Every few years, Microsoft hosts a big conference, the Professional Developers Conference, to announce the next versions of Windows and .Net, among other things. This year should be called the cloud PDC, and I blogged about it live today.
9 a.m. Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie just announced Windows Azure, a.k.a. Project Red Dog, a.k.a. Windows-as-a-service. Consider it Microsoft's answer to Amazon EC2, plus. In fact, though Microsoft was already working on this project before Amazon announced EC2, Ozzie said that the entire industry owes credit to Amazon. It's an admission that Microsoft will really have to bring it if it hopes to beat out the platform-as-a-service pioneers.
9:20 a.m. Ease of use... that's one of the first keys to Windows Azure, it seems. First off, developers can use whatever tool they want to write the app, though they are limited (for now) to using .Net. For the next step, Microsoft is showing off something called Azure Services Developer Portal. Developers go to the site, click on a button to create a hosted service, choose a DNS name (at cloudapp.net), upload the config settings and the app package, click deploy, wait a few minutes, and then run the app. It really does seem pretty simple.
10:15 a.m. One thing to remember about PDC is how futuristic this stuff is. Azure is being released in an early test form to PDC attendees today and will open up more broadly in the "weeks and months ahead," Ray Ozzie says. It's unclear when the final release will be, but Ozzie says that testing "during the course of 2009" will determine final features and release dates.
As the conference continued, Microsoft talked up some apps, introduced something called Services Connector, and interestingly, discussed a few details about pricing. Read the rest of my 'live' notes here.
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