Thursday, 26 May 2011

Windows Azure - Making Migration to the Cloud Seamless?

This week I attended a Microsoft UK Tech Days (a sort of local version of TechEd) on building and deploying applications onto the Windows Azure cloud platform.  In typical TechEd style, once a few positioning slides had been quickly dispensed with it was down to business with a deep dive into the code and admin tools.  Though my day job isn't as a professional developer, as a consultant and architect I like to know enough about how these things really work.

I came away impressed with just how seamless they are making the migration of applications to the cloud.

Fundamentally, what Azure does is provide Windows Server and SQL Server as a "Platform as a Service" (PaaS). Consequently, existing Windows applications, or parts of them, can be redeployed to the cloud with a minimum of effort.

Several deployment 'patterns' were demonstrated through the day that really highlighted the power of Azure. Want the code in the cloud, but keep the data in house? No problem. Want the reverse? No problem either. Want to keep those thick client applications but move the Access database they share to the Cloud? Straightforward too.

What this bought home to me is that the vision that we have promoted for over 15 years now at CBDI Forum that through well designed component and service architectures, then a seamless agile deployment environment should be possible, is now not only finally becoming reality, but is also being provided at low cost, and low investment, rather than via some expensive premium product price tag that you might often expect leading edge technology to come with.

For those building greenfield apps, then this ease with which existing systems can be migrated will clearly not have the same appeal. Google App Engine or Amazon AWS will appear to provide an viable alternative. However, the seamless redeployment of the components of the system that Azure provides as outlined above still applies to new systems as well. The ability for example to bring the database back in-house, or to integrate existing in-house databases with new cloud databases should still be relevant. The ease with which this can be achieved via Windows and Windows Azure was impressive.

The complete feature set of Windows Server and SQL Server may not be fully available in Azure yet, but regardless it still worthy of consideration as is, and Microsoft were able to highlight a number of case studies of customers already taking advantage of Azure.

No comments:

Post a Comment