Before you learn about what the Windows Azure platform is, you should be aware of how —as a developer— you can benefit from the Windows Azure platform.
- Spend more time coding, less time managing hardware. The Windows Azure platform provides the machines, rack space, switches, and connectivity. In contrast to the traditional on-premise development model, you now spend less time managing the hardware of your infrastructure. Using the Windows Azure platform, you have more time to spend developing applications
- Spend more time coding, less time deploying applications. The platform automates the processes of deploying and configuring applications. You can deploy directly from Visual Studio, from a command-line, or from the Windows Azure Management Portal. In contrast to the traditional on-premise development model, you do not need to remote into machines, FTP files, or synchronize your application across machines. Again, you have more time to spend developing applications.
- Isolate your work from others. When you deploy an application to the Windows Azure platform, your application is isolated from other applications that you developed. It is also isolated from other organizations.
- Scale your applications up and down. Most applications must handle lots of users and variable traffic peaks. For social networking applications, the need to scale up and down is critical. However, the traditional on-premise development model does not support the ability to scale up and down with ease. In contrast, the Windows Azure platform was specifically built to handle variable loads. You can quickly and easily add instances or your application or remove instances—without buying, deploying, managing, or removing hardware.
- Ensure your application is always available. In the traditional on-premise development model, your application would typically need to be taken offline for upgrades, OS patches, hardware upgrades, etc. In contrast, The Windows Azure programming model is designed to let applications be continuously available, even in the face of software upgrades and hardware.