Developers can use Microsoft's familiar .NET tools to build applications on Windows Azure and Microsoft used those tools to develop the environment, said Srivastava, who took the stage Monday after Ozzie to describe Azure in more detail. Eventually, Microsoft also will host all of its own Web-based services on Azure, he said.
Key to Azure is a Fabric Controller that "manages the lifecycle of the services" that developers build, Srivastava said.
The Fabric Controller "views all of the data center as fabric of shared hardware resources that can be managed and shared with all the services there," he said. This enables Azure to update developer's applications automatically, sparing them the hassle of updating those applications across individual PCs across the enterprise, Srivastava said.
Windows Azure also separates applications from the OS layer using Microsoft's virtualization technology, which also eliminates the need for updating desktop PCs when updating applications. This has long been a sore spot for corporate IT teams and has been seen as a stumbling block for enterprises to update to the latest version of the Windows client OS, Windows Vista.
Ozzie did not say when Windows Azure would be generally available, but said Microsoft will be discussing the platform in more detail in the next several days at the show.