For almost a year now Microsoft has been providing a facility for posting and accessing datasets which can be used in applications for analyzing data in real time, discovering trends and developing business intelligence. The Windows Azure Marketplace is a cloud based service that is changing the way information and applications are distributed. It creates a global information market place for data providers, developers and information workers. Through the Marketplace commercial data providers and dependable public data sources are offering data, imagery and real-time web services that can be easily integrated into Microsoft’s Information Worker software including Microsoft Word and Excel or that can be enhanced in applications developed with Visual Studio using .NET technology. But that’s not all; back in July Microsoft announced that applications for Windows Azure would also be available through the marketplace.

Microsoft simplifies the process of sharing and accessing information by:

  • Making it simple to find and subscribe to high quality datasets.
  • Making data integration simple without the need for acquiring additional hardware.
  • Simplifying subscription billing.
  • Simplifying application development.
  • Ensuring the security of data.

This service is especially useful for those who need data for business analysis and decision making. Applications developers who desire to create content rich solutions based on up-to-date applicable information will find many of the resources that they need in Windows Azure Marketplace.

The main features of the Windows Azure Marketplace include:

  • A global marketplace of trusted data and web services that users can subscribe to and explore.
  • Consistency in descriptions, billing and payment choices of datasets.
  • Security for providers’ data.
  • The ability for data providers to utilize Azure’s unlimited scalability and availability.
  • Access to all types of data: commercial, free and public domain.
  • An integrated billing infrastructure that monitors data usage and offers trial subscriptions and international billing.
  • Allows the creation of reports that analyze data from multiple datasets (mash-ups).
  • Integration with desktop applications including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office Access and Microsoft Office Excel; PowerPivot for Excel can be used to develop business intelligence.
  • Tools such as the Service Explorer which lets users build queries and preview their results.
  • The ability to discover market trends through the mining of large datasets.
  • The utilization of Azure data access architecture enabling rapid query response, maximization of data center usage and effortless scaling of applications.
  • Application logic in Azure’s data access layers handle the querying and storing of web services.
  • Support for social networking.

Whether you are a provider, developer or information consumer, you will find that Windows Azure Marketplace is the perfect information exchange for your data sharing or data consuming needs.

For more information, see:

Learn About Marketplace

Marketplace Frequently Asked Questions

Browse Datasets available in Marketplace