Does Working Effectively with Azure Require New Skills ?

Recently I wrote a post that discussed developing applications for Microsoft’s Azure. This article was stimulated by an interview with Steve Balmer. My views drew a strong healthy response from Microsoft developers, insisting ASP.NET applications can be moved directly to the Azure cloud.

Related to my post an article on Information Week had Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s server and tools division saying “There are few people in the world who can write cloud applications. Our job is to enable everybody to be able to do it.”

I think the quote raises a number of interesting points. Companies will move existing applications to the cloud, or develop new cloud based applications for a variety of reasons. Cost savings in infrastructure are a primary motivation of course. But the scalability, reliability, rich media, reduced administration are also potentially equally or more significant. It is when the aspects of scalability, reliability, rich media are considered that new skills are required by developers to enable them maximise the benefits the cloud provides. With Azure, Microsoft have provided a rich environment for developing cloud based applications, much of which they have announced will find its way into their next generation of Windows Server and System Center management software. This raises the exciting prospect of running cloud applications on private networks or on the public Azure cloud together with hybrids integrating the two.

Developers for Azure can utilize their existing .NET development skills. However, the Azure platform features, application architecture and libraries to build true cloud applications are the areas in which developers require new skills. Microsoft have provided the tools, developers now need to know what these are and how to apply these. Thats where the training need for Azure arises, and effective training courses can provide a kick start to developers wanting to exploit the cloud. These new skills, combined with developers existing knowledge base open up a wide range of new business and technical opportunities.


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