Microsoft has jumped totally into the war of Cloud computing. To compete with Google and Amazon, Microsoft introduced cloud computing with Windows Azure technology.
Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand, as with the electricity grid. It means, using the infrastructure of the company providing the cloud service.
Along with big Enterprises, Microsoft is also offering cloud computing for small & mid-size business companies. Small business users can buy Windows Azure account and install applications on it either by monthly or yearly subscription basis. These applications can be developed using ASP.Net, PHP etc.
To develop more efficient Azure based apps, download the Windows Azure SDK available on Microsoft website. Applications which are created in .Net using programming languages like C#, VB.Net, C++ can be hosted using Windows Azure account as well.
Further Microsoft has divided Windows Azure platform into various parts:
- Windows Azure: Hosting your applications on windows Azure provides you with great reliability, performance and 100% up-time. Any type of business applications will be stored and hosted on Windows Azure.
- SQL Azure: You could host your databases on Microsoft cloud services using SQL Azure. It provides a database management system based on cloud computing. SQL Azure data could be used with Windows Azure and Windows Azure App Fabric.
- Windows Azure AppFabric: Hosting your applications on Windows Azure and database on SQL Azure is not everything which needs to be done. It is very complex to run this applications on internet, so Microsoft has provided this service using Windows Azure AppFabric. It provides caching of the data which speeds up your application and access control using multiple ways to prove the digital identity. This could be done using Active Directory, Windows Live ID, Google Accounts, Facebook and more.
- Windows Azure Market Place: It is divided into Windows Data Marketplace which deals on with the data, while another part is Windows App Marketplace, where you could buy and sell you applications hosted on Windows Azure.
If you are thinking to buy any other hosting provider, please take a look rates and offers available to use Windows Azure as your primary Cloud hosting service.
Other offers also include, pay according to usage offer.