Microsoft confirms: Azure will be a IaaS cloud too

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At the end of September published an article suggesting that Microsoft would soon extend the capabilities of Azure to become an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud, able to compete against Amazon EC2, the Rackspace Cloud and others.

Last week, during the PCD 2009 conference, the company’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie confirmed it’s the case, mentioning the capability to move a virtual machine in the cloud.

The same day, in an interview to CNET News, Ozzie further acknowledged that Azure will work as PaaS and IaaS cloud:

CNET: You talked about the cloud as being early days. And I’m curious, there are some folks that have been playing in the space for a while, you know, SalesForce and Amazon and even Google to an extent. What do you feel Microsoft is offering in the cloud that competitors aren’t?
Ozzie: When we began developing Azure, we developed it more or less with a clean sheet of paper saying, “What will the operating environment look like for the next 30 years?” If the servers like Linux and Windows NT-based systems and Mac OS, if these are all based on things that were built when I was in school, what’s the next one going to look like? That’s the most significant advantage.

If you look at VMware or [Amazon’s] EC2, what it really is–and I mean to be saying this respectfully–but it’s more or less a [virtual machine] hosting environment. It’s not a transformational computing environment. All programs in the future will be written in a way that there is no single point of failure. There’s no one server that can die and take down the service. And unless you write your applications for a programming model that’s inherently parallel, you don’t get to that point. And so, yes, we support the same kind of mode that the EC2 or VMware will do where you can take a VM and put it up there, but the reality is you don’t get the benefit of cloud unless you use this other thing.

It’s not clear if the IaaS part of the offering will be available starting January 1, 2010 like the PaaS one or not:


Photo Credit: Long Zheng