It's nice to see so much blog and Twitter activity about Azure today at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). People seem to agree that Microsoft is positioning Azure right in terms of price, features, open standards support and tooling. I was hearing a lot of positive comments at WPC around the business model and the SLA commitments, especially SQL Azure.
 
I'm also hearing a lot of positives from an interesting audience: our hosting partners. It seems that some hosters really *get* that the commitment to open standards and interoperability in the Azure Services Platform, combined with the partner-friendly business models, opens up some new opportunities for them. Instead of competing with hosters, Microsoft seems to be saying, "if you want to build a control panel or a managed service on top of Azure and resell it as your own, go for it." Hosters spend a lot of time in the cloud, so it's no surprise that they see how powerful Azure is, but it's interesting how quickly some hosters have jumped right to the punch line: "if I can still sell my own branded services on Azure, but I don't have to spend money on infrastructure and automated systems management, the Azure is just a supplier to me like any other. I can build customer-ready services on Azure that extend and compliment my dedicated business, and price them and brand them as my own." I predict hosters will be some of the more creative early adopters of the Azure Services Platform.