Why Read This
Microsoft finally took the wraps off its hosted platform at the end of October 2008. The platform is actually a portfolio that includes existing hosted services including SQL Services as well as a new operating system called Windows Azure. Application development managers should view Azure as a brand new platform rather than an evolution of today's platforms — and they should not view the Azure Services Platform as an alternative for rehosting existing .NET applications. Azure is early in its development (and available only in prebeta form) and so is appropriate only for skills development and experimentation during the next year. Teams with immediate needs for "platform-as-a-service" (PaaS) offerings will find more pragmatic options for Windows applications from Amazon Web Services LLC and other hosting providers as well as from non-Windows providers such as salesforce.com.