According to Elizabeth Montalbano’s Ballmer: Azure ready for release by end of year InfoWorld post of 1/24/2009:
Microsoft plans to release its Windows Azure cloud computing platform before the end of the year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Tuesday [at the company’s Winter Wall Street Analysts briefing].
In comments made to members of the financial community, Ballmer said Microsoft will have "the ability to go to market" with Azure by the end of this year at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in November.
"[Azure] will reach fruition with the PDC this year," he said. Ballmer spoke to Wall Street analysts Tuesday to give them an update on Microsoft's financial status and what they can expect from the company for the remainder of the fiscal and calendar year. Microsoft's fiscal year ends on June 30.
This represents a significant delivery slip for SQL Data Services (SDS), which was slated to release in 2009H1 when introduced as SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) at MIX08. My SQL Server Data Services to Deliver Entities from the Cloud post of 3/7/2008 provides the low-down on SDS’s predecessor.
The Azure team will need to speed development substantially if promised relational features are to be included in SDS v1 (see my A Mid-Course Correction for SQL Data Services post of 2/24/2009.) Most features promised by the SSDS team in mid-2008 still haven’t made it into the current SDS CTP.
Details will be added when a transcript is available.