Microsoft’s Windows Azure is a brand new Cloud Services Platform, released last February, and is one of the most innovative 2010 cloud offerings. Azure is also still in its own process of evolving and growing.

Today we will share with you the current Windows Azure state-of-the-art features and the upcoming ones we’ll soon enjoy.

Windows Azure now:

• Load balance and automatic data replication
Cloud computing automatically balances your server’s load in order to consistently provide users with availability and fast content.

• Automatic data redundancy
Your data will be automatically copied in multiple nodes for both disaster prevention fast content availability.

• Able to operate as a Content Delivery Network
You can use Azure to hold multiple files throughout the world that everyone can link to and use. So even if you have your own hosting and website, wouldn’t it be great to load files directly from Microsoft servers worldwide?

• For the moment, each SQL database has a limit of 50 GBs
It’s likely that this limit will be increased in the future.SQL-scheduled jobs are not allowed, but they can be replaced with worker roles.
Right now you can’t have automatic jobs running in your databases. However, you can always use Azure’s Worker Roles to be awakened at certain times to perform the processing you need.

• As the infrastructure is shared, big updates that one client makes can affect the performance of another client’s server
Cloud computing at some point means you’ll be sharing your servers with other Microsoft customers. That shouldn’t be a problem, but you may notice slow operations at times if someone else is concurrently making big updates and you unluckily happen to hit the same node at the same time.

• Azure PaaS supports the Entity Framework, and it also supports Microsoft new technologies (such as the MVC framework)
Data Sync Framework is designed to migrate data from the SQL Server to Azure

• The IIS-specific configurations are currently not supported, and web roles are not exactly IIS processes
As the server is still shared, it’s not that easy to allow customers to have administrator privileges so that they can modify the configuration — that could affect other users. However, a new approach to this problem is coming (see below).

Azure’s Coming Soon:

• Azure SDK 1.3 might be available in November
This new version of the platform will have full IIS-specific configurable permissions for web roles and worker roles. It will provide users with a way to configure everything they need for their projects without affecting server configuration settings for other users, which is a nice benefit!

• The SDK 1.3 will support multiple websites in a project (this is not currently possible)
All in all, we know that this platform is continuously growing, and also improving its offerings. It is a great and new way of working, and the future features indicate to us that there are plenty possibilities of succeeding with this Cloud tool.

Are you working with cloud? Have you tried Windows Azure PaaS? Share with us your experience!