"What is Windows Azure?" click for Video RNLI - Click for a larger version with readable text 

One of the things that seemed odd when I first came to Microsoft, was the way we put up posters for our own internal consumption. I’ve long since grown used to it: inevitably some of these are interesting, some are not, some are eye-catching and some are not. In the atrium of my building this week is a picture of a lifeboat and as a Scuba diver I have a bit of an interest in lifeboats, an organization I hope not to see when they are on duty but really want to be there. So a picture of one is bound to get my attention.

It turns out that the RNLI is one of the early customers using real world – sorry for being melodramatic – life and death applications on Windows Azure (the system handles man overboard alerts: email might seem like life and death at times, but getting this right is the difference between lives saved and lives lost.)  This is one of a set of posters around the place advertising the LiveOnAzure website using different case studies (you can go straight to the UK-Focused case studies themselves)

“Stuff in the cloud” is unknown territory for many people. There are those  run away with the idea and and start talking as if it means getting rid of all the IT in a business or the talk degenerates into  something like “Buzzword, Buzzword, cloud, Buzzword, utility, Buzzword, Buzzword, services Buzzword cloud cloud Buzzword, platform, Buzzword,pay as you go, Buzzword,Buzzword”

The LiveOnAzure site links to some great resources, including the 4  Minute video I’ve linked to here. If you want to cut through to quick understanding of what Azure is about, it’s 255 seconds well  spent, afterwards, if you’re interested, there is plenty more to study on the live on azure site.