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    Moving Your Applications to Windows Azure

    Lifestyle experts will tell you that moving to a new home is one of the most stressful events people undertake during their lifetime yet, given a choice between that or moving applications to a new platform, many of us would unhesitatingly start packing the china. Thankfully, however, moving your applications to Windows Azure is a breeze. For many years, Microsoft has been building highly scalable applications in datacenters around the world—applications that have global reach and high availability, and offer great functionality to users. Windows Azure allows you to take advantage of the same infrastructure to deploy your own applications, with the corresponding capabilities to reduce your maintenance requirements, maximize performance and minimize costs. Of course, people have been outsourcing their applications to third-party hosting companies for many years. This might be renting rack space or a server in a remote datacenter to install and run their applications, or it might just mean renting space on a Web server and database from a hosting company. In either case, however, the range of features available is usually limited. Typically, there’s no authentication mechanism, message queuing, traffic management, data synchronization or other peripheral services that are a standard part of Windows Azure. It might seem like all of these capabilities make moving applications to Windows Azure fairly complex, but as long as you take the time to consider your requirements and explore the available features, moving to Windows Azure can be a quick and relatively easy process. To help you understand the options and make the correct decisions, the patterns & practices group at Microsoft has recently published an updated version of the Windows Azure migration guide: “Moving Applications to the Cloud on Windows Azure” (msdn.microsoft.com/library/ff728592).