The Windows Azure™ Platform is an Internet-scale cloud services platform
hosted through Microsoft data centers. The platform includes the Windows Azure
operating system and a set of rich developer services.
The Windows Azure platform reduces the need for up-front technology
purchases, and it enables developers to quickly and easily create applications
running in the cloud by using their existing skills with the Microsoft Visual
Studio development environment and the Microsoft .NET Framework. The Windows
Azure platform simplifies maintaining and operating applications by providing
on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web and connected
applications. Infrastructure management is automated with a platform that is
designed for high availability and dynamic scaling to match usage needs with the
option of a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Azure provides an open, standards-based
and interoperable environment with support for multiple internet protocols,
including HTTP/HTTPS, REST, SOAP, and XML.
Windows® Azure is the operating system that serves as the development,
run-time, and control environment for the Windows Azure Platform. Windows Azure
handles load balancing and resource management and automatically manages the
life cycle of a service based on requirements that the owner of the service
established. A developer who wishes to deploy an application to Windows Azure
specifies the service topology, including the number of instances to deploy and
any configuration settings. Windows Azure deploys the service and manages
upgrades and failures to maintain availability.
The Windows Azure SDK gives developers the tools and APIs to develop, deploy,
and manage scalable services on Windows Azure.