Microsoft goes head to head with Amazon in the cloud computing arena

Windows Azure

Lookout Amazon, Microsoft has released its new cloud computing services today and aims to match Amazon's low prices in order to win the cloud computing market. Microsoft has rolled out its Windows Azure Infrastructure Services hybrid cloud platform after over nine months of testing.

Microsoft will give 1-year warning before killing or changing cloud services

Microsoft will give cloud customers a minimum of 12 months' notice before discontinuing online services, or making any "disruptive" changes or upgrades, in an effort to standardize the support life cycle for cloud-based software.

Announced this week, the new policy ensures that Windows Azure and Office 365 customers can plan for changes that would eliminate services, take them temporarily offline or require an overhaul of management practices...

Where are those Windows Azure Appliances?

Mary Jo Foley: In July 2010, Microsoft took the wraps off its plans for the Windows Azure Appliance, a kind of "private-cloud-in-a-box" available from select Microsoft partners. At that time, company officials said that OEMs including HP, Dell and Fujitsu would have Windows Azure Appliances in production and available to customers by the end of 2010.

We're half way through January 2011, but the promised Azure Appliances have yet to materialize...

Microsoft takes Windows Azure to the next level

Microsoft continues adding more features to Windows Azure creating a worthy alternative to many of the Cloud hosting sites. The latest five include:

  • Full Administrative Access
  • Full IIS Access
  • Remote Desktop
  • Windows Azure Connect
  • VM Role

Of significance is the arrival of the beta for hosting Virtual Machines based on Windows Server 2008 R2. This will provide users greater flexibility in hosting their own custom apps and services on Microsoft's platform. Mary Jo Foley has further coverage of the new features...

New Release of Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse/PHP and new tutorial

Today the Microsoft Interoperability Technical Strategy team is shipping a new Community Technology Preview (October 2010 CTP) of the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse for PHP. This Eclipse plug-in provides PHP developers using Eclipse with tools to create and deploy web applications targeting Windows Azure.

For more information about the release check out Brian Swan’s tutorial:  Using the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse with PHP.