What does Windows Azure mean for developers and IT professionals? To answer that question, my colleague, Sean Deuby, technical director for Windows IT Pro, recently sat down with Mark Russinovich, a Microsoft technical fellow who works with the Microsoft Azure team. For developers, here's part of what Russinovich has to say about why Azure is important:
"...the platform makes it really easy to write a cloud or a 24 x 7, highly available, highly elastic application. That’s what Azure is about--and PaaS from an Azure perspective for the compute part of it makes it almost brain-dead simple to write an app that’s multi-tier, multi-instance, and has this ability to scale up and down very quickly and be able to stay up 24 x 7 even in the face of hardware failures or configuration updates, or updates of the service to new versions.
" there’s compute PaaS, which is what Azure has, and then there’s the building-block Platform as a Service, which is all the other services that cloud applications will use to implement functionality for it. If you look at on-premises server applications, a lot of times they have a database back end—which is stood up with a SQL Server instance or pair of instances if you want high availability on the data center. With a cloud, looking at a cloud application, it’s using the same kind of PaaS building blocks to provide that functionality; in this case it would be SQL Azure. And the characteristics I talk about for compute cloud applications—24 x 7, highly available, highly elastic—apply to those as well. And you pay only for what you use, rather than overprovision, which is another big problem that on-premises has.
"This is the problem where if you’re building your own data center and you’re deploying your apps to it, to determine how much hardware you need, you look at the app and ask, “What’s the maximum load this app is going to have?” Around Christmas, it’s like 100 times what it is normally, so we need 100 times the hardware that we do for everyday operations. And in the cloud, it’s because of this pay-as-you-go, highly elastic nature, you pay for the 1 percent you use on a daily basis, and around the holidays you scale it up to 100 times and you pay for that for the time that you need it. Then you just go back down afterwards, instead of having all this wasted capacity."
You can read the full interview with Mark Russinovich here.
And be sure to check out these other Azure and cloud computing resources, on DevProConnections and our sister sites, Windows IT Pro and Cloud IT Pro.
Cloud IT Pro: Website for technology professionals working with the cloud Cloud Development
The Future of WCF Services and Windows Azure
Hosting WCF Services on Azure 101
Consolidating Data Centers and Cutting Costs with Windows Azure
Windows Azure Developer Tips and Tricks
A Service Level Agreement: Your Best Friend in the Cloud
Expert Tips for Working with Window Azure Blob Storage and Silverlight