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Azure to Feature App Marketplace

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Azure to Feature App Marketplace

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Mirosoft just announced that the Windows Azure cloud computing platform is now generally available in beta form.  The announcement was made at this week's PDC conference where Microsoft is promoting their Azure cloud services.  Microsoft says that the Azure cloud will come with marketplaces for online apps and datasets for building apps.  Azure's marketplace will be similar to Salesforce.com and Amazon.com.

In a keynote speech, Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie said that PinPoint.com will host business applications developed by Microsoft partners.  This positions Azure as competitor to cloud platform marketplaces like Salesforce.com and Amazon.com.  The main difference will be Azure's use of Windows.  Amazon and Salesforce only use Web standards.  Azure and the Pinpoint marketplace are currently in a community technology preview until February.  Right now, customers can test the applications, deploy their apps for free, and figure out how the billing process might work.

In another announcement, Microsoft said that Azure will host an open catalog and marketplace for datasets called Dallas.  The new Azure subsystem will let developers plug popular data streams into their own services and mashups.  Microsoft has already loaded data from the Associated Press, NASA, the US census, and NAVTEQ.  One data feed from NASA features 3D images from the Mars rover.

AppFabric, an application server for Windows Server, was also unveiled at the PDC conference.  The AppFabric server manages on-premise servers and Azure cloud-based services.  It includes Dublin app server features along with Velocity caching technology. AppFabric will be available in beta form next year.

The production release of Windows Azure is set for January 1st, 2010.  Cloud-service billing will start on February 1st of next year.  Azure will be hosted on data bases in Chicago, San Antonio, Dublin, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

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