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In the nearly one year since Microsoft Azure AppFabric was unveiled at its PDC 2009 conference, much of the promised technology has been delivered, and important new capabilities have been introduced for 2011. The Microsoft cloud application platform is gaining critical technical mass. CIOs, CTOs, project leaders and other IT planners should track the evolution of Microsoft Windows Azure investments and architecture as potentially one of the leading, long-term offerings for cloud computing.

Key Findings

  • Microsoft continues to make strategic investments in product development and marketing, and in financial commitments to achieve leadership in cloud computing. Leadership in cloud computing has become a companywide priority at Microsoft, as leadership in Web computing had been a top priority for the company in the 1990s.
  • Microsoft intends to be a key player in all three layers of cloud software architecture: system infrastructure services, application infrastructure services and application services, and to apply its technology to private and public cloud projects.
  • The Windows Azure AppFabric has emerged as the core application platform technology in Microsoft's cloud-computing vision.
  • Various project teams at Microsoft are contributing to the company's evolving cloud-computing technology and vision. These teams are not always synchronized to deliver coordinated product road maps, which can create confusion in the market about the company's overriding strategy.