As I wrote in my last blog, VM roles aren’t an IaaS offering.
The good news is that IaaS really is coming to Windows Azure.
I got the news during a Microsoft training and was under Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), but… the news got public, so let’s talk about it.
Microsoft should release (soon in CTP?) an IaaS offering. Basically, it’s going to be a statefull role where Azure will be able to keep track of the state of your VM and transfer it to another physical VM in case the original VM goes down (e.g. Upgrade, hardware failure).
This will broaden Microsoft’s offering and keep on the move from ‘We’re all IN’ towards ‘Hybrid model’.
With an IaaS model, a company will be able to take their enterprise applications as is and transfer them to the cloud (I’ve heard the expression forklifting an app in the cloud, which I found quite colourful). For instance, a company could take its SharePoint Farm, transfer them to Azure and give access to those machines to their Enterprise Network using Azure Connect. This is only one example of the scenarios enabled by IaaS.
The initial offering is supposed to support different versions of Windows (Windows Azure currently support only Windows Server 2008 R2) and Linux.
This doesn’t outshine the current PaaS, which in my own opinion is way more powerful than IaaS (see my latest corporate blog about it). But PaaS requires investment and is typically more suited for new applications. IaaS is able to embrace a much larger spectrum of applications. For instance, if you have a Wiki running on a Linux box, it makes more sense to fork lift it to the cloud via an IaaS than trying to find an equivalent Wiki software being able to operate within the confine of Windows Azure and then migrate all its content, somehow.
Now this new Azure technology doesn’t have a name yet, so we should wait a little before seeing that in production.