Microsoft SharePoint Services and Windows Azure

I’m in the process of digesting the wealth of information that is pouring from PDC 2008 that’s in progress right now. I was unable to participate but I’m monitoring the news and blogs of the attendees.

There’s one thing that caught my attention. On day one the new cloud services platform was announced under the name of Windows Azure.

What is Windows Azure?

As I understand, it’s a cloud-services platform that exposes storage and application services that are hosted in Microsoft datacenters. It allows .NET applications to run “in the cloud” (i.e. not on-site or on-premises) and to benefit from the distributed services that it offers.

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What’s in there for SharePoint?

One of the services that you can see in the diagram above is “Microsoft SharePoint Services”. First thing that should be clear is that this is notWindows SharePoint Services” (the free, basic SharePoint platform) norSharePoint Online” (Microsoft-hosted SharePoint farm). I think it’s SharePoint functionality exposed as services API. It can be seen that SharePoint Online uses these “services”.

Microsoft® SharePoint® Services & Dynamics® CRM Services (from Microsoft site)

In the future, developers will have access to SharePoint & CRM functionality for collaboration and building stronger customer relationships. With the flexibility to use familiar developer tools like Visual Studio, developers will be able to rapidly build applications that utilize SharePoint and CRM capabilities as developer services for their own applications. Developers can expect a breadth of SharePoint & CRM capabilities across the spectrum of on-premises, online & the Azure Services Platform.

So, it’s still not available (but it will be). I’ll keep a close watch on it, sure.

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