Windows Azure – Cash cow for Microsoft ?

With Microsoft ready to launch its Windows Azure service in India, the debate on who will lead the cloud computing market has started heating up. Cloud computing basically allows users to access applications and services through the Internet. The simplest example is the Microsoft Word application on your desktop vs. an online document that you can create on Google docs. Microsoft Word requires your computer’s processor and operating system to run, it requires your computers hard drive to store the document and it requires your email service to share with other users. On the other hand, Google docs requires any basic computer to be connected to the Internet, the rest of the functions are handled by the Google Cloud. You would have to buy Microsoft Word to be able to use it and all users buying Microsoft Word would pay the same amount, irrespective of how much you used it. On a cloud, you can pay as and when you use a feature, the charges also depend on your usage. As the reach and speed of internet access increases, users prefer that less work is done on the computers and more over the Internet, that’s where Clouds come in. A cloud would normally include an inbuilt operating system, processing power, storage space and features to share etc, directly accessible by users through the internet. Currently, the largest players in the cloud computing segment includes Amazon, Google, IBM, and VMWare.

Microsoft had already unveiled it’s Online services that provided business or enterprise users to pay from $10 per month onwards to get access to host of services like Exchange, Office Live Meeting etc. Now, it is launching Windows Azure – a cloud based software development and delivery platform. The Windows Azure platform allows developers to use their existing Visual Studio or .net expertise in directly building applications on the Windows Azure cloud.

Microsoft would normally take years to catch up with cloud computing leaders like Amazon or Google. What Windows Azure does is to bring to the Microsoft cloud computing environment a whole new segment of software developers. If the developers find the Windows Azure platform attractive, Windows Azure could turn out to be the new cash cow Microsoft is looking for.

More information on Windows Azure is available here :

A very nice comparison of Cloud Computing platforms is here :

Posted via email from Anil Sharma

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