Windows Azure: Microsoft’s Cloud Launches Today
Let’s clarify that headline a little: Windows Azure has been available through an extended technology preview for several months. Today, though, Microsoft’s new cloud computing platform debuts as a full, paid service. Here’s what VARs need to know.
The VAR Guy has talked a lot about Windows Azure’s history and capabilities, but here’s a quick primer. Microsoft announced Windows Azure back at the Professional Developer Conference 2008. The software giant positioned Azure as a cloud platform based on familiar Windows architecture. Today marks the end of a free technology preview.
During that preview phase, Microsoft was able to recruit an impressive number of ISVs (independent software vendors) to its cloud cause, probably due to the fact that Azure supports application development in the familiar .NET frameworks, as well as most other popular programming languages including Java, Ruby, PHP, and Python. Microsoft has even embraced open source ventures like SugarCRM and MySQL.
I had the chance to talk to ERP/CRM software as a service (SaaS) vendor Acumatica and reseller BrainSell, which just completed their very first client deployment on an Azure-based ERP solution. Acumatica CEO Ezequiel Steiner and BrainSell President Jim Ward both said that transitioning to Azure was “seamless,” which is exactly what most potential resellers considering an Azure move will want to hear.
“They have a strong solution and infrastructure,” Steiner said.
From where I’m standing, it’s as unwise as ever to bet against Microsoft. As I’ve noted before, Microsoft seems to be taking their entrance into the cloud seriously — and when Microsoft is serious, they play to win.
Azure’s now competing head-to-head with industry pioneer Amazon Web Services, and while we may mock Windows mercilessly for Patch Tuesday and the Blue Screen of Death, the brand still carries a lot of weight in the IT world.
The only thing to do now is wait and see how much VARs and the channel at large buy what Azure is selling. Watch The VAR Guy for more on Azure as we get past its launch point.