Monday, April 06, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 3/30/2009+

Windows Azure, Azure Data Services, SQL Data Services and related cloud computing topics now appear in this weekly series.

Posts about Open Cloud Computing ManifestoGate are in the Cloud Computing Events section temporarily, because all the action is at the Cloud Computing Expo being held in New York City this week (3/30/2009 – 4/1/2009).

Updated 4/6/2009: Additions for 4/5/2009 and some 4/6/2009 (repeated in next edition)
Updated 4/3/2009 – 4/5/2009: Additions
• Updated 4/1/2009 and 4/2/2009: Added .NET Services March CTP info, no tokens for .NET and SQL Services provisioning and the Google Data Center Efficiency Summit. (No 4/1 jokes included intentionally.)

Note: This post is updated daily or more frequently, depending on the availability of new articles.

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Rob Bagby explores Azure Table Storage, the REST and ADO.NET Data Services Story in this lengthy post of 4/3/2009:

Azure Table Storage is exposed via ADO.NET Data Services.  What the heck does that mean?  In this post, I will do my best to answer that question.  I will start with a brief overview of REST, the architectural style underlying ADO.NET Data Services.  As part of that topic, I will illustrate all we are doing when accessing Table Storage is issuing REST calls.  I will then discuss the role ADO.NET Data Services plays, as well as the role of the StorageClient sample application.

SQL Data Services (SDS)

Simon Munro argues that SQL Data Services Does Not Scale in this 3/31/2009 essay based on his “Comparing Azure Storage and SQL Data Services” presentation to the SQLBits conference in Manchester, UK. Simon writes:

The only (and suggested) way of getting scalability out of SDS is to scale out using partitions. Generally this is a really difficult thing for the relational model and SQL to do as a big part of the SQL model is the ability to have consistent data. Brewers CAP conjecture implies that SQL, by being Consistent and Available has to forgo Partition Tolerance – and I believe that that is the case with SDS.

Anyone who has tried to build a solution based on partitioned databases will know that the architecture in the above case study is no simple achievement and takes a lot of work whereby an entire layer needs to exist to allow the system to first identify the correct partition for the data. In the same MIX09 presentation Nigel Ellis hints at efforts that will be made in terms of adding some partition support to SDS, which may, through the use of configuration, provide for better querying across partitions (although ACID may be more difficult).

It’s to be noted that the SDS team now refers to “departmental” sized databases. As an example, the First round of Questions and Answers post of 3/12/2009 to the SQL Data Services Team Blog says:

The database size will be capped. We are still evaluating what the cap will be, but the plan is to ensure that the allowed database size supports most, if not all, departmental and web application workloads. [Emphasis added.]

A video segment of the session might be available shortly here.

I’ve updated my Examples of Scaling Relational Databases Up and Out post of 3/30/2009 with the preceding content.

• Pat Helland, SQL Server architect extraordinaire, discusses cloud computing from the standpoint of a ultra-large database (ULDB) guru who’s an autonomous computing enthusiast. in this ASP.NET Webcast of 4/2/2009 (Remember fiefdoms and emissaries?) Wally McClure’s ASP.NET Podcast Show #139 - David Penton and Pat Helland on Cloud Computing – audio has show notes.

Andrew Brust’s What's Old Is New Again column for Visual Studio Magazine’s April 2009 issue recounts the history of Visual Basic 3.0’s adoption of the Jet (Access) 1.1 relational database and the parallel with the SDS team’s course reversal from the Entity-Attribute-Value data model to a full-featured relational database. Here’s the deck:

Aligning SQL in the cloud to SQL on the ground is about more than just common sense. It's about getting things done.

Andrew concludes:

So Redmond listened to its customers, and the bizarre obsession with copying Amazon's SimpleDB Web service is over. Microsoft has given us a truly simple offering: the SQL Server technology that most Microsoft developers have been using for a decade and some have been using since even before my first column was published.

I couldn’t agree more.

P.S. Andrew and I started writing for VSM’s predecessor about 15 years ago when it had just been renamed from BASIC Pro to Visual Basic Programmers Journal.

• Alin Irimie reports No More Invitation Codes Needed For .NET Services And SLQ Services provisioning as of 4/1/2009. Alin says:

Just go to and press the Signup button. The following services will be provisioned:

  • Microsoft® SQL Data Service
  • Microsoft® .NET Service Bus
  • Microsoft® .NET Workflow Service
  • Microsoft® .NET Access Control Service

I haven’t tested the new SDS instance yet, but attempting to create a second instance with the same Solution Name fails with a “Solution name has already been used” error message.

My Examples of Scaling Relational Databases Up and Out post of 3/30/2009 draws on presentations by Amazon Web Service architect/VP James Hamilton and CTO Craig Weissman to demonstrate that relational databases can scale to cloud dimensions.

Mike Flasko’s ADO.NET Data Services and the "new" SQL Data Services post of 3/29/2009 reminds prospective SDS users of the following recent posts about how SDS will support full relational capabilities with ADO.NET:

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

Clemens Vasters continues on his .NET Service Bus roll with his .NET Services March 2009 CTP: Host a Public Website At The Kitchen Table or from a Coffee Shop! No Kidding post of 4/5/2009:

Using the application/service built from the sample linked at the top of this post you can host a publicly discoverable and accessible website or Web service from your Windows notebook or desktop machine from within most network environments without having to open up a port on the firewall, mapping a port on your NAT, or using some type of dynamic DNS service to make the site discoverable. All those essential connectivity features are provided by the .NET Service Bus and with the help of the included sample code. [Emphasis Clemens’.]

Clemens VastersXML-RPC with WCF (Updated) post of 4/3/2009 announces the availability of his “new XML-RPC implementation is no longer a binding with a special encoder, but is implemented entirely as a set of behaviors and extensions for the WCF Service Model”:

The resulting Service Model programming experience is completely "normal". That means you can also expose the XML-RPC contracts as SOAP endpoints with all the advanced WCF bindings and features if you like. The behaviors support client and service side. I stripped the config support from this version – I’ll add that back once I get around to it.

•• Ryan Dunn explains why there’s no Windows Azure version of Azure Issue Tracker today [that hosts Geneva] in his Windows Azure and Geneva post of 4/2/2009 by a link to Vittorio Bertocci’s Claims and Cloud: Pardon our Dust post of 4/1/2009. Vittorio writes:

Developing secure applications and providing a hosting service often provide seemingly contrasting requirements. In order to secure communications you take advantage of protected resources, such as private keys; but when you offer a hosting service for multiple tenants, you abstract away the access to those very resources. The net result is that if you combine early versions of products and offerings that evolved under those different requirements, they may not just work with one another out of the box.

This is currently the case with Geneva Framework and Windows Azure: for a variety of reasons, an application that takes advantage of the Geneva Framework will not work “as is” when hosted in Windows Azure, including Microsoft products that were written to use the Geneva Framework. You may have heard that the new full trust settings we announced for Windows Azure at MIX would make the above scenario work, however that’s not the case: there is more than full trust [required] for enabling the complete range of possibilities offered by claims based access. [Emphasis added.] …

•• Clemens Vasters added .NET Services March 2009 CTP - Service Bus Routers And Queues - Part 2: Queue Policies and .NET Services March 2009 CTP - Service Bus Routers And Queues - Part 3: The REST Queue Protocol to his .NET Services series on 4/2/2009

• Matias Woloski has “been working lately with Windows Azure and Geneva in different projects” and posted Windows Azure working with Geneva Framework on 4/2/2009 (although the article is dated 4/5/2009.) Matias writes:

After some days testing different workarounds (and being patient with Azure deploy) I was able to configure Windows Azure web role as a relying party trusting on LiveID through ACS. The biggest challenge to overcome was how to use X509Certificates in the absence of the usual certificate stores.

• Clemens Vasters continues his posts on the new .NET Services features with .NET Services March 2009 CTP - Service Bus Routers and Queues - Part 1: Fundamentals of 4/1/2009.

• Matias Woloski’s Creating Security Token Services with Microsoft Identity Framework (Zermatt) post of 4/1/2009 contains this link:

Sebastian [Iacomuzzi] who has been working with Zermatt for a couple of weeks already, is posting a useful “straight to the point” how to implement active and passive STS’s using Zermatt. The abstractions in Zermatt are making this a joy. I like the separation of the STS from the underlying host (i.e. ASP.NET, WCF, “put-the-name-of-the-next-foundation”) because allows you to reuse the same STS for both the service layer and the presentation layer and have a consistent access control mechanism on both layers using claims.

• Clemens Vasters uses a German children’s song to complain about pseudo-RESTful APIs that aren’t “picking the appropriate predefined HTTP method” in his [Intermission] Auf der Mauer, auf der Lauer sitzt 'ne kleine Wa! - or: When REST isn't REST - or: Why and How I Care About Standards-Compliance post of 4/1/2009.

• Bruno Terkaly’s Azure – Microsoft .NET Services – The Service Bus – Blog Post about Setup post of 4/1/2009 “is all about getting ready to learn about .NET Services, and the Service Bus specifically. This blog is based on the Azure Services Toolit SDK and Training Kit and adds additional background information.”

The second chapter is Azure – Microsoft .NET Services- Step 02 – The Service Bus – Blog Post about Creating a Service Bus Solution of 4/2/2009.

• Alin Irimie reports No More Invitation Codes Needed For .NET Services And SLQ Services provisioning as of 4/1/2009. See the “SQL Data Services (SDS)” section for details.

• Clemens Vasters.NET Services March 2009 CTP - The Service Bus Namespace post of 3/31/2009 explains how the Service Bus’s:

[N]amespace root for each project is taking on a new form that we had already pre-announced into the PDC’08 documentation and that I’ve talked about at PDC and other occasions. Any project’s root URI is now, depending on the chosen transport option, of the form

sb:// or or

The previous root URI for a project was sb:|http:|, which was clearly sub-optimal for a number of reasons.

And adds details about the technical and philosophical reasons for the change.

His .NET Services March 2009 CTP - "Milestone 5" post of the same date discusses additional March 2009 CTP changes to the .NET Service Bus.

The .NET Services Team’s .NET Services – Announcements post of 4/1/2009 provides more detailed information on the March 2009 .NET Services CTP.

Steven Martin announces in his .NET Services - Cloud Interoperability post of 3/30/2009 that the .NET Services team will release the “M5” (Milestone 5) CTP of .NET Services on 3/31/2009. According to Steven:

This milestone contains enhancements to all of the services including expanded support for standards like REST, ATOM, SOAP and HTTP. As I mentioned previously, we demonstrated at MIX cloud to cloud interop in action. Specifically, we showed how the Access Control Service and Service Bus could be integrated with a Python Application deployed into Google App Engine using just two lines of code. As always, feedback from developers is critical to us. So, please take time to sign up for the CTP, and tell us what you think. We’re on our way to commercial availability later this year and we need your help to get there. [Emphasis Steven’s.]

Update 3/31/2009: You can download the Microsoft .NET Services SDK (March 2009 CTP) from here.

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

My Azure Table Test Harness with HTTPS, Encryption, and Membership Services for Authentication/Authorization post of 4/6/2009 shows you how to test drive my live AzureTableTestHarnessSSL.sln project that takes advantage of ASP.NET Membership Services samples from the Windows Azure SDK March 2009 CTP.

Clemens Vasters continues on his .NET Service Bus roll with his .NET Services March 2009 CTP: Host a Public Website At The Kitchen Table or from a Coffee Shop! No Kidding post of 4/5/2009 (repeated from the “.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow” section. 

Azure Infrastructure

••• Bernard Golden’s Power: One Cloud Cost Advantage That May Be Irresistible article of 4/6/2009 for CIO’s Virtualization and Cloud Observer blog analyzes Microsoft’s The Cost of a Cloud: Research Problems in Data Center Networks whitepaper and Steve Denegri’s Cloud Computing Dominance Through Renewable Energy paper:

From [Denegri’s] research, he concludes that Microsoft obtains a 22% discount on its property taxes (this is based on a discount extended to companies that make very large real property investments). With regard to power, Microsoft obtains a 45% discount, based on using enough electricity to fall into a "Super Large Power" user category. This advantage may be enhanced in the future, Denegri states, because of potential taxes to be applied to carbon-based power. Microsoft may be able to strike an arrangement to have its data center powered by clean energy sources (e.g., wind or solar), thereby avoiding these additional taxes.

••• Microsoft attempts to explain its ubiquitous Software as a Services strategy with an inspirational[?] intro video, a Ray Ozzie introduction, and pages for potential Xbox, Azure, Windows Live and Mobile, and Office Online services. (This site might have been around for a while; I just found it.)

••• Mary Jo Foley reports Microsoft links HealthVault service with Amalga software on 4/6/2009:

HealthVault is Microsoft’s consumer-focused health-records-management Software+Service platform, which the company unveiled officially in 2007. (The service component of HealthVault is one of a handful of Microsoft services that already is hosted on top of Azure.) Amalga UIS, (one of the products formerly under the Azyxxi brand), is one of the main elements of Microsoft’s enterprise health-information-system platform. [Emphasis and links added.]

Dimitry Sotknikov’s Can cloud make you MORE compliant? post of 4/6/2009 reviews a report by Scott Crawford from Enterprise Management Associates - “The Security Paradox of Cloud: Five Questions for Cloud Providers” and adds his comments on the paper.

••• David Pallman begins a new Azure series with Grid Computing on the Azure Cloud Computing Platform, Part 1 of 4/5/2009:

In this series of articles we're going to look at grid computing using the Azure cloud computing platform. In Part 1, we'll look at this from a design pattern and benefits perspective.

The Windows Azure Team reports on a problem that caused “a number of applications running in Windows Azure [to be] unreachable for a period of time” (~8 hours from 1:15 PM PDT to 9:00 PM PDT) on 4/2/2009 in its Application Accessibility Restored post of the same date. The team writes:

For those who are wondering, though the underlying cause of the March 13th malfunction was very different, the same improvements we're making in detection and response in the Fabric Controller apply.

Remember to change the number of instances to count=”2” in the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file to minimize the effect of such outages on your services. The Azure team says that the extra instance won’t count against your quotas.

Kevin Jackson’s Former DoT CIO on Cloud Computing post of 4/3/2009 reports that former Transportation Department CIO Dan Mintz offered his views on cloud computing to Eric Chabrow. Kevin adds NSC counter terrorism director Paul Kurtz’s views on the issue:

[D]etermining which information is safe to be accessed over the Internet shouldn't be a problem. He believes the savings to taxpayers to be significant by using software as a service applications and storing non-sensitive data in the clouds. His only concern is what he calls a "disruption in the sky", an Internet outage that would make access to information problematic. Still, he says, it worth doing and calls for lawmakers to address cloud computing in the regulatory reform legislation.

• Bob Muglia says, “Further out, Microsoft will release a version of its System Center management software designed specifically with private clouds in mind,” according to J. Nicholas Hoover’s Microsoft To Enable Private Clouds With Windows Server, System Center article for InformationWeek of 4/2/2009:

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) plans to build features into future versions of Windows Server, as well as a new System Center product, that will help companies deploy and manage private clouds, Microsoft server and tools division president Bob Muglia said in an interview Wednesday.

Muglia’s statements from this interview appear to contradict, at least in part, the protestations of many Microsoft execs that a downsized Azure version for private clouds won’t find life in a SKU because the data center hardware is non-standard.

• Krishnan Subramanian’s Cloud Security Alliance – A Solid First Step post of 4/2/2009 analyzes the tasks awaiting this recently founded industry group.

• Dave Malcom describes The Five Pillars of Cloud Computing in this better-than-average description of cloud computing (4/2/2009).

• Pat Helland, SQL Server architect extraordinaire, discusses cloud computing from the standpoint of a ultra-large database (ULDB) guru who’s an autonomous computing enthusiast. in this ASP.NET Webcast of 4/2/2009 (Remember fiefdoms and emissaries?) Wally McClure’s ASP.NET Podcast Show #139 - David Penton and Pat Helland on Cloud Computing – audio has show notes. (Copied from the “SQL Data Services (SDS)” section.)

• David Linthicum analyzes the downside of service coupling in his Understanding Coupling for the Clouds essay of 4/2/2009 for Cloud Computing Journal.

David Bressler’s The Impact of Cloud Computing on Enterprise Architecture post of 3/31/2009 for Cloud Computing carries this deck:

Cloud computing is set to revolutionize the way enterprises consume IT. In this article, David Bressler of Progress Software investigates the implications of cloud computing on application delivery within the enterprise and outlines best practices for a successful foundation to cloud computing.

Kim Hart reports on current and pending federal adoption of public clouds in the Washington Post’s Tech Firms Seek to Get Agencies on Board With Cloud Computing article of 3/31/2009.

Jon Torresdal’s Article: Microsoft Azure - A new era for software companies? of 4/30/2009 carries the following deck:

This article is a translation of a Norwegian article I wrote earlier that got published on IT Pro a few days ago. It’s targeted towards IT decision makers and leaders, does not contain my usual technical focus, but should still be a valuable read for developers not familiar with Azure or want to know more about cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Events

Cloudforce London will hear from Marc Benioff on 4/7/2009, according to this 4/3/2009 pitch from the enterprise cloud computing company, today announced that Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of, will speak at Cloudforce London, UK on Tuesday, April 7th, 2008 at 5:00 am EDT / 10:00 am BST. Mr. Benioff will also speak at a lunch for press and analysts at approximately 12:00 pm BST. An audio webcast of Mr. Benioff's presentations will be available on's website at

Cloud Expo Europe offers free pre-registration for conference sessions with two business and one technical tracks.

Where: Barbican Centre, London, UK When: 20-21 May 2009

TechHermit gives props to Google and wonders “where is Microsoft?” in his Google Data Center Event Impresses and Raises Stakes post of 4/4/2009. He also includes a link to videos of Google’s recent Data Center Efficiency Summit.

Julia Lim’s FOSE 2009 Survey - Part II - Can’t See the Clouds post of 4/2/2009 analyzes her second survey of federal government IT at FOSE (the Federal Office Systems Exposition) and finds cloud computing at the bottom of the important technologies and spending lists:

with only 42% marking it as important or very important to their operations and only 11% already using it (and 8% planning projects for this year). I have to say that I was a bit surprised to see even ITIL/CMDB (at 50% important/very important) beat Cloud Computing out on this list …

Jeffrey Schwartz’s IBM's Cloud CTO On Microsoft Azure: How Open Is It Going To Be? 4/1/2009 post to Redmond Developer News’ Data Driver blog quotes Yousef Khalidi, a distinguished engineer for Microsoft's cloud infrastructure services, who gave a presentation at Cloud Computing Expo this week:

Khalidi emphasized that its forthcoming Azure cloud platform will support both native and managed code, and not just .NET including Java, Ruby and PHP.

"I'm sitting here telling you, you can run anything you want on this platform," Khalidi insisted during a session Monday in response to a question by an attendee about Microsoft's support for different languages on its Azure Services Platform. The attendee seemed taken aback by that.

But Kristof Kloeckner, CTO of enterprise initiatives and VP of cloud computing at IBM wasn’t sanguine about the openness of the Azure Services Platform, according to Schwartz:

"I think the real question is going to be around how open is it going to be? What role are ecosystem partners going to play in Microsoft's environment? Certainly what I heard in the presentation that they want to support multiple languages makes sense. Whether that means a greater openness, I don't know. Let's just wait and see what they come up with."

Kevin Jackson reviews his own Cloud Computing Expo session in his Second Government Cloud Computing Survey post of 4/1/2009:

My presentation, The View from Government Cloud Computing Customers, reviewed findings from the second Government Cloud Computing Survey. Sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, 1105 Media and Dataline, LLC, the purpose of this survey was to validate finding of the October 2008 survey and to see if the significant trends noted then had changed.

Kevin’s post includes tables that compare the relatively popularity of concerns between the first and second surveys.

Kevin Jackson reports on the Navy Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) Industry Day festivities in Washington, DC on 3/31/2009:

In case you're not familiar with NGEN, this project will be the follow-on to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and represents the Navy's first step towards achieving a future vision of a fully integrated Naval Networking Environment (NNE). NMCI itself is the world's largest intranet 700,000 accounts.

Among other things, not the least of which was a year-long program delay, RADM Bill Goodwin, NGEN Program manager, made it a point to highlight an interest in cloud computing.

Sam Johnston’s On the CCIF unkeynote and open cloud community post of 4/1/2009 takes on Reuven Cohen, the CCIF, Manifesto, and the Cloud Computing Alliance. Sam writes:

My point is not to criticise them for the sake of it, rather to encourage fellow community members to critically assess what is forced down their throats proposed for creating a truly open cloud computing community. This is something I've been working towards all along (ironically, against the very people who now propose it) and something I for one have a lot of experience with. While I'm glad Reuven's finally on board with the "open cloud community" idea (a "melting pot" where both users and vendors come together to share ideas") I'll be disappointed if he claims it as his own (like the manifesto which did more damage than good.

David Linthicum discusses the recent issues around the Open Cloud Manifesto and what you need to consider as a cloud computing practitioner in his Cloud Computing Manifestos Manifesto podcast of 4/1/2009, available directly here.

Jon Bodkin’s Cloud computing vendors converge on standard definition, goals NetworkWorld post of 3/31/2009 reviews Werner Vogels’ and Kristof Kloeckner’s Cloud Computing Explo keynotes, notes the formation of the Cloud Security Alliance and the Open Cloud Manifesto controversy.

Cristofer Hoff (@Beaker) announces the formation of another cloud-computing splinter group in his Introducing the Cloud Security Alliance post of 3/31/2009, which he describes as:

[A] member-driven forum for both industry, providers and “consumers” of Cloud Computing services to discuss issues and opportunities for security in this emerging space and help craft awareness, guidance and best practices for secure Cloud adoption.  It’s not a standards body. It’s not a secret cabal of industry-only players shuffling for position.

The website offers a more formal definition.

John Foley calls the Open Cloud Manifesto “anticlimactic” and “embarrassing” in his Cloud Manifesto Lacks Thunder post of 3/30/2009. John concludes:

Where do we go from here? I'm not convinced the computer industry needs a cloud interoperability Manifesto. Everyone already agrees that interoperability is desirable, indeed a necessity; the question is how we get from here to there.

Cloud interoperability will result from the same Darwinian process that drives interoperability in other parts of the computer industry--popular technologies and APIs rise to the top, users seek ways to get platforms and services to work together, vendors (sometimes with arms twisted) work toward making that happen, and standards groups usher the process along where and when needed.

Krishnan Subramanian reports the withdrawal of the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) and Google from the Open Cloud Manifesto’s signators in his Open Cloud Manifesto - The Fight Takes A Surprise Turn post of 3/30/2009.

Dennis Howlett reports he was surprised when he saw that "SAP had signed up for the Open Cloud Manifesto in his SAP signs up for Open Cloud Manifesto: does anyone care? post of 3/30/2009. Dennis continues:

Despite SAP’s best endeavors, thousands of customers and code jocks, ABAP is not a standard in the same way that Java has become. If you know ABAP the only place you can take it is to another SAP shop. If you know Java - well - you can pretty much go anywhere. So couching the manifesto in terms of ‘open’ seems a little disingenuous.

Brenda Michelson’s Liveblogging: Cloud Computing Expo #1, Werner Vogels on Amazon & Infrastructure Services post of 4/30/2009 indicates that Vogel’s The Power of Infrastructure as a Service session is old had -- a rehash of similar presentations he’s given to all the other cloud-computing conferences this year and last. If you need an example, see The Principles of Distributed Computing and the Birth of AWS for Web 2.0 Expo on 4/2/2009.

Paul Greenberg reports for ZDNet on the formation of the Open Cloud Manifesto (OCM) site, analyzes the OCM’s content, discusses the signators and objectors, and concludes:

I’m not as ready to write the whole thing off that quickly as some others are. I like the idea of some of the tech heavy hitters starting the conversation as they notably put it - even if that conversation is a bit self-serving.  But, the discussion has to start somewhere and this may be where it aggregates - if they can increase their credibility and get at least a few of the biggest cloud players involved.  If they manage that, then, as the old Ella Fitzgerald warbled song goes,  this may be the start of somethin’ big.  I hope so, but its got a long way to go.

(from his The Open Cloud Manifesto: Whats Up With That? post of 3/30/2009).

Cristofer Hoff (@Beaker) contends that Azure can’t be an open and interoperable cloud platform in his Incomplete Thought: Looking At An “Open & Interoperable Cloud” Through Azure-Colored Glasses post of 3/30/2009.

Obviously, definitions of “open” and “interoperable” vary widely, depending on whose ox you’re goring today. Azure Table Services and SDS with RESTful interfaces are certainly open to clients of all platform persuasions.

Steven Martin writes Moving beyond the “Manifesto” in his post of 3/29/2009:

As I indicated on Wednesday night, Microsoft welcomes the opportunity for open dialogue on cloud standards. To that end, we have accepted an invitation to meet on Monday at 4pm in New York at the Cloud Computing Expo with other vendors and members of standards bodies. From our perspective, this represents a fresh start on the conversation – a collaborative “do-over” if you will.

Update 3/31/2009: James Urquhart reports on the meeting in his IBM, Microsoft, others align on open clouds post of 3/31/2009:

IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, the IEEE/ISTO and key members of the CCIF met to address how they could work with the community to drive cloud computing markets and technologies forward. Jesse Silver spoke to me after the meeting, and Reuven Cohen released a single paragraph of minutes on his blog Tuesday morning.

Paul Miller’s Talking with Reuven Cohen about the Open Cloud Manifesto podcast contains an interview he conducted with @ruv on 3/26/2009.

Daryl Plummer’s The Open Cloud Manifesto: This has all happened before… post of 3/29/2009 compares the OCM slugfest with the WS-* standards battles:

This has all happened before: Remember WS-I? When web Services started, they were supposed to be simple ways to link different systems together using a small set of web compatible technologies. But, the vendors and enterprise IT got involved and decided it had to have standards and along came WS-I. It was supposed to make web Services Interoperable. How has that worked out for most of you? WS-* was born, and now we live in a world of such SOAP based Web Services complexity that the concept is suffering and being assaulted by more simple RESTful approaches. WS-I did not prevent the WS-* glut of standards - mostly aimed at making Web Services “Enterprise Ready”. And lack of Web Services interoperability is often cited as one of the worst problems with the concept. Let’s hope the same thing will not happen to cloud computing.

I said the same thing last week in my “Secret” Cloud Computing Manifesto Dustup post of 3/28/2009.

James Urquhart’s CCIF pulls out of the Open Cloud Manifesto post of 3/29/2009 reports:

In a post to the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (copied in full [in James’s Post]), the original organizers of that group--Reuven Cohen, Sam Charrington, Jesse Silver, and David Nielsen--have announced that the CCIF will no longer be a signatory of the controversial Open Cloud Manifesto to be presented Monday:

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

•• Larry Dignan analyzes the ramifications of Sun following the IBM deal collapse: Customer confusion en route for ZDNet on 4/6/2009:

[A]ny customer buying from Sun will have to consider the ramifications of a purchase. For instance, if you’re about to buy Sun hardware and HP is in the running why wouldn’t you opt for the latter just to eliminate some uncertainty. After all, HP could buy Sun. What about cloud services? Will you trust your cloud to a company that has a tug-of-war underway over a buyout?

•• Miko Matsumura posits Sun IBM Collapse Heralds the Return of McNealy. Jonathan Schwartz is Toast in this 4/5/2009 post, which includes a link to Steve Gillmor’s Open Source Ponytail Video. Miko concludes:

Mark my words, Schwartz is toast, IBM deal or no deal. If the IBM deal fails completely (most likely outcome), look for Scott McNealy to pull a Michael Dell (or a Jerry Yang, depending on how you look at it) and to appoint himself CEO again. The board of Sun wouldn’t allow such a thing if there were even one viable suitor left. But there isn’t.

•• James Hamilton’s Data Center Efficiency Summit (Posting #4) continues his efficiency analysis series with this 4/5/2009 post. Preceding posts from Google’s Data Center Efficiency Summit are:

  1. Data Center Efficiency Summit
  2. Rough Notes: Data Center Efficiency Summit
  3. Rough Notes: Data Center Efficiency Summit (posting #3)

••• James Urquhart analyzes Internal cloud's big test: Amazon vs. Cloudera on 4/4/2009:

The announcement on Thursday of Amazon's new Hadoop-based Elastic MapReduce service, combined with the introduction of a commercial Hadoop distribution from start-up Cloudera, means that we finally have a reasonable means of watching which directions enterprise IT prefers.

Chris Fleck’s Amazon EC2 Reserved Pricing Changes the Equation post of 4/5/2009, subtitled “Cloud Computing Economics Part Three,” analyzes on-premise or colocation versus Amazon EC2 conventional or reserved instance pricing for five quad-core servers.

Hamid Motahari-Nezhad, Bryan Stephenson and Sharad Singhal have written Outsourcing Business to Cloud Computing Services: Opportunities and Challenges, a 16-page Hewlett Packard Technical Report dated early February 2009. Here’s the abstract:

Advances in service oriented architecture (SOA) have brought us close to the once imaginary vision of establishing and running a virtual business, a business in which most or all of its business functions are outsourced to online services. Cloud computing offers a realization of SOA in which IT resources are offered as services that are more affordable, flexible and attractive to businesses. In this paper, we briefly study advances in cloud computing, and discuss the benefits of using cloud services for businesses and trade-offs that they have to consider. We then present 1) a layered architecture for the virtual business, and 2) a conceptual architecture for a virtual business operating environment. We discuss the opportunities and research challenges that are ahead of us in realizing the technical components of this conceptual architecture. We conclude by giving the outlook and impact of cloud services on both large and small businesses.

Charles Cooper’s Telcos said testing plan to offer PCs to businesses post for CNet of 4/3/2009 claims:

Telecommunications providers on four continents are testing a plan to provide so-called virtual desktop computing to their business customers.

People familiar with the outlines of the pilot program say the idea is to offer Internet access to companies via dumb terminals connected through the so-called cloud. The tests are said to involve companies in the United States, Europe, Australia, and China.

Anders Bylund claims Amazon Rides Google's Coattails in this Motley Fool post of 4/3/2009: (Nasdaq: AMZN) thinks that the MapReduce technology that was invented at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is good enough to build a moneymaking service on. How come Google didn't think of that first? …

The online retailer is rapidly becoming the go-to name in serious cloud computing, and this service is yet another bright feather in its cap. [Emphasis Bylund’s.]

Maureen O’Gara’s Cloud Computing Expo: Sony Trademarks the Term ‘PS Cloud’ post of 4/3/2009 contains details from Sony’s Trademark application and likens the company’s intention to provide cloud-based gaming to Steve Perlman’s OnLive cloud-gaming startup. O’Gara notes that Perlman “sold his WebTV Networks creation to Microsoft for $425 million back in 1997.”

Amazon Web Services announced a public beta of Amazon Electric Map Reduce on 4/2/2009. Here’s the start of Amazon’s brief description:

Amazon Elastic MapReduce is a web service that enables businesses, researchers, data analysts, and developers to easily and cost-effectively process vast amounts of data. It utilizes a hosted Hadoop framework running on the web-scale infrastructure of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Jeff Barr adds “how-to” details of Elastic MapReduce in his Announcing Amazon Elastic MapReduce post of 4/2/2009.

James Hamilton offers rough notes from the first two sessions at the Data Center Efficiency Summit at Google Mountain view in his Rough Notes: Data Center Efficiency Summit post of 4/1/2009. He’s presenting the Best Practices session at 1:00 PM, according to his earlier Efficient Data Center Summit post. Rough Notes: Data Center Efficiency Summit (posting #3) contains rough notes about a 10MW Google data center in a container.

Steven Shankland reports Google uncloaks once-secret server “with further details about Google's data center efficiency and shipping containers modules” on 4/1/2009 from the same Google Summit. Shankland writes:

Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.

David Douglas’s Dave Douglas Sets out Sun's Vision of a Multi-Cloud World keynote at Cloud Computing Expo receives a brief review. Here’s the deck:

In his keynote session at Cloud Computing Expo in New York City, Dave Douglas, Chief Sustainability Officer at Sun Microsystems, investigated how enterprise IT operations can take advantage of this emerging world of many clouds to achieve the cost and flexibility advantages that cloud computing allows while maintaining control of their IT infrastructure.

Jeremy Geelan conducts a Q&A session with Dave Douglas in his A World of Many Clouds at Cloud Computing Expo in New York post of 4/1/2009/

Alin Irimie’s Hewlett-Packard Jumps In The Cloud With HP Cloud Assure describes this new cloud governance offering by HP:

HP Cloud Assure is made up of a suite of the company’s software, including HP Application Security Center, HP Performance Center and HP Business Availability Center. HP will also provide enterprises with a team of engineers to perform security scans, test performance, and monitor availability.

Jeremy Geelan interview of IBM’s Dr. Kristof Kloeckner is captured in this transcript by Susan Wechtler’s  Kristof Kloeckner Delivers Cloud Computing Expo Keynote: Open Cloud Manifesto provides the first draft of really straightforward principles post of 3/31/2009 from the Cloud Computing Expo.

Jem Alexander’s Sony trademark hints at cloud computing post of 3/30/2009 reports:

Sony has trademarked something called "PS Cloud." The trademark was registered "for use with a cloud computing data center management software, communications software, broadcasting services, and a long list of other terms,"

Gregg Ness explores the implications of recent alliances between cloud-computing vendors in his Preparing for the Club Cloud Shift in IT: The IT as a Cruise Ship Model- Will it Float? post of 3/29/2009.