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Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Computing Service

Microsoft Azure offers cloud computing SaaS as well as a pay-as-you-go infrastructure usage. Azure essentially is infrastructure as a service that enables users to only utilize infrastructure resources as they are needed. Windows Azure offers cloud computing in the .NET platform and offers Microsoft .NET Services, Microsoft SQL Services, Microsoft Online Services, SharePoint Services, and Dynamics CRM Services. In comparison to other cloud computing services such as Amazon EC2, GoGrid, and Google App Engine, Microsoft Windows Azure has a high level of security in addition to a 99.95% compute reliability and 99.9% role instance and storage reliability.


Windows Azure Azure Software as a Service (SaaS)

Microsoft has integrated services such as SharePoint and CRM that are offered with its cloud computing service Azure in order to make the online applications most frequently used by businesses readily available on a cloud infrastructure. Microsoft utilizes a unique server balancing act that enables users to switch to another server backup if one service becomes unavailable. Fabric Controller technology reroutes work instantaneously if a server goes down, resulting in 99.9% - 99.95% uptime.

Although Microsoft Azure basic package supports the .NET environment, Microsoft Business Edition supports more platforms and can be used with both Microsoft technologies in conjunction with Mac and other platforms. Microsoft may have entered the Cloud Computing arena later in the game, but the superior service they offer was well worth the wait.

With a powerful SQL Azure database coupled with competitive pricing and enterprise scalability, Azure already stacks up to the other existing Cloud Computing services and gives them a run for their computing.

Azure Pricing Guide

Pure pay-as-you-go:
$0.12 per hour for computing
$0.15 per gigabytes for storage
$0.10 per 10,000 storage transactions

SQL Azure database:
$9.99 - basic Web edition (1 gigabyte relational database)
$99.99 - Business Edition (10 gigabytes database)

Network bandwidth:
$0.10-$0.15 per gigabyte 

Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Computing Case Study

Microsoft's Azure is still technically in the beta phase, but there are case studies available that detail the results that Microsoft Cloud Computing is already having on businesses that are utilizing the service. Here is an example of a case study that demonstrates the impact that Azure had for the IT Services company Epicor:

Epicor | Profile: $480 Million, private company that offers software solutions for small to mid-size companies in the manufacturing, distribution, service, retail, and hospitality industries.

What did Azure do for Epicor?: Azure significantly cut costs for the company by lowering their development costs. It allowed them to offer their customers internet-based services and build on their developers’ familiarity with the Microsoft .NET Framework. Download a PDF of the Case Study. (Requires Adobe PDF Reader)

  • Epicor also had the capability to publish the application's search indexes in the cloud so remote users can run the application on a laptop or mobile device to get into the system—instead they have VPN access.
  • By developing its new ERP application on Azure, Epicor was able to lower its development costs and offer its customers internet-based services.
  • Azure allowed Epicor to build an Enterprise Search on the internet without having to build out data center environments, which made for much lower development overhead.

 

Microsoft Online Services

Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Server and Tools Business.
On Microsoft Azure: “...services are going to have a major impact on businesses. And with Microsoft's announcement of Azure, what you can count on is that Microsoft is delivering a next-generation services platform that takes and builds on the investments that customers already have in Windows and .NET. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to build these next generation service applications, leveraging the skill sets they already have. It's similar to what we’ve done in the past as we’ve helped customers transition through new application platforms like client server, the web, or the introduction of SOA...”

Related Cloud Computing Links

GoGrid Cloud Computing
Amazon EC2 Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing
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