Using Software as a Service with Microsoft Solutions
Windows Azure provides an amazingly rich, flexible, and scalable platform to run your custom applications, but sometimes you don’t need to develop a custom application. Instead, you might want to use off-the-shelf software in the cloud, or Software as a Service (SaaS). Microsoft offers a number of SaaS solutions, which have been designed based on experience and feedback from users of other public cloud solutions and on-premise solutions. In this section I explore the Microsoft collaboration and management of public cloud solutions.
Collaborative Working with Office 365
Formally known as Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Office 365 provides an SaaS version of Microsoft’s premium communication and collaboration technologies. Office 365 gives organizations access to highly available, Internet-based implementations of Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint, in addition to the browser-based Office Web Apps. This means an organization with no local infrastructure can have full access to all the capabilities of these main back-office technologies. If you have followed the evolution of Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint, you’ll have noticed that all three of these products have improved access to their services by using web protocols, such as HTTPS. It is because of the web protocol interface that these services can be hosted on the Internet and accessed using standard Office client tools, such as Outlook, without modification.