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Windows Azure programming patterns for Start-ups

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Windows Azure was officially announced at PDC 2008, but looking back, I had a quick look in the kitchen of Windows Azure in 2007 while I was visiting Redmond during the Lead Enterprise Architect Program (LEAP) sessions. Pat Helland, a senior architect at Microsoft, gave a talk on The irresistible forces meet the movable objects. Pat described the nature of the forces where he pitted big servers and fast CPUs against commodity hardware (ordinary machines you can buy everywhere).

Moore's Law, (The number of transistors on circuits doubles every year) is applicable to many hardware components. Though still accurate, it is getting more and more expensive to double CPU speed. Increasing CPU speed is still possible, but at a price. The costs for scaling out a single server are generally higher than scaling up to multiple processors or servers. If we look solely at the speed of the CPU, we can conclude that the growth is flattening. Parallel computing is cheaper than scaling out single servers.

Looking back at the history of Windows Azure, Pat Helland actually stated that there should be something like low-cost, highly-available, high-bandwidth, high-storage, and high computing power-based datacenters, all around the world, that can run both existing and new applications.

Guess what? The concept envisioned was officially announced at PDC 2008! Windows Azure was born, and this very first release of the platform actually contained everything that was envisioned during this talk on LEAP 2007. Lots of cheap hardware runs in datacenters all around the globe that offer massive computing power, storage, and bandwidth. All these components are available like electricity; you start paying from the moment you start using it. Operational expenses (OpEx) instead of capital expenses (CapEx) enable you to experiment more easily, since you do not need to buy hardware but just take it from Windows Azure. When your experiment is successful and you need more computing power or storage to serve all your customers, you can easily scale up.
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