security requirements), Windows Azure anticipated that there would be demand for a way to tap the benefits of both on-prem and cloud. With Azure’s hybrid option, you combine the cloud’s power and nearly unlimited resources with your on-premise systems.

To sum up, we think of Windows Azure and its approach to the cloud as the  power of “and.” In other words, it’s not just about IaaS or PaaS. It’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios. Most companies don’t want to just swap out all of their current infrastructure and go to the cloud. They want the strengths of their on-premise environments in addition to having a presence in the cloud. As Nitin says in our webinar, “the cloud should be an enabler for innovation and an extension of your organization’s IT fabric without compromising the governance requirements.”

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