It’s now been ten years since Microsoft announced its Azure cloud service. A decade is a long time in computing terms, so I took a trip back on the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine to see what Azure was like shortly after launch.
Back then, Microsoft was treating Azure as a platform as a service play, offering cloud-hosted services where you could build your applications. Live Services integrated with devices, SQL Services handled your data, and .Net Services hosted stateless applications, along with planned integrations for SharePoint and for Dynamics.
Azure at launch
There was a lot then that’s still familiar today. Many underlying technologies have since emerged in their own right and become key Azure development tools. Under the hood were now-familiar concepts, like worker processes and a managed service fabric. It wasn’t as flexible as building apps on Windows or Linux, but it was a roadmap to a world where software deployment was as simple as hitting the Publish button in your IDE.
Pushback from an industry that wasn’t ready for a stateless, serverless application development model meant that Azure had to take a step back and aim for parity with its main competition, Amazon Web Services. AWS had quickly gained market share with its focus on functional services that supported virtual infrastructure.