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Windows Azure: What's Ahead in 2011?

Microsoft's Windows Azure roadmap will go into full gear this year, according toDirections on Microsoft, an independent analyst of Microsoft technology and strategy. In a web conference today, Rob Sanfilippo, a research vice president for Directions on Microsoft, surveyed the Windows Azure landscape for 2011, offering his timeline for developments in Windows Azure and its associated components (SQL Azure, AppFabric, Windows Azure Marketplace, and others) this year and beyond. Some of the timeframes in the roadmap are actual, and others are based on Directions on Microsoft estimates.

Sanfilippo laid out the roadmap for various components within these main areas of Azure: Windows Azure, SQL Azure, AppFabric, Windows Azure Marketplace, and Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure. Here are some highlights of the roadmap for each of these areas:

Windows Azure. All the components comprising Windows Azure are expected to be available by the second half of 2011. These include the following:

  • Virtual machine (VM) roles: Windows Server 2008 R2 support
  • VM roles: Windows Server 2003, 2008 SP2 support
  • VM roles: Build VM role images in the cloud
  • Server Application Virtualization
  • Extra Small compute instance
  • Windows Azure Connect (code-named Sydney)
  • Content delivery network (CDN) SSL delivery
  • Improved global CDN connectivity
  • CDN dynamic content caching
  • Improved Java enablement

Sanfilippo noted Azure's support for development platforms in addition to .NET: PHP, Ruby, and Java--and open source SDKs such as Eclipse.

SQL Azure. Database Manager (code-named Houston), Reporting, and Data Sync (code-named Huron) are all currently in CTP. Database Manager will have a final release date in the second half of 2011, and the other two SQL Azure components should be available in final form in the first half of this year.

AppFabric. Caching (code-named Velocity) and Service Bus enhancements are in CTP now, with expected final availability in the first half of 2011. Composition Model and Composite App Service are in CTP now, with no date given on expected availability.

Windows Azure Marketplace is in beta now; Directions on Microsoft estimates that the marketplace will be available in final form the first half of this year.

Team Foundation Server (TFS) on Windows Azure. The online version of TFS will be in CTP the second half of this year. Sanfilippo expects final availability sometime in 2012.

Sanfilippo polled briefing participants on their Windows Azure plans for 2011. Forty-nine percent of responses indicated that participants either had already deployed Azure in their organization (15 percent) or were planning to do so in 2011 (34 percent). Thirty percent indicated they would deploy Azure within three years.

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