At PDC: Microsoft unveils Azure cloud computing platform, discloses "Dallas" online marketplace for

At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie said Azure will be released in January 21010. Microsoft also announced the preview of its new Data as a Service offering, codenamed Dallas.

Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform was front and center today at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC), as company Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie said a full rollout of the pivotal new platform is slated for January 2010. In February, a formal billing system will mark the true commercial release of Azure.

"We now support any kind of Windows code and programming model, multi-tier service design patterns supporting flexible binding and arbitrary relationships between roles," Ozzie said.

A chief architect at Microsoft since shortly before company founder Bill Gates' retirement, Notes platform creator Ozzie has continually stressed the importance of cloud computing in the future of software development. In the future, he contended, televisions, computers and cell phones will all rely on the cloud for on-demand service delivery.

Azure developers will be able to use non-Microsoft open source FastCGI, Tomcat, Memcached and MySQL technologies, said Ozzie. He said Windows Azure Storage will soon feature geo-replication of storage across three pairs of datacenters to start: Chicago and San Antonio in North America, Dublin and Amsterdam in Europe and Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia.

Windows Azure Storage will also have features such as entity group transactions, snapshots, custom domain names, shared access signatures, block BLOBs and a new storage type called the "X Drive." The X Drive is an Azure storage drive that can be mounted as a regular NTFS volume.

Azure does Dallas Data as a Service
At PDC, Ozzie announced the Community Technology Preview (CTP) of its new Data as a Service (DaaS) offering, codenamed "Dallas." Dallas will allow developers to insert data from public and private sources into their cloud-based applications.

Datasets currently available through Dallas include those from the Associated Press, Citysearch, DATA.gov, ESRI, and others.

Via live video feed, Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra told attendees how the federal government is working to democratize data. He pointed to the example of NASA, who has already started to provide data from its Mars rover through Azure.

Kundra urged Azure developers to use this data to build applications for the betterment of the republic in industries like healthcare, jobs, education and energy.

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