Yesterday at WPC Bob Muglia announced something I think is very, very cool for Azure and bridges a gap that no other player in the cloud space can. The Windows Azure appliance is essentially a container that can be placed on your site and runs Windows Azure and SQL Azure. We look after the software, you look after the container. Bob explained it very succinctly as “IT as a service”.
I see this doing something very special in cloud terms, and I see it as a redefinition of private cloud (has anyone actually got the definition right yet?…we have!).
There are tons of ways this solution could be used, I particularly like the “data control” aspect, having the container on your own soil removes any confusion around geo-location and gives you a nice warm fluffy feeling of safety. You could use it for performance testing too (of specific aspects, not all). The solutions intended for the really big boys, like the first customer, Ebay, who need to scale to hundreds or thousands of servers.
You can find out more about Windows Azure Appliance in this Chanel 9 vid and I’ll be getting into some of the topic of how you manage Azure with the rest of your enterprise soon. How do IT Pros out there feel about Windows Azure Appliance – personally I think its a tidy solution.
[Image from roblisameehan on Flickr – NOTE: none of these as an actual Windows Azure Appliance, it’s just to remind you what containers look like]