Microsoft today marked the official availability of the Windows Azure Platform in Australia by showcasing local customers and partners who are already using and benefiting from the company's cloud-based development platform.
The Windows Azure platform includes, Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure platform AppFabric, and offers a flexible, scalable and familiar environment for developers to create cloud applications and services. This gives Microsoft partners the ability to create new revenue streams through customer sales by building their own IP on top of the Windows Azure platform. It also provides customers with the power of choice to deploy applications in cloud-based Internet services or through on-premise servers, or to combine them in any way that best meets the needs of their business.
Microsoft partner, CaterXpress, has developed and deployed ‘FoodStorm' using Windows Azure. The FoodStorm application is designed for production management, controlling stock and stock forecasting for the manufacture of packaged foods, and helps end-customers like Dennison Foods enhance the running of its day-to-day business.
"As a small business, moving our cloud based offering to Windows Azure made so much sense," said Anthony Super, Director of CaterXpress.
"Our new FoodStorm platform is written from the ground up to take full advantage of Windows Azure and means we can now offer our customers the scalability and high availability that's in the same league as the biggest companies out there, while significantly reducing our running costs," he said.
At Dennison Foods Manufacturing, Tim MxAuliff, Marketing and Business Development Manager, said that Windows Azure was providing the company with a scalable and reliable platform to manage the manufacture of its products, including supplier ordering, stock forecasting and recipe scaling for production.
"This cost effective solution is helping us transform the way we collaborate and communicate at Dennison Foods," said Mr McAuliff.
Real Insurance, part of the Hollard Group of companies, is also taking advantage of the Cloud.
"Windows Azure represents a significant step forward in regional capability for the elastic computing model" said Gavin Keeley, CTO, Real Insurance. "As we already have systems deployed in the model, we are working with Microsoft on how Windows Azure will enhance and accelerate our utility computing strategy and overall cloud adoption."
According to Forrester Research, accessing applications via the Cloud is due to grow exponentially. The analyst group claim that 51 per cent of development managers they had surveyed said their firm plans to implement or expand its use of Software as a Service (SaaS)/Cloud computing in 20101.
Microsoft's Director, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Gianpaolo Carraro said that Windows Azure provided Cloud-class capability to the application development and deployment experience.
"In one sense it is essentially the Microsoft experience that developers and customers know and are familiar with but with Cloud-class grunt," he said.
"Developers and partners are critical to enabling unique scenarios for commercial customers in Australia. Our diverse partner community both in Australia and internationally is already starting to develop profitable, exciting new computing solutions using Windows Azure for mobile devices, PC's and the web on both public and private clouds which will unlock the potential of cloud computing for businesses."
The Windows Azure platform pricing structure is based on a consumption and subscription model that allows for predictable payments without sacrificing flexibility and control. The pricing structure allows partners to optimise cloud elasticity and reach new markets while reducing barriers to entry.
The Windows Azure platform will now support 11 currencies, including the Australian dollar. Find further information on Windows Azure and local pricing.
Note to editors
A special Azure partners and developer event called BizSpark Azure Camp was held at the Microsoft offices, across the weekend April 10th and 11th.
The BizSpark Azure Camp brought together Australian partners and developers to work on and learn more about the Azure platform. The intensive weekend event saw ten teams of developers receive training in the Azure platform and then produce partner solutions built in only two days.
Following their rapid development, the solutions were presented and demonstrated to a panel of judges, business advisors and venture capitalists, including; Patrick W. Driessen, Founder & CEO Seed Accelerator Pty Ltd, Joseph Najem, Managing Director and CEO of BizSpark Network partner AC&E International, Chris Auld Azure Trainer, Director, Strategy and Innovation Integen and Microsoft Regional Director and Greg Willis, Windows Azure Evangelism Lead, Microsoft Australia.
Developer, Mark Burch, was named the winner of the BizSpark event for his innovative application. In discussing the event, Mark Burch said; "The Bizspark Azure Camp was awesome. Being around the Azure experts and getting face time with the venture capitalists was hugely valuable. This event has really put some momentum into my new venture."
BuzzNumbers.com.au, an Australian Social Media Monitoring company, was awarded runner up for their development of an innovative new product in the News & Media Monitoring space that will be launched at Ad:Tech in San Francisco next week. Nick Holmes a Court, CEO at BuzzNumbers said "We walked into the BizSpark event looking to only evaluate the Azure offering and play with the technology, but walked away having developed a killer new market ready product. We now have plans to update our entire product suite to use the Azure Platform. We are delighted with the low cost of ownership, ease of scalability, speed of product development and competitive commercial advantage that having the power of Windows Azure behind us creates."
The event demonstrated how the Azure platform allows rapid development and deployment for partners, businesses and entrepreneurs. For additional information on BizSpark and the BizSpark Azure Camp visit the BizSpark blog at. Images from the BizSpark Azure Camp are available.
Additional information and developer tools for Microsoft Windows Azure can be found on Windows Azure Website.
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1 Forrester Research, Best Practices: Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS)
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