Astoria is an experimental data service from Microsoft that allow you to store up to 100 MB online and consume them with simple HTTP Requests or as described by Pablo Castro Microsoft Astoria Technical Lead
The Astoria online service is an experimental service that aims at exploring programming models for data on the web, offered in the form of a service. Using the Astoria online service, web developers can create custom structured data stores (up to 100MB in size) on the web and access them from anywhere that they have Internet access. These data services can then be the storage or data source for mashups, or the backing store for Internet enabled applications, or be applied to any other scenario where a rich data service on the web is required, independently of where it is hosted.
You can test drive Astoria by going to http://astoria.mslivelabs.com and logging with Live Passport.
Even this isn't a evolutionary project but it's success will determine by the way Microsoft will distribute Astoria accounts on the future it's always great to have up and running data service that is simple to consume, Astoria using basic HTTP authentication over SSL but I drought it if this will still be the case on the nearest release.
To quickly test drive Astoria your self without having to create a new account you can use the already existed - since MIX07 - read only demo data services
There is this Web tool that will help you understand what Astoria is all about you can go to https://astoria.sandbox.live.com/Tools/raw.htm and use the link http://astoria.sandbox.live.com/adventureworks/adventureworks.rse as your data service URI.
I failed to get data from AdventureWorks on JSON or RDF only XML format works.. at least for now.
in order to create your own 100 MB limited data service you may want to read this:
In order to create an Astoria data service all you need is a Microsoft Passport account. To create a service simply navigate to the ‘Online Service’ page on http://astoria.mslivelabs.com , signin to your passport account and follow the directions on the website. The site will walk you throw a 4 step process to design, create and assign credentials to your data service. If the creation process succeeds, you will be given a URL to your new data service. At this point, you can interact with the service using HTTP requests as described in detail in the document, ‘Using Microsoft Astoria’.
many application ideas pups into my head when I saw this..for instant I can implement a offsite backup solution way rapidly than I could do now.. but still couldn't see this project as a big hit.