Introduction to the Windows Azure Marketplace
Windows Azure, the cloud computing platform from Microsoft, not only offers developers the ability to build applications that run in the cloud, but it also offers the ability to share building block components and other services that run in the cloud.
Here is a short list of what developers can offer in the cloud based platform:
- Building block components
- Service templates
- Premium data sets
- Finished services
All of these can be discovered, bought, sold, and shared in an online marketplace called the Windows Azure Marketplace. There are two main sections of the Windows Azure marketplace:
The Windows Azure Marketplace - Datamarket Section
This section (formerly referred to by codename Dallas) is the place where one can buy or sell data in the form of datasets. The various forms offered include static data, imagery (maps), and real-time data (weather, traffic).
This section appeals to both end users as well as application developers. End users: The end users can consume the available datasets in their cloud-based applications or rich applications (Excel and BI tools) to make
Application developers: They can use data to provide rich information to users like live traffic status, etc. The data feeds can be consumed from within Visual Studio or via web development tools that support HTTP.
Developers can use the different dataset with a single, consistent REST based API. The data available includes premium public domain and commercial datasets. You can browse the various datasets available from the Windows Azure DataMarket. At the time of writing the article, the available datasets from the following categories were available:
- Entertainment and Media
- Health and Wellness
- Location based services
- Points of Interest
- Real Estate
- Retail and Merchandise
- Transportation and Navigation
Windows Azure Marketplace - Applications Section
This section includes building blocks, services, training and even finished services/applications. These can be used by other Azure developers to build their applications. This section is also called Microsoft Pinpoint. Microsoft Windows Azure experts can also promote their development and IT skills within the Azure community using this section. When you are logged in at the PinPoint site, you can sign up to be a provider. Currently, the Applications Section has offerings in three major categories:
- Professional Services
It even allows for finer refinement as we can see from the illustration below:
In this article, we explored the Windows Azure Marketplace. Hopefully, the tour will have excited you to create your own offering.
About the Author
Vipul Patel is a Software Engineer currently working at Microsoft Corporation. He is currently working in the Office Communications Group and has worked in the .NET team earlier in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org