Windows Azure Marketplace is designed to match information providers with end users and developers. It's a core aspect of the encompassing Windows Azure platform, arguably one of the most complete cloud offerings available.The new
A distinguishing aspect of the "DataMarket" service has to be Microsoft'e efforts to make the platform available to developers and the end user.
Data providers in the marketplace provide information that users may immediately access with Microsoft applications.
But the platform is not to be confused with an app environment. It is a data marketplace.
Our guess is that the service will see its most use from developers, business analysts and people familiar with using data for discovery purposes.
For application developers, the service provides users with the ability to use premium and freely available data. Data is available through REST-based APIs. The data is freely available on a trial basis.
What is in the Marketplace?
At its launch, the marketplace included 77 data sets across 13 categories from 28 publishers.
Data sets are spit into categories that include entertainment and media; financier; health and wellness; location based services; mathematics; movies and events; news; points of interest; real estate; retail and merchandise; statistics; transportation and navigation as well as weather.
Data sets available include those from from Wolfram Alphra, ESRI (geodata) and the World Bank.
For example, Wolfram Alpha provides developers access to its data as set by the terms of its API. The marketplace provides descriptions of the service, examples of its images and instructions how to access the information.
After agreeing to the terms, the data may query the data directly from the marketplace or access it through Excel and Tableau, a digital visualization tool. It is also provides the option of developing an application with Visual Studio.
We are witnessing the evolution of cloud-based platforms. Data is increasingly available for developers in one central place. But the ability for end users to get access to big data is relatively new. We'll be curious about how fast it gets adopted.