Windows Azure | Software Integration | Cloud Migration
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Windows Azure Platform Overview - With the advent of the cloud computing platform, we are experiencing a paradigm shift in the development spectrum, where cloud capabilities are also considered when designing and building new applications. The key levers influencing this shift in hosting applications from on-premise to cloud are flexibility, scalability, reduced capital expenses, 24 x 7 availability, geographical access and lower total cost of ownership. However, it is evident that not all applications are ready to be placed in the cloud. Instead seasonal, nonmission critical applications that are not driven by strict compliance or regulatory needs are the most immediate set of applications that can be moved to the cloud. Microsoft’s Windows Azure Platform provides a familiar and flexible environment to drive and support specific needs and services of the development team, customers and users. The Windows Azure platform provides a uniform experience as it enables developers and users to use existing Microsoft technologies to develop or use applications on-premise or in the cloud.
In a nutshell, Windows Azure can be defined as a cloud operating system with the ability to host services and manage them centrally. This provides a wide range of capabilities in the form of computing service to run applications, storage services and creating a framework that supports several applications. Windows Azure Platform lays the foundation for running applications and storing data on the cloud. Windows Azure Platform contains computer service, storage service and fabric. Computer service enables applications to run
in the cloud; storage service provides storage for content types and the fabric provides a framework to manage and monitor the applications running in cloud. Building applications using the Windows Azure platform is not very complicated as developers can write familiar .NET code using Visual studio to build applications, which have the capability to run in the cloud. Developers can completely leverage their existing knowledge of .NET, Workflow Foundation, Windows Communication foundation, SharePoint, Windows Live and SQL Server to build cloud applications. The only difference will be the way applications need to be deployed and hosted (in the cloud) and the execution environment of the applications (on the development fabric or in the cloud fabric).
For building large-scale cloud-based applications on Azure platform, many tools and service offerings can be used and leveraged. For instance, Windows Azure AppFabric services can be used for security and connectivity, SQL Azure for data storage and retrieval from cloud relational data store and other mash-up services can be exploited for enabling data synchronization from services, applications and devices. The implementation methodology follows the simple practice of modeling the services and decides if either a completely new application needs to be developed or if the application can be composed through other mash-up services or channels. This is to build a new service to support market needs or consume the services which are already available in the marketplace. For a quicker method, the consumption of services can be leveraged through the Windows Azure Marketplace.
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