Benefit from an operating system as a scalable online service
The Windows Azure platform is a set of cloud services and technologies that your developers can use to more efficiently create web services, manage data, and increase transparency. Scalability and automated application deployment and management, combined with a consistent, familiar user experience across devices (including mobile), can mean faster distribution and reduced IT costs.
Windows Azure is a flexible, scalable operating system—delivered as an online service—that functions as the testing and development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure supports multiple programming languages, including .NET, PHP, Ruby, Java, and Python. Developers can build with their preferred programming tools (including Eclipse) and Visual Studio that run on both Microsoft and third-party web servers. Because it leverages existing skills and can easily scale up or down as needed, Windows Azure can help maximize your in-house resources and trim the cost of creating new applications.
Gain a relational database in the cloud
SQL Azure provides data services, including a relational database, reporting, and data synchronization with mobile users, remote offices, and business partners. SQL Azure Database, built on SQL Server technologies, is a cloud-based relational database hosted by Microsoft data centers. Serving both local and cloud-based applications, and allowing secure access from multiple locations and devices, SQL Azure integrates with your existing packaged line-of-business applications and toolsets for building custom web applications. In addition, SQL Azure lets you consolidate multiple data sources in the cloud and helps eliminate the costs of buying, administering, and updating onsite servers—you pay only for the database consumed. At the same time, you enjoy the benefits of high availability, fault tolerance, and robust disaster recovery, without added expense.
Unlimited scalability means that your agency can be prepared for almost anything. With the Windows Azure platform, your available computing and storage resources readily expand and contract as needed and, with the on-demand subscription model, you’re not paying for idle infrastructure during slow periods or scrambling to catch up during peak-demand events.
Get connections without boundaries
Windows Azure helps developers build and connect applications and web services in the cloud or on-premises. Its web-based Service Bus simplifies connections across your firewall for flexible, secure integration that uses your on-premises investments while making the most of the resources in the cloud. The Access Control Service helps you build in federated authorization, safely allowing external users, such as citizens and partner organizations, to access selected portions of your agency’s cloud resources—without the need for custom security programming.
Benefit from more secure and reliable storage
Durable and affordable storage in geographically dispersed Microsoft data centers is another compelling cloud benefit. Windows Azure Storage utilization is calculated based on your average usage during a billing period—offering a cost-effective solution to your agency’s growing needs. Moreover, service level agreements for Windows Azure components guarantee at least 99.9 percent uptime.
Disaster-recovery mechanisms are designed into the heart of the Windows Azure platform, and its data-storage services include built-in redundancy to help your agency stay productive—and you can rest assured that your data and applications remain highly secure and available.