Steve Ballmer made a presentation in Switzerland this week and I had the chance to be selected as an attendee for his conference. Its topic was the Cloud opportunities offered by Microsoft. His talk was followed by a more technical presentation on Azure by a Microsoft consultant.
You can read here my report on Steve Ballmer Microsoft Cloud presentation with link to the videos and slides of the event.
From the creation of the cloud instance and SQL Azure database to the usage of Azure storage for pictures, CDN and AppFabric cache instances to improve performance, all the components of Microsoft Cloud platform were reviewed in the demo that followed his presentation. The Cloud costs of this one-hour demo were estimated to 3 dollars. This variable pricing reinforces my feeling that a Cloud solution is very interesting when you need to support exceptional web usage, like the momentarily spikes of traffic or for testing purposes. You pay only for the actual computing power that you use without having to invest in infrastructure.