Windows Azure and the Hybrid Cloud

One of the critical requirements for enterprises to adopt Cloud is the Hybrid capability. Since most of the mission critical applications live behind the firewall, they should be able to extend the functionality of these applications to the Cloud.
Since the initial announcement of Windows Azure, Microsoft has been constantly investing in hybrid features. I want to highlight some of the scenarios that are ideal candidates for the Windows Azure Hybrid Cloud.
Imagine a scenario where the e-Commerce storefront running on the public domain needs to check the customer data in an internal CRM to apply the right level of discount before each checkout. The CRM application is a homegrown line of business application developed in .NET. The business logic is already exposed through a set of service endpoints that is consumed by the frontend. Now, making these endpoints accessible to the storefront application running on the Cloud is a challenge. The IT team will not approve opening additional ports to enable communication over the public Internet. This is exactly where Windows Azure Service Bus will come to the rescue. The Service Bus relay features is designed for the use-case of taking existing Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) web services and making those services securely accessible to solutions that reside outside the corporate perimeter without requiring intrusive changes to the corporate network infrastructure. Such Service Bus relay services are still hosted inside their existing environment, but they delegate listening for incoming sessions and requests to the cloud-hosted Service Bus. By enumerating the CRM endpoints on the Service Bus, the storefront application will be able to invoke the business logic as if it is running natively on the Cloud. This feature makes it easy to extend the on-premise LOB application’s business logic to the Cloud.

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