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Assessing Azure

Longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley has just penned (or at least keyed) a new column, "Can Microsoft Save Azure?" I didn't know Azure was nearly toes up, but have learned over the years to never doubt the word of Mary Jo.

Here's her thinking: Azure, as it exists today, is really aimed at developers who build new apps that reside in the Microsoft cloud. The notion of simply moving in-house apps to Azure has not yet been realized. And here Microsoft has been quiet, maybe too quiet. The company has simply not provided a detailed Azure roadmap. Foley also wonders how many customers are on Azure, and here again Microsoft is more mum than Nadya Suleman.

While Foley's headline is provocative, her conclusions are more moderate. She sees Microsoft opening Azure to non-Microsoft development tools, and the company is moving to host more apps natively, such as SharePoint, in the Azure cloud.

This, on the surface, is a bit confusing. Let me think out loud to sort it out. Azure is a platform, so it is inherently more flexible than Office 365, which is a set of applications. Yet the platform is there to support apps. In the case of Azure, the goal is to support new apps and custom apps, and eventually do more of what Office 365 does. The only thing I need to understand better is why one would want to run standard Microsoft apps on Azure versus the pre-built and ready-to-roll Office 365. It must be the level of customization. Help me sort this out at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on 02/14/2012 at 12:47 PM


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