I find myself impressed, underwhelmed and, in fact, a little disappointed. Here's how that breaks down:
This is clearly the most full featured PaaS out there. Service frameworks, a service bus, identity, database services (both relational and unstructured), a full featured IDE integration. No one else is doing this much--not even Google.
I love the focus on hybrid implementations (both on-premesis and "in the cloud"). Software plus Services can really pay off here, as you look at the demonstrations give in the keynote.
The identity stuff is a key differentiator. Not your Live account, but whatever federated identity you are using.
They used an opportunity to announce a revolutionary change to Microsoft's technology and business to demonstrate how all the things people have already been doing in .NET can be shoehorned into the cloud. Product recalls? Really?
It started to sound like they would dig deep into architecture and radical new opportunities, but in the end they just showed off an awful lot of "gluing" existing products together. *Yawn*
Its PaaS. There is no Amazon-killer, no opportunity for the masses to leverage Microsoft data centers, no ability to deploy "raw" Windows applications into the cloud. Just a tool to force adoption of full scale .NET development and Microsoft products. Good for Microsoft, but will it win any converts?
I wanted more from Ray. I wanted a peek into a future that I never considered; an understanding of where it was that Microsoft's DNA was going to advance the science of the cloud, rather than just provide Microsoft's spin on it. With the possible exception of identity, I'm not sure I saw any of that.
By the way, Azure is only open to PDC2008 participants at first. The floodgates will slowly be opened over the next several months--in fact, no upper bound was given.