I just got back from the PDC 2008 in Los Angeles where Microsoft unveiled their plans for Windows Azure. Azure is their answer to computing in the cloud.
After having spent nearly an hour at the Azure desk, speaking with a Group Program Manager from Microsoft, I was approached by a CNET news reporter and asked if I would be willing to comment on Azure. They were looking for developer reaction to the announcement. Of course I said yes.
The questions (and subsequent article) seemed like they were looking to find a negative angle to explore, but I don't think they were able to find one. In the end, I think the article came out reasonably fair.
Azure has some challenges ahead, as were conceded by Ray Ozzie. There will be companies who will not adopt computing in the cloud and trusting Microsoft is an issue for some. However, I think that like many other technologies, it is right for some and not others. Azure offers some definite benefits, and I for one, welcome the choice, regardless of whether or not it is right for my projects.
Not all of my comments were included in the article of course. We chatted for probably 5 or 10 minutes, and only a soundbite quote made it into the article. The quote is ok... it is neither overly positive or negative. The intent of the quote was meant to be positive. Prior to the quote that was used, I indicated that I would be evaluating Azure with an open mind for our projects. I said that there were lots of third party hosting companies located in North America, and it was common for companies to pay for hosting, thereby placing their intellectual property into the hands of others and that requires a degree of trust.
The quote that made it into the article followed this, which basically said that I don't see much difference between paying for hosting with another company and paying for hosting within the Microsoft Windows Azure platform. In fact, it appears that there would be additional benefits to the Azure platform than just simple hosting, including a number of open standards based framework services.
Overall, I was glad to be interviewed. It was fun. You can read the full article here:
View from my chair at the keynote where Ray Ozzie announced Windows Azure.