Making sense of Microsoft's Azure

What app developers and enterprises need to know before signing up for Microsoft's cloud platform

This is no small issue, and my prediction is that most apps will need some major surgery before they can be cloudworthy. One wag already has placed his bets:Stephen Arnold writes in his blog, Beyond Search, "I remain baffled about SharePoint search running from Azure. In my experience, performance is a challenge when SharePoint runs locally, has resources, and has been tuned to the content. A generic SharePoint running from the cloud seems like an invitation to speeds similar to my Hayes 9600 baud dial-up modem." For those of you who are too young to remember, that means very slow.

While you are boning up on .Net, you might also want to get more familiar with Windows Server and SQL Server 2008, because many of the same technologies will be used for Azure. One thing that won't be in Azure is Hyper-V; apparently, we have another hypervisor to run the Azure VMs. Too bad -- I was just getting comfortable with Hyper-V myself. Nobody said this was gonna be easy.

The datacenter land grab: Enough for a secure frontier?

Speaking of servers, Microsoft is in the midst of a major land grab of its own, building out datacenters in multiple cities and beefing up the ones it already has. More good news is that Microsoft plans on using Azure to run its own hosted applications and is in the middle of moving them over to the platform (so far, only Live Mesh is there today). Right now, all Azure apps will run in its Washington datacenter, 150 miles east of Redmond, but you can bet this will change as more people use the service. At least Microsoft tells you this; Amazon treats as a state secret how many and where its S3 and EC2 datacenters are.

Of course, the big attraction for cloud computing is scalability, and Ozzie, in the same Cnet interview, has this to say about it: "Every company right now runs their own Web site, and they're always afraid of what might happen if it becomes too popular. This gives kind of an overdraft protection for the people who run their Web sites." I like that. But given the number of outages experienced by Amazon and Google over the past year, what happens when we have bank failures in Dodge?

Second, where do you want to homestead your apps? Just because you want to make use of the Microsoft services doesn't mean your apps have to reside on its servers. If you are happy with all the Google Goods, stay with that. If you like someone else's scripting language or toolset, do likewise.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags microsoft azurecloud computing

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Strom

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?