Devices and “The Cloud”

Posted By Robert Peterson
Sr. Product Manager

We often focus on the wide array of devices and how they are changing how we go about our daily lives, or the technology that goes into those devices (from ATM to slot machine to an MRI…Windows Embedded power lots of devices around the world)
Do those devices just sit there, alone, patiently waiting for use to pass by and use them?  For some devices this is the case, but most are connected somehow to make them ‘smart’….getting customer accounts or user preferences…although not to this extreme.  
Today that connection is often to a back end data center run by the device manufacturer or a large enterprise but we have been getting asked what about the cloud?  Being from Seattle, rest assured we do know quite a bit of things cloud related.  So let me share a few quick things about ‘the cloud’:
Companies all over the world have datacenters – rows of servers dedicated to supporting their applications, websites and storing their data.  Datacenters require a big investment in capital, staffing and time to keep them running 24x7…and the complexity is growing, requiring more time, resources and planning.  Additionally, datacenters need to support increased user demand for the applications and data provided by the company so as the business grows so does the investment in time, money and staff to support the datacenter.
Cloud computing allows companies to outsource the infrastructure that their applications, websites and data need.  This outsourcing can be the servers and also the OS/platform, depending on the needs of the company.  Applications, websites and data that run on company servers today can easily be moved to the cloud.  Moving to the cloud provides many advantages, here are three big ones:
Lower costs – no infrastructure investment in servers and datacenters so less resources required to configure and manage that infrastructure.  This lets companies focus their resources on their business.
Quicker to deploy – no need to delay in order to plan and build out internal networks and infrastructure. Get to market faster as the cloud is always ready. 
Easy to scale – use only for what you need on the cloud, scale up or down to what you need when you need it.  This also provides less risk to grow your business.
Of course there are LOTS of great blogs from the Azure team which can be found here.
A little later I will post some ideas on how device manufacturers can leverage the cloud, some of the benefits of using Windows Azure and probably some news later on in the month.  Funny how we are talking about the cloud when it is so sunny here in Seattle.
Feel free to post questions or comments...enjoy the summer!

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