For those new to cloud computing, particularly with Microsoft, you might be wondering what exactly Windows Azure is all about. Simply put, Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing operating system.
The idea behind Windows Azure is to make management of web applications over the net much more easier. The hosting and management solution behind Azure handled by Microsoft’s own data centers.
Azure is a very flexible platform and can be used to distribute, create or even upgrade existing web apps while cutting down on expenses. Best of all, it supports a wide variety of standards and programming languages. Some examples include XML, REST, Eclipse, Ruby, Python, PHP and SOAP. As you can see, it is very open to multiple different kinds of apps– which means it plays nice with many different platforms.
The technology was first announced in 2008 and in recent times has started to gain more and more traction among businesses. In fact, even Norad recently made the switch over to Bing Maps and Windows Azure technology for their “Santa Tracking” efforts after partnering with Google for years to make the effort happen.
While it is several years old, it is starting to see amazing growth of late. Why? More than likely because Microsoft has opened the platform up to make it play much nicer with 3rd party ecosystems including iOS.
In fact, earlier this month Microsoft updated Windows Azure to add support for push notifications in iOS apps that utilize Azure technology for cloud management. The push notification technology makes use of Apple’s existing APNS standard.
For more information on getting started with Windows Azure, head over to Microsoft’s web page to learn more.