Cloud, Phone 7 on tap at Microsoft PDC10

Sessions on Azure, new mobile platform featured at developer conference

Microsoft will be opening the doors of its corporate campus in Redmond Oct. 27-29 for its annual Professional Developers Conference at which it will be building momentum for its cloud computing initiatives and the development of applications for its new Windows Phone 7 operating system.

PDC10 will begin with a keynote Thursday by CEO Steve Ballmer, who will share the stage with Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. In that role, Muglia is responsible for Microsoft’s infrastructure software, developer tools, and cloud platform, including products such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, System Center and the Windows Azure Platform. This means Muglia, along with Ballmer, will be pumping up software developer attendees about Microsoft’s “We’re all in” strategy on cloud computing, which Ballmer launched back in March.

Sessions Thursday and Friday will cover how to build, deploy and manage applications running on Azure, which is the cloud version of Windows Server. Other sessions will be devoted to running Java applications on Azure, managing identity and access control in the cloud, building databases on SQL Azure and integrating SharePoint with Azure.

Blogger Tim FitzGerald reported today that we may hear more at PDC10 about Microsoft’s plans to deliver cloud computing as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering. FitzGerald, an executive at Avnet Technology Solutions, writes that Azure is currently available only as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), but that another Microsoft executive, Zane Adams, general manager of Azure and Middleware Server and Tools Business, told attendees at a conference in the U.K. that Microsoft was expecting to be a player in IaaS, PaaS and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Positioning itself as a player in all three spaces would put it in competition with Amazon's EC2 (IaaS), Google (PaaS) and (SaaS), which could be a lot to take on.

And Microsoft needs to woo the development community to tackle another highly competitive space in mobile with its coming Windows Phone 7 OS. Microsoft released the final version of its development tools for Phone 7 in September and the smartphones running it are to go on sale in the U.S. Nov. 8. Sessions on Phone 7 include one on how to use Azure to build Phone 7 apps that would be backed by scalable cloud components. Another one covers how to build apps that run on Silverlight. And a third session looks at building game applications using XNA Game Studio, which is the Microsoft integrated development environment for Xbox. And running Xbox games on a Phone 7 device is expected to distinguish Phone 7 devices from Android, Apple and BlackBerry devices.

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