On Tuesday, Microsoft kicked off the 2009 Professional Developer Conference (PDC) with some big news about Windows Azure, the cloud computing platform announced a year ago at PDC 2008.
The biggest news to come out of the keynote was the announcement that Azure will launch into production on January 1st, but customers will get the first month of service free. However, prior to its public launch, a few companies are already using Azure now. During the keynote, some of them came on stage to discuss how. This group included some big names like WordPress, Domino’s Pizza, and the Cheezburger Network (yes, the blog empire built from LOLcats).
Matt Mullenwag of Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging platform WordPress, showed off how Azure powers their service, taking away the stress related to massive traffic spikes. And yes, that was a downright geek-tastic way of demonstrating how Azure works with open source technologies. The recent release of the SDK’s for PHP, Ruby, Java and Eclipse further highlights how Windows Azure extends beyond Windows technologies.
Similarly, the ICanHazCheezburger network is launching a new site on Azure called www.oddlyspecific.com. The site, devoted to funny signs, will also use Azure to help balance the massive traffic spikes common with its virally shared properties.
Another big name from outside the web world moving to Azure is Domino's Pizza who uses the platform to manage their ordering system. The company says it will be especially helpful on Super Bowl Sunday when ordering peaks.
Kelly Blue Book (KBB), will also be moving to Azure, allowing them to close a second data center kept online mainly for failover reasons. With Azure’s ability to provide extra computing power when necessary, the company says the extra data center will no longer be needed.
Even Vivek Kundra, the U.S. government’s CIO made an appearance to discuss open-development efforts, specifically a project code-named “Dallas” which is powered by Windows Azure and SQL Azure. This “data as a service” offering is an open marketplace for data. The data will be available for purchase at a site called “Pinpoint” and includes data from NASA, the AP, National Geographic, data.gov, and more. Kundra also said that he was looking forward to the “thousands of applications that are going to be created,” and after everything we heard about Azure’s power, we are too.