At Switched-Online we use Microsoft Azure to enable us to extend our cloud based CRM Online and SharePoint Online solutions, or to create custom Azure based solutions for our customers.
For some custom applications and solutions, both code and data might live in the cloud, where somebody else manages and maintains the systems they use. Alternatively, applications that run inside an organization—on-premises applications—might store data in the cloud or rely on other cloud infrastructure services. However it’s done, exploiting the cloud’s capabilities can bring many advantages to an organization.
But whether an application runs in the cloud, uses services provided by the cloud, or both, some kind of application platform is required. Viewed broadly, an application platform can be thought of as anything that provides developer-accessible services for creating applications. In the local, on-premises Windows world, for example, this includes technologies such as Windows Server, the .NET Framework, SQL Server, and more. To let applications exploit the cloud, cloud application platforms must also exist.
Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform is a group of cloud technologies, each providing a specific set of services to application developers. Windows Azure platform can be used both by applications running in the cloud and by on-premises applications.
The components of the Windows Azure platform are:
- Windows Azure: Provides a Windows-based environment for running applications and storing data on servers in Microsoft data centers.
- SQL Azure: Provides data services in the cloud based on SQL Server.
- Windows Azure platform AppFabric: Provides cloud services for connecting applications running in the cloud or on premises.