Windows Azure has been around since 2008. In March of 2014 Microsoft rebranded the Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure, but there is more to the story than just changing the name. The main idea is cross platform options. As our software development world becomes more tightly integrated, Microsoft appears to be removing the Windows only approach, and focusing on what teams really need to reduce costs and increase quality in their Application Lifecycle Management.
Azure helps teams by removing the common blocking issues of long lead-times for environments and technical expertise of technologies that may not be available. During my time in operations, I did not have any experience with Oracle, UBUNTU or BizTalk. However, I can now choose an image in Azure and provide the base configuration for those technologies to the development team in just a few minutes.
As requirements, different languages, and technical demands are increasing to meet customer and business needs. Development and operations teams need to have a wide range of technologies available to create the next new set of features. It’s good to see that Microsoft is providing a common Cloud platform that will support a variety of Windows, non-Windows and development tools, including Oracle, Java, Ruby, PHP, and Python.
It also appears to be the direction of Microsoft to fully integrate well-know toolsets (Visual Studio Online, Puppet, Chef and MyGet) that will support team continuous delivery practices. This opens the door for a true, supportable DevOps environment.
The development team can get the resources in the time they need it, and the operations team does not have to be bogged down. Both development and operations teams win by building on a solid, yet flexible, foundation for the teams to collaborate, integrate and innovate within the Agile and Lean practices.