Tomorrow is the start of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, PDC10. Every SharePoint ISV should have one or two developers or architects in attendance, virtually, if not physically.
This edition of PDC is important because much of the focus will be on the Windows Azure platform, and Cloud Computing concepts. I don’t think there is a bigger question that SharePoint ISVs have, than “What are the Cloud and Azure implications for SharePoint, and for my business?”
Now is the time to learn about Microsoft’s direction with the Windows Azure platform. There are bound to be a number of announcements about the Windows Azure platform, and because the integration with SharePoint 2010 is not a direct integration, but is an indirect integration, most, if not all, SharePoint solutions will need to be re-architected.
Even if you have selected a different cloud provider than the Windows Azure platform, you will benefit from understanding Microsoft’s direction around Windows Azure. Windows Azure focuses more on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, and is not an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. This implies that more or less services are available to you as a solution builder.
There won’t be a lot of sessions about SharePoint specifically, but most of the Azure sessions will have a bearing on SharePoint development. There will be one session on SharePoint Online, but it will be viewable on demand, and not live.
Use http://player.microsoftpdc.com/ to see the agenda, and to play the sessions in a live streaming mode and for replay after the conference concludes.
I should stress that development for SharePoint Online and development for SharePoint and Windows Azure are different things at this point. SharePoint solution builders need to understand that they need to have two approaches to deliver their solutions, or pick the best approach and work to deliver well through that channel. I would love to be able to update this post to announce that a SharePoint solution builder can target SharePoint Online and the Windows Azure platform with the same approach, but that will not be true for a long time, if ever. SharePoint Online is Not SharePoint on Windows Azure.
The timing for this event is also interesting, given the new announcements of Office 365 as the new name for the Business Productivity Online Suite. I’m not sure that we’ll see much about Office 365, given that the PDC is owned by the Developer side of the campus, and not the Business side, but there should be mentions and maybe some additional information in the high-level keynotes.