Foreword: Bill Hilf

Whether you regard it as evolution or revolution, there’s no doubt that the cloud is changing the way our industry works. It presents us with exciting new opportunities for implementing modern applications. It’s also changing the way we view operating systems, data storage, development languages, operations and IT infrastructure. I’m proud, in my own career, to have had the opportunity to play a part in the evolution of Microsoft’s cloud platform, Windows Azure.

In addition to rich platform services for building new applications, Windows Azure provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) support for both Windows Server and Linux operating systems, and simple automated integration with a wide range of open source software such as databases, blogs, forums, and more; which reinforces just how flexible and powerful Windows Azure really is. The package of highly integrated services, features, options, and manageability that it offers allows you to create almost any kind of application in the cloud; and get great performance and reliability built right in. No matter whether it’s .NET, node.js, PHP, Python, or Java—you bring your designs and your applications and we provide the environment, allowing you to focus on your apps and not the infrastructure.

One of the areas where Windows Azure really scores is performance and reliability. Learning from our many years of building mission critical enterprise software and also running huge public online services, we’ve built an enterprise-ready infrastructure with datacenters across the globe so that you can deploy what you need, where you need it, and give your customers the best possible experience.

Your customers’ concerns include a whole range of additional factors such as security, privacy, corporate presence, and regulatory requirements. This guide, from the patterns & practices team here at Microsoft, will help you to think about how you address these concerns, how Windows Azure can help you to meet your requirements, and how you can get the most benefit from our cloud platform and services. Based on a fictitious company that needs to build a real-world, multi-tenant application, the guide walks through the decision making, planning, design, and implementation of Tailspin’s Surveys application. It also discusses how Tailspin tests and deploys the application, and manages and monitors it as it runs.

The team that created this guide worked closely with the Windows Azure development team to ensure that their guidance is accurate, useful, and up to date. Yes, they discuss many different options so that you get to see the range and flexibility of Windows Azure, but they also help you to choose what will best suit the specific needs of your own applications. You want solid guidance, good practice advice, working examples, hands-on labs, and plenty links to help you find out more? If so, you are already reading the right book! I hope you enjoy it.

Bill Hilf

General Manager
Windows Azure Product Marketing
Microsoft Corporation