Yesterday I went to Microsoft Azure DevCamp in its Silicon Valley office. Like other developer events organized by Microsoft, it featured awesome presentations with nice overviews and demos by top evangelists like James Conard, Wade Wegner, Nick Harris, etc.
As you’ve probably known, Microsoft has been betting heavily on cloud computing. Anyone who is interested in cloud computing simply cannot ignore its Windows Azure, which is a comprehensive platform for developing cloud applications. Note that, the focus is applications, not virtual machines as offered by Amazon and other IaaS providers.
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I read a book about Windows Azure a little while ago, but haven’t got my hands dirty because I was still using Windows XP by then. The DevCamp event got me back to the topic again. I won’t summarize what I learnt from the presentations here, but list some key terms and technologies here: Windows Azure Compute (roles: Web, Worker, Virtual Machine), Windows Azure Storage (Blobs / Drives / Tables / Queues), SQL Azure, Service Bus, Windows Azure Connectivity, Azure Marketplace, Access Control, Caching, CDN, Traffic Manager. I hope you are not confused with these without further explanations. If you are, here is a link to the Windows Azure Home which can
help clarify everything the services, features, and prices.
I went back today for the hands-on labs, but couldn’t get my laptop’s wireless adapter work. Therefore I copied the courseware, and got a card with free trial account lasting for 5 days. I think that will keep me busy for a week.
As I checked the site, anyone can sign up a free trial, which allows you to run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for free for the first 90 days of your trial. The Get Started page has pretty much all you need to, well, get started.
Last but not the least, Windows Azure does not limit its support only to Microsoft .NET. It also supports other popular stacks like Java, PHP.