In this first post on Cloud Computing, I’ll cover Microsoft’s Cloud offerings; I’ll also explain some of the definitions about cloud computing you may have heard, as well as cover briefly what are good cloud apps. In the following two posts I’ll cover the Windows Azure Platform in more detail and round off with a post on the IT Pro role in this world.

First let’s set the ground work for where we are in the today. It’s interesting to consider that the technology that has been the buzz for the last 12 months and the one forming the current buzz are technologies that have been around a while. Technology comes in cycles. Virtualization can trace its roots back to the IBM Mainframes of the early to mid-70’s, only recent hardware advances have allowed servers to bring this technology to the forefront again. Likewise, “Cloud computing” has also been around a while, although the term “Cloud” only started to gain prominence in around 2007. Some examples of “Cloud computing” that you may use today are, Hotmail, Gmail, Skydrive, Live Mesh, Google Apps, Windows Live Messenger. These services range from those that have been around a while, Hotmail for example, to more recent additions such as Live Mesh. These are Software as a Service (SaaS) examples, I’ll mentions others later, but it’s important at this point to mention SaaS. SaaS applications are existing applications run and managed by a 3rd party organization that you use as if they were installed locally. Another good example is Google Apps, which provides a set of applications in the same category as the Microsoft Office applications.

...Steve Ballmer has talked about Microsoft’s “We’re all in” strategy. Everything Microsoft does from now on will have a cloud focus...

...Cloud computing is here, it’s been here a while and it’s also going to stick around...
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