Gartner – the technology research and advisory firm - has given Windows Azure the accolade of visionary. The cloud platform enables your business to quickly build, deploy and manage applications, whilst integrating with your existing IT environment. Microsoft offers a 99.95% SLA for uptime allowing you to focus on building and running the applications your business needs.
The commentary from Gartner praised Azure as follows:
“Microsoft has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading stand-alone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center) and applications, as well as Microsoft's SaaS offerings. Its vision is global, and it is aggressively expanding into multiple international markets.”
This hybrid approach is key to Microsoft – and something built into their products and services including software users will be familiar with such as Office 365. As always, a key strength of Microsoft is their vast reach and users’ familiarity with their designs. Microsoft continues this trend here with a User Interface that should appeal to admins and developers alike. Gartner also notes the rapid expansion of Azure and the highly competitive pricing as positives. With data centres in the U.S., Europe and Asia and business hours support in 9 languages Microsoft’s global scale is leveraged to provide this service.
Therefore it’s a shame to see Microsoft scoring so low on their ‘ability to execute’ this stems from Gartner’s assertion that ‘Windows Azure Infrastructure Services are brand-new and consequently lack an operational track record’ but this seems slightly contradictory when Microsoft is at the same time being praised for a ‘history of running global-class consumer Internet properties [making] customers and partners confident that it will emerge as a market leader in cloud IaaS’.
There are other cautions from Gartner as well, namely:
To me, the first two points above point to the cutting edge nature of the technology which by its very nature will mean there is some room for improvement, but that's also true of the industry as a whole. Microsoft is also making it’s cloud offerings work for new and existing customers alike, offering continuity to business users, I don't see this as a negative given the far reaching implementation of Microsoft on premise soutions. With regard to Azure appealing to .Net developers, it is common sense that .Net will be a supported language but even a cursory look on the Windows Azure website states that it ‘supports a large and growing number of open-source applications, frameworks and languages’, making this detraction a little hard to take at face value.