PaaS for SaaS

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If you have been following what is going in cloud space, Microsoft is bringing its platform to the cloud. I witnessed its revelation called Windows Azure during PDC 2008 and it has improved a lot during last 12 months. Picture above resembles its technology stack as it now today. I found this picture from Roger Jennings blog site. A good resource to find a lot of information and so on if you like to know more about Windows Azure. I have some experience with Azure as I tried it out in the beginning and with later released CTP’s. It even inspired me to write an article about Windows Azure for a Dutch Magazine together with Microsoft’s Regional Director Anko Duizer.

Soon Microsoft will commercialize Windows Azure and it will be a fact after PDC 2009 this month. It will unveil a gateway to a consumption based pricing model, that will drive’s Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform. This will bring another acronym into the world if it has not already: Platform as a Service (PaaS), consisting of Azure Operating System, SQL Azure relational data storage and .Net Services connectivity. All of this can be used in Software as a Service (SaaS) way of pay as you go: the meter will start running as soon one deploys an application or storage account to the Azure staging environment, made up of virtual machines (VMs). Microsoft will provide a portal that will show usages and metrics.

If you wonder what you will pay, the pricing I have seen is as follows:

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  • Compute = $0.12 / hour
  • Storage = $0.15 / GB stored / month
  • Storage Transactions = $0.01 / 10K
  • Bandwidth = $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB
  • You can find this and more information at Windows Azure pricing.

    If this is competing enough depends on scale of usage and size of business. Smaller organizations might use PHP or LAMP stack hosting. Microsoft expects that ISV’s will look at Azure to building and hosting SaaS. Therefore PaaS will be a need for Microsoft SaaS. Brilliant don’t you think, offer a platform in the cloud to enable software offering in it as a service. I think so and it show Microsoft’s vision and guidance on the future to come.


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