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  • Build a private Azure cloud with new Microsoft appliance

    Companies interested in taking advantage of what cloud computing has to offer, but reluctant to trust sensitive information off-site now have a new alternative with Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform appliance. Microsoft has teamed up with strategic hardware partners to develop an appliance-based approach allowing businesses to deploy and control their own cloud.

  • MS 2009 to-do list includes services, virtualization

    It has been a year of transition for Microsoft in 2008, with the biggest being co-founder and company icon Bill Gates stepping aside and Ray Ozzie assuming the role of chief software architect. On the technology side, Microsoft's services push dominated its agenda. Microsoft introduced Azure, its cloud operating system, and released online versions of Exchange and SharePoint, two of its most popular infrastructure servers. "Exchange Online could be a sleeper product," says Peter O'Kelly, principal analyst with O'Kelly Consulting. In addition, the company revealed it was developing for the first time Web-based online versions of popular Office applications. It's all a setup for what will define Microsoft's 2009. Here is a look at five key issues and a handful of honorable mentions that will be in the spotlight over the next 12 months.

  • Windows Azure Services Platform gives wings to .Net

    Microsoft intends its new Windows Azure Services Platform to be a serious cloud computing platform for a broad range of developers and scenarios, from lone developers starting up a new Web-based company on a shoestring to large teams of enterprise developers looking for high-performance, highly available, and scalable Web sites, computing, and storage. A few years out, Microsoft wants Azure to be seen as the preferred location for enterprise data, not as a business risk. It's off to a good start.

  • Making sense of Microsoft's Azure

    Last week, Microsoft announced its cloud-computing effort, called Azure. Fitting between Google's and's current offerings, it represents a very big step toward moving applications off the desktop and out of a corporation's own datacenters. Whether or not it will have any traction with corporate IT developers remains to be seen.