"On January 1, for the first time, Windows Azure will switch to a production service for paying customers," Ozzie said at the Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference) in Los Angeles. Microsoft will execute its production systems and billing systems for Azure, Ozzie said.
Actual charges, however, will not accrue until February. Azure, introduced at the PDC in October 2008, has been in a community technology preview phase.
"Tens of thousands of developers have participated in the CTP and you've made a tremendous - a tremendous - impact on the product," Ozzie said.
He touched on ambitions for Azure, including the ability to run Java applications via the Apache Tomcat server and introduced an Azure subsystem codenamed Dallas, which features an marketplace for public and commercial data. "Dallas makes the whole world of data better than the sum of its parts by creating a uniform discovery mechanism for data," said Ozzie. Dallas, which Ozzie described as "data as a service," now heads to a CTP phase.
"The magic of Dallas is about taking friction out of the process of discovery, exploring, and using data so you can create applications and experiences," said Dave Campbell, Microsoft technical fellow.
Dallas data feeds will be discovered via a new service called Microsoft Pinpoint.
Wordpress was introduced as a user of Azure, as was Cheezburger Network, which will host its oddlyspecific.com website, pertaining to strange signage, on Azure.
Microsoft also introduced a beta release of Windows Server AppFabric, providing application services for developers to more easily deploy and manage applications spanning the server and the cloud. AppFabric combines hosting and caching technologies formerly codenamed Dublin and Velocity with the Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus and AppFabric Access Control, formerly known as .Net Services. AppFabric technologies will be featured in Azure and Windows Server.