Sunday, April 26, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 4/20/2009+

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

• Updated 4/24-26/2009: Additions, especially the RSA Conference 2009 and IBM DB2, Informix and other AMIs for Amazon EC2.

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

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Brent Stineman delivers his promised Azure Storage – Hands on with Queues, Part 2 post of 4/26/2009 with the details of how to get a list of queues, put a message into a queue, and read/peek at messages with RESTful HTTP Request and Response messages. (Brent doesn’t use the StorageClient class library.)

Part 1 is at Azure Storage – Hands on with Queues, Part 1.

My Thumbnails.sln Original and Enhanced Versions – Flow Diagrams post of 4/24/2009 provides flow diagrams of the original Thumbnails.sln project from the Windows Azure SDK (March 2009 CTP) with and without fixes for high bandwidth requirements by Steve Marx.

My Scalability and Cost Issues with Windows Azure Web and Worker Role Projects – Live Demo post of 4/20/2009 (updated 4/21/2009) analyzes performance problems and excessive cloud-services costs as the result of excessively heavy-duty AJAX page postbacks in the Thumbnails.sln sample project from the Windows Azure SDK (March 2009 CTP).

Microsoft’s Steve Marx, the author of the Thumbnails sample, added a comment to the post that showed how to fix the problem (albeit by sacrificing immediate visibility of added images for all users).

SQL Data Services (SDS)

No posts of significance as of 4/21/2009 at 1:43 PM.

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

• My Creating CardSpace Credentials at Microsoft’s Identity Labs Web Site of 4/25/2009 is an illustrated walk-through for creating CardSpace credentials for the Windows Cardspace “Geneva” contol panel tool that appears after you install the Geneva SDK.

• Ryan Dunn says “Azure Issue Tracker is temp[orarily] broken with March changes to .NET Services ACS API. Will be fixed soon-ish (crosses fingers)...” in a 4/25/2009 tweet. I should have re-read his Windows Azure and Geneva post of 4/2/2009, which says:

I don't like to basically re-blog what others have written, but I will make a minor exception today, as it is important enough to repeat.  My friend and colleague, Vittorio [Bertocci] has explained the current status of the Geneva framework running on Windows Azure today.

The short and sweet is that we know it is not working 100% today and we are working on a solution.  This is actually the main reason that you do not see a Windows Azure version of Azure Issue Tracker today.

• Matias Woloski’s Multi tenant federation with Geneva Framework and Microsoft .NET Services Access Control post of 4/23/2009 provides detailed diagrams and sample code to enable the following requirement:

"I want to enable single sign on and allow enterprises that have their own STS to integrate with us. For companies that don’t have any identity infrastructure in place we want to allow them to login with an ubiqu[it]ous credential like Windows LiveID. How do we do that without spending three months with a security guru?"

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

• David Pallmann continues his Azure grid-computing series with Grid Computing on the Azure Cloud Computing Platform, Part 3: Running a Grid Application of 4/25/2009, which uses the Azure Grid, the community edition of the Neudesic Grid Computing Framework. The two earlier posts are:

Jim Nakashima’s The Easy Way to Install the Windows Azure Tools and SDK Pre-Requisites shows you how to use the Microsoft Platform installer to set up the prerequisites for Windows Azure SDK CTPs.

Azure Infrastructure

• James Hamilton’s Randy Katz on High Scale Data Centers describes highlights of Randy Katz’s Tech Titans Building Boom, which focuses on data center infrastructure and the Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo data center building boom. James notes:

Microsoft Chicago will have 200 containers in its lower floor (it’s a two floor facility) and it’s expected to be well over 45MW and will be 75MW if built out to the full 200 containers planned (First Containerized Data Center Announcement). The Chicago, Dublin, and Des Moines facilities have all been delayed by Microsoft presumably due to economic conditions: Microsoft Delays Chicago, Dublin, and Des Moines Data Centers.

Brandon Watson compares Amazon, Google, Microsoft - Big Three Cloud Providers Examined of 11/13/2008 reproduced in this 4/21/2009 post for Cloud Computing Magazine.

Input Industry Insight’s Evolution of the Cloud: The Future of Cloud Computing in Government research report of 4/21/2009 “projects the federal cloud market to expand to $800 million by 2013 while the state and local market for cloud applications could swell to $635 million by 2013.”

Datacenter Team posts Microsoft’s Top 10 Business Practices for Environmentally Sustainable Data Centers (celebrating Earth Day) on 4/21/2009.

Erik Sherman’s Cloud Computing Facing Stormy Weather post of 4/21/2009 casts a jaundiced eye on the subject:

The level of hype on cloud computing is heavy, though not surprising if you have any memory for industry trends. MRP, the paperless office, TQM, client-server computing, object-oriented programming, supply chain management, ERP, the Internet — all have been technical advances during whose introductions vendors queued to prove themselves on the leading edge. All eventually became important tools for corporate computing, but none offered the polished silver bullet they promised. Right now, cloud computing is thoroughly in the introductory stage.

“The first guy in gets to establish the space,” says Lynda Stadtmueller, a senior research analyst at Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan. “That’s been the assumption.”

and then concludes with this quote:

“[Cloud computing] is part of our language today,” Stadtmueller says. “You’d better stick the word in somewhere or you’re going to be at a competitive disadvantage.”

Nicole Schepker reports in her Azure Cloud OS Journal Launched on Ulitzer post of 4/21/2009 that Brandon Watson, Microsoft’s Director of the Azure Services Platform Ecosystem, will be Editor and a Topic Contributor to the new Azure Cloud OS Journal.

Brandon Watson adds his US$0.02 in his McKinsey, The Cloud, and Fuzzy Calculations post of 4/21/2009 to the Azure Cloud OS Journal. Brandon writes:

They call Windows Azure a cloud example, and not Azure Services Platform. This confusion is consistent with customers and press/blogger sentiment that I am seeing.  Windows Azure is a piece of the overall Microsoft cloud play. It’s an application hosting environment, which serves as the foundation, though not required, layer for other code execution paths in the Azure Services Platform.  One can build applications that live completely on-premises without using Windows Azure, but utilize other pieces of the Azure Services Platform.

Mike Cameron and Rod Fontecilla offer their views on the March 2009 McKinsey & Co. report entitled "Clearing the air on cloud computing" in their Cloud Computing Debate: Booz Allen Hamilton Comments on Recent McKinsey & Co. Report post of 4/21/2009 by Kevin Jackson. Cameron and Fontecilla are Booz Allen Hamilton Principals.

James Hamilton analyzes the McKinsey report in his McKinsey Speculates that Cloud Computing May Be More Expensive than Internal IT post of 4/20/2008. His conclusion:

[A]ny company not fully understanding cloud computing economics and not having cloud computing as a tool to deploy where it makes sense is giving up a very valuable competitive edge. No matter how large the IT group, if I led the team, I would be experimenting with cloud computing and deploying where it make sense. I would want my team to know it well and to be deploying to the cloud when the work done is not differentiated or when the capital was better leveraged elsewhere

IT is complex and a single glib answer is almost always wrong. My recommendation is to start testing and learning about cloud services, to take a closer look at your current IT costs, and to compare the advantages of using a cloud service offering with both internal hosting and mixed hosting models.

Roger Strukhoff says Cloud is Bigger Than the Internet on 4/20/2009 in this part I of a two-part pseudo-analysis. Part II is here, for whatever it’s worth.

Cloud Computing Events

• IEEE Computer Socity announced on 4/25/2009 the IEEE 2009 International Conference on Cloud Computing (CLOUD-II 2009) to be held September 21-25, 2009 in Bangalore, India. The conference’s theme is “Changes we can lead” (whatever that means) and here’s the promo paragraph:

CLOUD 2009 is the identified hot-topic conference by the 2009 World Congress on Services (SERVICES 2009). The two well-established theme conferences identified by SERVICES 2009 are the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Web Services (ICWS 2009) in July 2009 in USA and the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Services Computing (SCC 2009) in September 2009 in India. 

Brian Prince reports 4/24/2009 for eWeek from the RSA Conference: Security Vendors Keep Head in the Cloud at RSA Conference:

Every RSA Conference has a popular buzzword or phrase. This year it was "the cloud."

In one way or another, vendors were pushing their answer to handling security in the cloud. Cisco unveiled a number of tools and services in the cloud April 21, even though a day later Cisco CEO John Chambers described the idea of securing a virtual cloud network as “a security nightmare.”

The Cloud Security Alliance published an 83-page Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing at the RSA Conference. From the Overview:

Covers key issues and provides advice for both Cloud Computing customers and providers within 15 strategic domains.

More information on the Alliance is here.

Gregory T. Huang’s User Interfaces, Cloud Computing, and Ray Ozzie—A Guide to the Season’s Tech Events post of 4/21/2009 reports:

On April 30, Microsoft is hosting an event organized by the WTIA where it will answer those questions, and more. Doug Hauger, Microsoft’s general manager of cloud infrastructure services, will give an overview of Azure and Microsoft’s view of cloud computing software and services.

A bonus speaker will be Ian Knox, director of product management at Skytap, a Seattle-based cloud computing and virtual lab startup. Knox will talk about using cloud computing for Windows applications and lowering IT lab costs, among other things. All in all, it’s essential stuff for anyone interested in shaping the future of the cloud.

The Workshop on Software Engineering Challenges of Cloud Computing @ ICSE 2009 issued on 4/21/2009 a “Call for participation: Workshop on Software Engineering Challenges of Cloud Computing” in conjunction with the 31st International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) to be held May 23rd, 2009 in Vancouver, Canada.

Graeme Thickins reports on the Minnesota High-Tech Association's annual spring conference and CloudCampMSP in his It Was Cloud Week in Minneapolis, and All the Cool Kids (and Old Guys!) Were There post of 4/21/2009.

António Costa quotes David Carrera, director of the Cloud Computing (CC) research team at Spain’s Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) in his Cloud computing: changing the way we work post of 4/21/2009.

Nicole Schepker’s Burton Group Announces In-Depth Cloud Coverage post of 4/20/2009 announces a “new research coverage area focused on understanding, defining, integration, and the optimization of cloud computing.” The group says:

Burton Group provides practical advice for the underlying architectures, technologies, and platforms necessary, including:

  • Building cloud-friendly applications
  • Public, private, and internal clouds
  • Server virtualization, migration, and fail-over strategies
  • Segmenting data to leverage outsourced storage
  • Understanding software-as-a-service (SaaS) , platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
  • Improving business continuity by exploiting cloud-based architectures

and will offer a Cloud Computing track at its forthcoming Catalyst conference 7/27 – 7/31/2009 in San Diego, CA.

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

ABS*CBN News (Manila) reports IBM plans cloud computing services for 2009 from Reuters on 4/26/2009:

IBM got its feet wet in the field last year when it launched an Internet-based data backup and recovery service.

In addition to the new service for developers, IBM also plans to introduce clouds that let businesses run applications and to virtualize personal computers, Sims said.

Like IBM, Microsoft is viewed as having been slow to enter the field. It plans to launch its cloud services platform, dubbed Azure, late this year or early in 2010

Amazon Web Services announces in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) running IBM of 4/24/2009, a set of IBM services similar to that for Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server [Express]. The following IBM AMIs 

“are ready to run in Amazon EC2 with Novell SuSE Linux and the associated IBM products” at rates ranging from US$0.38/hour for a Standard Small (default) instance type for DB2 Express edition to US$24.35/hour for High CPU Extra Large instances Running IBM WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Web Content Management Server Standard Edition.

Paul Miller says he was Talking to Simon Wardley about Ubuntu and the Cloud on 4/21/2009. Paul writes:

Earlier today I spoke with Simon Wardley of Canonical (the commercial organisation that sells support and consultancy for Ubuntu) to hear a little more about what those downloading Ubuntu will get… and what it might mean for the rapidly shifting Cloud landscape.

Maureen O’Gara’s VMware’s Newfangled Cloud OS Positioned for Takeoff post of 4/21/2009 provides a brief synopsis of VMware’s vSphere 4 offering.

Alin Irimie analyzes VMware’s press release in his VMware vSphere 4 - First Operating System For Building The Internal Cloud post of 4/21/2009.

Kris Tuttle’s Winners and Losers from Oracle / Sun post of 4/21/2009 to the Seeking Alpha blog analyzes the forthcoming Sun Microsystems purchase by Oracle (instead of IBM). Kris lede’s off:

Primarily this is a defensive (meaning not very creative) move by Oracle (ORCL). IBM would have been a measurably stronger competitor for Oracle with Java and MySQL added to their formidable software stack. So the real value for Oracle is more in IBM not having Sun rather than direct benefits for Oracle. All their statements to the contrary are only corporate posturing. That fact is not going to be good news for Sun employees, who can expect Oracle to make the Sun acquisition highly profitable by dramatically eliminating costs, shutting down initiatives and exiting businesses.

and concludes that Oracle / Sun is better for Microsoft than IBM / Sun.

Darryl Plummer asks Night of the Living Dead: Will Oracle buying Sun Raise the Specter of “Network Computing” Again? and on 4/20/2009. He writes:

Today, Oracle announced plans to acquire Sun Microsystems. Gartner is in the process of generating an official position on what this means. You’re going to want to see what we have to say since there will be multiple pieces dissecting this acquisition announcement.

Roger Strukhoff writes Oracle-Sun Nice Cloud Computing Fit, But Maybe Not on 4/20/2009.

Paulo Calçada analyzes from the cloud-computing standpoint Oracle’s pending purchase of Sun Microssystems in his ORACLE + SUN: The Cloud is growing, or losing one important player? of 4/20/2009.