Windows Live is the former collective brand name for a set of services and software products from Microsoft; part of their software plus services platform. A majority of these services are Web applications, accessible from a browser, but there are also client-side binary applications that require installation. There are three ways in which Windows Live services are offered: Windows Essentials applications, web services, and mobile services.
Microsoft said that Windows Live "is a way to extend the Windows user experience". Windows Vista provides a link in its user interface to download Windows Live Messenger, and Windows 7 saw the removal of applications such as Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker and replaced with the Windows Essentials suite, a software package that allows the downloading and installation of similar offerings from Windows Live. Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will see Windows Live apps included right out of the box, and will include built-in synchronization technologies powered by SkyDrive.
Besides Windows Live, which is mainly aimed at individuals, there are some other Web properties from Microsoft that are branded as "Live": Xbox LIVE multiplayer gaming and content delivery system for Xbox and Xbox 360, and the Games for Windows - LIVE multiplayer gaming service for Microsoft Windows. Another "Live" service, Office Live, was converged into Windows Live during the Wave 4 update, when Microsoft merged Office Live into the Windows Live team in January 2009.
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Windows Azure is Microsoft's application platform for the public cloud. Windows Azure can be used to build a web application that runs and stores its data in Microsoft datacenters. It can connect on-premises applications with each other or to map between different sets of identity information.
In June 2012, Windows Azure released the following new features:
- Websites allows developers to build sites using ASP.NET, PHP, or Node.js and can be deployed using FTP, Git, or Team Foundation Server.
- Virtual machines let developers migrate applications and infrastructure without changing existing code, and can run both Windows Server and Linux virtual machines.
- Cloud services - Microsoft's Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment that is used to create scalable applications and services. Supports multi-tier scenarios and automated deployments.
- Data management - SQL Database, formerly known as SQL Azure Database, works to create, scale and extend applications into the cloud using Microsoft SQL Server technology. Integrates with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center and Hadoop.
- Media services - A PaaS offering that can be used for encoding, content protection, streaming, and/or analytics.
The Windows Azure Platform provides an API built on REST, HTTP, and XML that allows a developer to interact with the services provided by Windows Azure. Microsoft also provides a client-side managed class library which encapsulates the functions of interacting with the services. It also integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio, Git, and Eclipse so that it can be used as the IDE to develop and publish Azure-hosted applications.
Windows Azure became commercially available on 1 Feb 2010.
- Web sites - High density hosting of web sites. This feature was announced in preview form in June 2012 at the Meet Windows Azure event. Customers can create web sites in PHP, .NET, and Node.js, or select from several open source applications from a gallery to deploy. This comprises one aspect of the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings for the Windows Azure Platform.
- Virtual machines - Announced in preview form at the Meet Windows Azure event in June 2012 the Windows Azure Virtual Machines comprise the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering from Microsoft for their public cloud. Customers can create Virtual Machines, of which they have complete control, to run the Microsoft Data Centers. As of the preview the Virtual Machines supported Windows Server 2008 and 2012 RC operating systems and a few distributions of Linux.
Cloud services - Previously named "Hosted Services", the Cloud Services for Windows Azure comprise one aspect of the PaaS offerings from the Windows Azure Platform. The Cloud Services are containers of hosted applications. These applications can be internet-facing public web applications (such as web sites and ecommerce solutions), or they can be private processing engines for other work, such as processing orders or analyzing data.
- Developers can write code for Cloud Services in a variety of different programming languages; however, there are specific software development kits (SDKs) started by Microsoft for Python, Java, node.JS and .NET. Other languages may have support through Open Source projects. Microsoft published the source code for their client libraries on GitHub.
- SQL Database
- BLOB Storage
- SQL Reporting
- Data Marketplace
- Active Directory
- Access Control Service
- Windows Azure Service Bus
- Media Services
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