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Microsoft Floats Cloud Plan

Yesterday, at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, Ray Ozzie announced Azure, a new system to create internal and external clouds and link them together.

Details were a bit sketchy, but here's how I understand it: Azure is an operating system of sorts because it manages and runs applications, which in this case exist in some sort of cloud. The platform, at this point, is aimed at developers who can use .NET and Visual Studio to build these apps.

VMware, with its Virtual Datacenter Operating System, announced something conceptually similar a month or two back. Here, IT uses virtualization to turn existing apps into cloud services which can run in your own datacenter or out in an external cloud -- or a mix of the two.

One key difference is that Microsoft already has massive datacenters and plans to build more. This way, Microsoft can house your apps and store your files so they're available no matter where you are or what device you're using.

I like the idea of having my data safe and always available. The only downside as an end user is: Who controls the files? I like to have ownership of the files I create, and don't want somebody controlling my access. And I would never want them taken away.

What do you make of all this, and are you going to give the preview of Azure a try? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on October 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM