Windows Azure, Azure Data Services, SQL Data Services and related cloud computing topics now appear in this weekly series.
•• Updated 5/1/2009 to 5/4/2009: Additions dated up to 5/3/2009
• Updated 4/29/2009 and 4/30/2009: Additions
Note: This post is updated daily or more frequently, depending on the availability of new articles in the following sections:
- Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services
- SQL Data Services (SDS)
- .NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow
- Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses
- Azure Infrastructure
- Cloud Computing Events
- Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services
•• Steven Nagy provides an Windows Azure Storage – Introduction in this 5/3/2009 post for folks new to the Azure Services Platform.
•• Brent Stineman’s Azure Storage - Hands on with Queues, Part 3 completed on 5/2/2009 finishes his series with “this final part I’m going to wrap things up and by showing two final variations and we’ll create a web role queue sample project.” What makes Brent’s series unique is that he doesn’t take the easy way with StorageClient helper classes, but writes the REST HTTP Request messages from scratch and processes the Response messages.
•• My Problem with the Azure Services Training Kit’s IntroAccessControl Hands-on Lab post of 5/2/2009 illustrates an issue with the instructions in the Azure Service Training Kit April Update. Instead of grouping two input claims in a single rule for the Send Action, Exercise 1, Step 6 adds a separate Rule with a Group = Domain Users claim. This means that a user who isn’t the owner of the Access Control Service solution could invoke the Echo() Web method.
Setting up Identity Providers (IPs) and configuring CardSpace Information Cards for federated IPs is difficult enough for ordinary users without adding issues like this.
• Mike Amundsen questions is Atom format too widespread? in this 4/29/2009 analysis of Joe Gregorio’s recent The Atom Publishing Protocol is a failure post and Subbu Allamaraju’s Atom as a General Purpose Format post of 4/29/2009 as they apply to the Azure Table Storage (ATS) Atom format.
My experience is that SOAP messages are about twice as fast as the AtomPub format with content similar to ATS. (My tests were with the original SSDS version.)
Ryan Dunn laments Overlooking the Obvious in his 4/27/2009 post about Queue Services. Ryan was attempting to peek at messages in the cloud with an unreleased tool and couldn’t find any. He’d been developing against queues in cloud storage and had a cloud-based service running. The cloud-based service was consuming his messages faster than the service in his Development Fabric. The moral of this story, according to Ryan, is to use separate queues for mixed mode and cloud mode development.
I agree, despite the fact that I usually work against the same data services from the cloud and Developer Fabric. I just try to avoid updating the data simultaneously. Queues don’t give you that choice.
•• Liam Cavanaugh’s Project "Huron" - Early Adopter Program post of 4/29/2009 says he’s seeking testers for his incubator project that he describes as:
"Friction free" (this is a one fo those Microsoft terms that basically means simple to setup :-)) synchronization capabilities to the Cloud (SQL Data Service) via a hosted Sync Service sitting within the Azure data centers.
The bad news is the Huron team has “held off on direct support of Microsoft Access for v1.”
The good news is that in the short term we are still planning to offer direct support SQL Server and SQL Compact (desktop and devices). In fact we are very close to the point that we can start taking on some early adopter to verify some of our assumptions and help us solidify the first release. What we are looking for are any customers that are looking to share SQL Server or SQL Compact databases via the cloud and have an existing project that would warrant this functionality.
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything about the Huron incubator project. (The Huron page needs an update to remove Microsoft Office Access references.)
Note: Rafik Robeal, who was Microsoft’s Sync Guru in the early days of Sync Services, and former Microsofter Philip Vaughn have a new travel-related startup, Raveable, which offers these needed features for choosing a hotel:
- Collecting all guest reviews from top tier travel sites in one place
- Provide a summary of these reviews (think of Cliff Notes for hotel reviews)
- Give you a direct access to the hotel web site so you can book directly with the hotel (no middle man)
- Super fast site navigation and very short response time makes travel planning process easier, faster and more enjoyable.
Raveable became available in a beta version on 4/29/2009. Here’s wishing Rafik and Philip best of luck with their new venture. Follow them on Twitter @raveable.
•• Sean Kelly’s New Webcast Video - Drill Down Into the Next Release of the Microsoft Sync Framework post of 5/1/2009 says (inter alia):
This session is a deep dive into the next release of the Microsoft Sync Framework with a focus on our database scenarios. Specifically, this session will discuss some of the work we have done in order to allow developers to synchronize SQL Compact in a peer to peer fashion. In addition, we will discuss the improvements we have made around batching to make it easier to use, expose more control over memory usage and provide resumability over transient networks that go up and down when performing sync operations.
The post provides insight into the sync features that will be exposed by Huron.
•• Robert X. Cringely reports the impending replacement of relational database management systems (and specifically Oracle’s) by HBase from Hadoop (an open source BigTable derivative from Apache.org) in his The Sequel Dilemma post of 5/1/2009. Cringely claims:
Amazon.com runs on an Oracle database, but one that was extended and optimized at a cost of more than $150 million. Amazon probably represents the most that one can do with SQL in terms of scalability. Anything bigger requires a completely new approach like BigTable. …
Where does this leave Oracle?
It leaves Oracle bleeding its big stupid corporate customers for another decade but eventually losing both the bottom half of the market and the very top where applications scale to tens of thousands of servers. …
And THAT’s why Oracle NEEDS Sun — to extend its current run by another three years, buying Larry time to write an Act II for his company.
Is SQL Data Services’ impending move from the Entity-Attribute-Value EAV data model to SQL Server 2008 in the clouds doomed? Don’t think so. Microsoft’s initial goal for Azure and SDS is to enable quickly and easily moving on-premises, data-intensive applications to the cloud. Taking advantage of Visual Studio developer’s .NET and T-SQL programming skills is far more important to the initial success of the Azure Services Platform than Hadoop, HBase and MapReduce capabilities combined.
•• Mike Schiff’s Analysis: Oracle-Sun Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats article of 5/1/2009 for Redmond Developer News describes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats arising from Oracle’s impending purchase of Sun Microsystems.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of SQL Server’s brightest, Nigel Ellis, to discuss the future direction of SQL Data Services. Nigel goes deep on the changes of SDS. If you want to learn what’s really going on behind the scenes this is a great place to start.
•• Burley Kawasaki’s .Net Services: Microsoft’s Key to Cloud Security and Java Interoperability post of 4/30/2009 reminds us that:
Last week, Network World featured a “10 Questions” article with Burley Kawasaki, Director of Developer Platform Product Management. The article, by Julie Bort, focuses on .NET Services and covers themes of interoperability, extension of the .NET Framework, and the tie to the Azure Services Platform. Julie makes note of the March CTP release and points out the importance of .NET and Java interoperability in a time of heated debate around cloud computing. Other highlights of the Q&A include a mention of Microsoft partner S3Edge extending an existing .NET app to .NET Services, as well as John Shewchuk’s demo at MIX.
Justin Smith’s Mix 09 Deck post of 4/28/2009 contains links to the PowerPoint slide deck and source code for his MIX 09 presentation, “Simplifying Distributed Access Control with .NET Services,” which isn’t available at the MIX 09 Web site. The code sample is for
A new experimental client API (TokenClient) for interacting with the Access Control Service (ACS). The purpose of this API is to simplify the developer interaction with the ACS Security Token Service. It still uses WS-Trust on the wire, but restricts the WS-Trust options to what I believe to be the bare minimum.
You can read more about TokenClient in Justin’s TokenClient (Mix) introduction post of 3/24/2009.
Mike Ormond interviews thinktecture consultant and DevelopMentor instructor Dominick Baier on Identity, Geneva and OpenID in this video from DevWeek.
The Azure Team has updated its "How Do I?" Videos for the Azure Services Platform with four "How Do I?" Videos for .NET Services:
- How Do I: Get Started with .NET Services? (00:11:01)
- How Do I: Harness the Microsoft .NET Service Bus? (00:13:28)
- How Do I: Use the Microsoft .NET Workflow Service? (0013:28)
- How Do I: Multicast with the .NET Service Bus (11:09)
• Gaurav Mantri announces Cloud Storage Studio (CSS) for Windows Azure : Now supports container & blob management features in a new Windows Azure form thread of 4/28/2009. The new version has:
Container Management Features:
- Update Container ACL (Public/Private access)
- Update Container Metadata
- Delete Container
Blobs Management Features:
- Upload Blobs
- Download Blobs
- Update Blob Metadata
- Delete Blobs
David Pallman’s Neudesic Grid Computing Framework released post of 4/27/2009 announces “the release of Azure Grid, the community edition of the Neudesic Grid Computing Framework. Azure Grid is available on CodePlex and includes source code.” David describes Azure Grid:
Azure Grid provides a solution template and base classes for easily creating grid computing applications that execute on the Azure platform. It also includes a GUI for starting and monitoring job runs.
and includes links to his three part series on its design and use:
•• Steven Nagy describes his experience is using Windows Azure Geo Locations from Australia in this 5/3/2009 post. He reports having problems starting a project after initially specifying USA – Southwest as the affinity group for his hosted service and storage location.
He also noticed that the class B IP address of USA – Northwest (22.214.171.124) and USA – Southwest (126.96.36.199) is the same: 70.37.
•• Joshy Joseph’s “Patterns For High Availability, Scalability, And Computing Power With Windows Azure” article appeared without fanfare in MSDN Magazine’s May 2009 issue. Here’s its table of contents:
The “real-world sample” is another “photo album in the cloud.”
•• Kevin Jackson asks “What's the difference between the commercial cloud computing market and the Federal cloud computing market?” in his Commercial vs Federal Cloud Computing post of 5/2/2009. The post is based on Frank Gens’ overview of the the new "Cloud Computing Era" post for IDC.
•• David Linthicum opines Will Cloud Computing Prompt a Mass Migration to the Clouds? Nope. in this 5/2/2009 post to Cloud Computing Journal. The reasons: “Compliance, privacy, fear, control, and cost.” Dave continues:
However, you will see many startup companies build a significant portion of their IT architecture on cloud computing platforms, since it's so easy to justify the use of cloud computing assets when considering the cost benefit for a startup enterprise. Indeed, there are some startups that will have their entire IT infrastructure on the platform of the clouds, from e-mail, to calendaring, to databases, to enterprise applications. There will be huge cost savings by taking this route, and a large competitive advantage considering the operations' costs they will incur versus their competition.
•• James Urquhart’s Exploring cloud interoperability, part 1 post of 5/2/2009 divides cloud interoperability “concepts into three interoperability targets: Application/Service …, Management … and Image/Data.” James concludes:
Of course, the politics of interoperability will be playing out for some time yet. All of this activity is by no means a guarantee that we will see any interoperability in the near future. However, I hold out hope that at least the Application/Service and Management interfaces can be defined and adopted in a few short years. I also believe that Image/Data portability can be achieved in the near term in many cases.
Image/Data mobility, however is another story. I'll leave that for part 2.
•• Charles Babcock posits the answer to How Many Virtual Machines Is Too Many? Yesterday's Gains Will Be Trumped by offloading virtual machine network packet processing to dedicated hardware in his 5/1/2009 post to InformationWeek’s Virtualization Blog. Chuck cites Cisco’s vSwitch and Neterion’s converged network adapters, as well as Emulex and QLogic devices as examples. He concludes:
While most IT organizations are happy to get a 10 to 1 ratio of virtual machines to host, InformationWeek will next feature how Accenture's outsourcing unit has been able to run 30 virtual machines per host. And it's about to move from 30 to 60 per physical server and I doubt it's found its upper limit yet. [Emphasis added.]
When it comes to tapping the power of virtualization, most IT organizations are still scratching the surface, with many gains still to come.
•• Zack Whittaker’s Windows Azure: a very difficult concept explained post of 5/1/2009 for ZDNet’s student-oriented iGeneration blog is a concise exposition “of everything you need to know about Azure - what it is, why it’s there, what can be done on it and why students should utilise it.” The post includes a podcast with “All About Microsoft” columnist Mary Jo Foley who points out that Microsoft “named Azure confusingly.” Mary Jo sheds considerably more light on Azure than Zack’s relatively brief column.
Zack’s post could have been improved by a better explanation of the Azure Fabric (both development and production), Azure Storage Services, and the members of .NET Services (rather than with a link to the .NET Framework.) He also missed the point that Visual Studio developers can easily leverage their .NET programming experience by moving on-premises Windows projects to the cloud.
•• Druv Research asks “Could cloud computing be a security asset?” in slide 12 of its Cloud Computing – Security Concerns Come to the Fore presentation of 4/30/2009. Druv Business Research is a business research startup in Bangalore, India that doesn’t appear to have a Web site yet.
•• Sharon Chan’s Microsoft's Ray Ozzie talks about cloud computing and heralds this a golden age article of 5/1/2009 for The Seattle Times describes a “question and answer session at the Technology Alliance lunch today at the Westin in downtown Seattle.” She quotes Ozzie on cloud computing:
"Right now the way I've been framing things is in essence we are moving to a world of three screens and a cloud. That's the most succinct way that I can describe it. For the user experience we will all commonly consume solutions immediate to us, whether it's in media, entertainment consumer or business, that will be delivered to us in something the size of a phone, something the size of a PC, and something the size of a TV. There will be solutions that weave those things together, brought together by cloud on the backend."
Other topics included “how Microsoft Office will change to adapt to cloud computing” and “the impact of netbooks.”
•• Mike Fratto says Just Say No to Virtual Security FUD in this 4/30/2009 article for InformationWeek Analytics:
Recently two different observations about virtualization have come up that need correcting. The first is that the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), which is a DMTF format for standardizing a VM file format, is the cause of VM sprawl and spreading malware. Kris Buytaert made this assertion about OVF. The second observation is that there is this thing called a VMtrojan that is a trojan somehow made more dangerous by virtue of being on a VM.
And goes on to classify OVF as a file format and debunk virtual Trojans.
•• Ben Worthen’s Cloud Standards Effort Could Turn into a Dustup article for WSJ Blogs begins with:
A trade organization [DMTF] whose members include IBM, Microsoft and a laundry list of other tech companies announced this week that it has formed a group to create standards for a way of accessing information over the Internet known as “cloud computing.” But the new effort is just as noteworthy for who isn’t included: Google, Amazon.com, Salesforce.com and other Internet companies.
Winston Bumpus, president of the DMTF and director of standards architecture at VMware, says that he expects his organization’s members to agree on a set of standards within a year, with or without the participation of the Internet companies.
•• Kevin Jackson sees cloud-computing education “morphing into an … implementation stage” in his Cloud Computing as a Strategic Asset post of 4/30/2009. Kevin writes:
The number of "What is cloud computing?" questions are much fewer while the business case questions are now commanding the most attention. As if to highlight this transition, a Pentagon meeting I had earlier this week really crystallized the following points for me:
- Although SOA is not a pre-requisite for obtaining value from cloud computing techniques, it does maximize the operational and economic value of using cloud computing technologies.
- Detailed knowledge of an organizations business processes enhances the operational effectiveness and value of SOA, and by extension, a cloud computing deployment.
- Cloud computing can open up new avenues for federal acquisition competition. One possible model could see the government operating a government-owned SOA layered on top of a commercial, competitively selected infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) platform.
- Information is a strategic asset and a cloud computing infrastructure can enhance the employment of that asset.
You can read his original blog entry here.
• Jim Nakashima announces Windows Azure Geo-Location is Live in this 4/30/2009 post. You can declare an Affinity Group in which to store your new Azure Hosted Service or Storage Account (USA – Northwest or USA – Southwest) or specify USA – Anywhere to avoid an Affinity Group. Jim’s post includes screen shots. From the original Mix 09 announcement:
Accounts inside an affinity group will be dealt with as one unit and placed together for connectivity. For example, if you create an affinity group placed in North Western United States and place multiple storage accounts and hosted services in there, we’ll allocate these together in that geographical region, so that all of the accounts will be close together from a network perspective.
• Paul Reubens asks What's Microsoft Up To In Storage? in this 4/30/2009 post and answers “When it comes to data storage products, there's been nothing but deafening silence.” So what’s going on"?
"Microsoft is going through a bit of a change at the moment, and there are probably quite a few internal battles being waged in the company about storage," said Roy Illsley, senior research analyst at Butler Group. "Right now they do not seem to be focusing on it, and I don't think that they think it is central to what they are doing."
Paul mentions Widows Live SkyDrive (which I use to store graphics for this blog and like very much) and observes:
One clue to Microsoft's thinking is a structural change that was reported earlier this month: The company has combined its data storage and Web services business units into a single group called the Business Platform Division.
• Vittorio Bertocci (a.k.a. Vibro) reports that Channel9’s Id Element show has “reached a whopping 56K combined views” and “This week our fearless Donovan went to visit Vijay, another historical figure in the Federated Identity team, and had a nice chat about Geneva Server. As the caption recites:”
In this episode Vijay Gajjala, Sr. Program Manager on the Federated Identity team, discusses some of the core challenges around building the Geneva Server and describes the key investments the team made in the Beta 1 release. These investments include implementation of the WS-Federation, WS-Trust and SAML 2.0 protocols (Geneva Server can serve as IdP for a SAML 2.0 SP), harmonized metadata for easy application registration and federation setup, information card issuance and support for identity delegation. He also shares the goals for the IT Pro experience when using Geneva Server and for developers when they need to wire up applications to the server.
• David Linthicum posts a semi-transcript of his earlier podcast on the topic in his Clearing the Air on McKinsey's Cloud Report post for InformationWeek. His lede:
The world of cloud computing was shocked last week with the release of the McKinsey report on cloud computing, entitled "Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing." You can think of the report as a quick assessment of the value of cloud computing; however, as with any of the thought-leadership pieces pushed out around cloud computing, it was quickly picked apart by the pundits.
Not the least of whom is Dave.
• George Hulme’s Cloud Security Needs Its Rainmaker post of 4/29/2009 analyzes the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA)’s Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing paper and concludes:
If you think it's tough managing identities, devices, malware, exploit attacks, mitigating software vulnerabilities, and conducting meaningful audits today -- you haven't seen anything yet compared to what's coming with the hyper-connected nature of data, people, infrastructure, devices, and applications in "The Cloud."
Explaining and selling this important fact to business leaders, IT vendors, service providers, and convincing corporations that they're better off to pay a little now for much better security -- than to pay much more later on for much less security -- is perhaps the CSA's most important and ambitious task.
• David Pallman continues his Azure Best Practices series with:
- Azure Best Practice #4: REST is In, SOAP is Out (4/29/2009)
- Azure Best Practice #3: What's Good for SOA is Good for the Cloud (4/29/2009)
- Azure Best Practice #2: Keep Code and Data Close Together (4/29/2009)
Dave published Azure Best Practice #1: Always Run at Least 2 Instances of Any Role on 4/28/2009.
• Ari Rabkin contends that “The primary security mechanism in today's clouds is virtualization” in his cloud security post of 4/29/2009. He adds, “One last security concern is protecting the cloud user against the provider.”
• Steve Martin’s Two flavors of cloud computing – Public and Private post of 4/29/2009 observes:
In addition to the interest in cloud computing, there is even more interest in the application of cloud computing principles in the enterprise data center. As I have mentioned previously, at some point in the future, the Azure Services Platform and an enterprise data center will be, technically speaking, largely indistinguishable. Both will:
- Be highly virtualized and elastic
- Be managed in a consistent manner within and across the firewall
- Hide the complexities of hardware infrastructure from the applications they serve
One of our primary objectives is to deliver the technology that empowers Enterprises to build private clouds within their existing datacenters. [Emphasis Steve’s.]
• Alin Irimie asks When Are We Going To Have an SLA for Microsoft Azure? in this 4/28/2009 post. Microsoft’s Matt Rogers responds “In just a couple months, we have said it will be ‘this Summer’ and we are standing by that” in a SLA for Microsoft Azure, When? -Microsoft's Response article of 4/29/2009 for the Azure Cloud OS Journal by Yeshim Dentz.
• Catherine Spence, Jeff Sedayao and John Dunlop claim in their “Better Together: Rich Client PCs and Cloud Computing” brief of March 2009 for Intel:
We have found that whether services are kept in-house or outsourced to the cloud, the ability to perform local computing on the client offers the best user experience and the flexibility to run different types of applications. Only rich clients support the full range of service delivery methods, as shown in Figure 1. In addition, rich clients deliver full mobile computing capabilities for our users, including the ability to work offline.
James Hamilton questions Costs of Higher Temperature Data Centers? raised by a commenter to his earlier 32C (90F) in the Data Center post. The commenter, who’s in the HVAC business, contended that the higher temperature doubled the rate of server failure and thus raised eWaste to an unacceptable level. James counters that 85% to 95% of all data center servers are replaced due to obsolescence, not failure. James concludes:
On the basis of the small increase in server mortality weighed against the capital and operating expense savings, running hotter looks like a clear win to me. I suspect we’ll see at least a 10F average rise over the next 5 years and I’ll be looking for ways to make that number bigger. I’m arguing it’s a substantial expense reduction and great for the environment.
Scott Bradner casts a jaundiced eye on the Cloud Security Alliance’s “Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing” white paper in his Cloud Computing Security: Who Knew? 4/28/2009 article for Network World. Scott also quotes Cisco CEO John Chambers saying that cloud computing is "a security nightmare."
Cristofer Hoff (a.k.a. @Beaker) claims that “SaaS is not the definition of Cloud Computing. It’s one element of Cloud Computing.” in his detailed Re-branding Managed Services and SaaS For Security In the Cloud…1995 Never Looked So Shiny post of 4/28/2009.
Sriram Krishnan from the Azure Services team announces in his What I've been working on - a book on Windows Azure post of 4/22/2009 that he’s signed with O’Reilly Media to compete with my Cloud Computing with the Microsoft Azure Service Platform title for WROX. My book is scheduled for publication before PDC 2009; Sriram’s is targeted to be available in January 2010.
Think Strategies claims to be Bringing Clarity to the Cloud Computing Market on 4/28/2009 by
[L]aunching a new series of vendor-sponsored reports focused on the hottest areas in today's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Managed Services, and other Cloud Computing market segments.
Craig Balding describes the European Network and Information Security Agency’s ENISA Cloud Risk Assessment: What Are Your Concerns about Cloud Computing? survey and provides a link to it. Craig says that “results will be shared.”
David Pallman’s Announcing AzureDesignPatterns.com post of 4/27/2009 says:
Posted on the site currently is my initial enumeration of 14 foundation patterns for hosting, data, communication/sync, and security--with more to come. Over time I'll be providing a detail page on each pattern.
Coming soon: composite application patterns.
The site is hosted at http://azuredesignpatterns.cloudapp.net/.
Steve Martin lays out Microsoft’s approach to cloud standardization in his Walking the Walk – the Cloud and Standards post of 4/27/2009 regarding the the DTMF’s “Open Standards Cloud Incubator” group, of which Microsoft is a member (along with AMD, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Novell, RedHat, Savvis, Sun Microsystems, and VMware.)
What you will notice is there are no smaller startups or "cloud specific" companies such as Google or Amazon included. At first glance this looks like a list of the old boys of tech. I can't help but wonder if this will help or hinder the adoption. An open development process is critical to the success of any standards that may get created by this group. The last thing we want is to be forced to adopt a set of technical standards because our partners are telling us we need to. I'd rather see broad adoption from the smaller and bigger players alike as the driving factor when looking to implement a new set of technology standards.
- Enable Full Trust. Unlike traditional ASP.Net sites, full trust is not enabled in the web.config and it is not the default setting. As pointed on on the WindowsAzure blog, all you have to do is set the enableNativeCodeExecution attribute to true in your service definition file (for the web role).
- Mark your view as content. This unfortunately needs to happen for every view you add to your project. I am hoping there is a way to automate this or do pre-build. However, until I figure that out, it needs to be done manually otherwise the view will never be found. (hat tip)
Reuven Cohen describes why LISP (Locator/Identification Separator Protocol) is important for cloud interoperability in his Cloud Networking: IETF Forms LISP Working Group post of 4/24/2009.
The Azure Team has updated its "How Do I?" Videos for the Azure Services Platform with four "How Do I?" Videos for .NET Services:
- How Do I: Get Started with .NET Services? (00:11:01)
- How Do I: Harness the Microsoft .NET Service Bus? (00:13:28)
- How Do I: Use the Microsoft .NET Workflow Service? (0013:28)
- How Do I: Multicast with the .NET Service Bus (11:09)
Repeated from the “Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses” section.
•• Dave Nielsen announces CloudCamp Paris on 5/28/2009 at LaCantine, 75002 Paris 02, France. Here’s the tentative schedule:
5:30pm Registration & Networking
6:00 Intro & Welcome to CloudCamp
6:15 Lightning Talks
7:30 Prepare for Unconference
7:45 Unconference - Sessions 1
8:30 Unconference - Sessions 2
9:15 Summary of Sessions
Here’s the complete CloudCamp Schedule.
•• Gary Kim recommends that you Get Ready for the Peak of the Cloud Computing Hype Cycle in this 5/1/2009 article for InfoTech.TMCNet.com:
You know you are in the middle of a hype cycle when companies stop referring to themselves as what they are, and start calling themselves something else. So it is that Akamai (News - Alert) Technologies CEO Paul Sagan now says Akamai is a cloud computing company, not a content delivery network.
The next thing you know somebody will declare it to be the "year of cloud computing," putting us a bit further down the hype cycle, deflating the wild optimism about the "next big thing" and allowing everybody to figure out how to use it productively.
•• Object Management Group’s OMG Standards in Government and NGOs Workshop - Includes Sessions on Cloud Standards, as noted in their press release of 5/1/2009:
OMG™ today announced that the “OMG Standards in Government and NGOs” workshop will be held July 13-15, 2009 at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, VA. This event will combine under one roof three workshops including High Assurance Security Solutions, OMG’s Government Domain Task Force Workshop, and Real-time and Embedded Systems. Also included will be special sessions on Cloud Standards and Green Computing. There will also be demonstrations by major vendors. Registration details may be found online at www.omg.org/july-workshop.
• Reuven Cohen reports that he’s been “invited to Washington DC next week to attend the US Federal Government Cloud Computing Summit” in his US Federal CIO Cloud Computing Summit post of 4/30/2009. Ruv says:
The summit is being hosted by the US government's first CIO, Vivek Kundra. The purpose of this invite only meeting is to provide a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges to implementing cloud computing solutions with-in the federal government.
• John K. Waters’ Reporter's Notebook: Cloud Security a Key Focus at RSA post of 4/28/2009 for Redmond Developer News begins:
Concerns about the security implications of evolving cloud computing technologies dominated last week's annual RSA Conference.
With many viewing security as a major barrier to adoption of cloud-based services, key vendors used last week's event to showcase how they are addressing the issue while experts explored the role security might play as these services evolve.
• Ben Riga’s Business Action Virtual Tour – Global Series of Events post of 4/29/2009 reports:
We've had some great success with the Business Action World Tour events worldwide. We're now reprising that content virtually for those ISVs and developers who could not attend a physical event. Be sure to register via the links at the bottom of the post. Feel free to invite others…
Azure will be featured in one of the four online events: Power of Choice, which Ben describes as follows:
Whether you are deploying behind the firewall or internet-facing applications, build and deploy those applications quickly and easily by capitalizing on the same personnel, development tools investments, and knowledge that already power your organization. When you build on the Dynamics CRM platform you’ll be prepared to deploy your line-of-business applications on-premises, in partner-hosted facilities or in Microsoft own Dynamics CRM Online data centers. When you build the internet-facing self-service applications that integrate with your line-of-business solution, the Azure Services Platform helps reduce IT-related costs, freeing up time and capital to focus on your core business.
Sign up for the Power of Choice in North and South America here. Ben’s post has sign-up links for EMEA and Asia/Pacific regions also
• John Fontana argues that “Six months after launching its Azure cloud OS, Microsoft is using the same cloud terminology to describe its stack of data center infrastructure software” in his Microsoft infrastructure stack takes to the clouds article of 4/29/2009 for NetworkWorld. John writes:
At its annual Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft laid out its vision of a corporate IT world that straddles "public clouds and private clouds."
But rather than technology and architecture changes, Microsoft is using semantics to align its existing stack of infrastructure and management software with the trendiest topic in network computing.
Microsoft's "private cloud platform" is built on a familiar IT combination of Microsoft software. And the cloud moniker is more or less the third phase of Microsoft's management platform that began in 2003 as the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), morphed into Dynamic IT and is now its public cloud/private cloud strategy.
Despite the rhetoric and analysis, I haven’t seen any concrete indication that you’ll be able to more data seamlessly from your Microsoft “private cloud” to Azure or vice versa.
• Press Pass claims Microsoft Showcases the Today and Tomorrow of Datacenter, Client and Cloud Management at the 10th annual Microsoft Management Summit 2009 (http://www.mms-2009.com/default.aspx) in Las Vegas and says, “Company demonstrates management solutions for virtualized environments, Windows 7, and upcoming online service for business desktop management.”
No mention of Azure, however. Either on- or off-premises.
UnderTheRadar’s Announcing Under the Radar Winners: Who’s On Cloud Nine? post of 4/27/2009 lists the winners of this year’s Under the Radar: Clarity in the Cloud event. The post includes videos of the two “best in show” presentations: Zuora and CloudKick, as well as winners in seven categories.
Bob Kelly Sees Economy, Flexibility Driving Cloud Computing Adoption at the 10th annual Microsoft Management Summit this week in Las Vegas:
“Very few companies will rely either 100 percent on public cloud providers or 100 percent on in-house infrastructure,” says Bob Kelly, corporate vice president of Infrastructure Server Marketing at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft is working toward an integrated approach that bridges on-premises datacenters and the external cloud, which offers our customers the benefits of both approaches.”
Kelly says “Microsoft provides the foundation for private clouds with infrastructure solutions to match a range of customer sizes, needs and geographic regions.”
But private-cloud hype won’t overcome potential Azure users’ clamor for the on-premises version that Microsoft won’t supply.
Mary Jo Foley says 'Private cloud' = just another buzzword for on-premise datacenter? in her 4/28/2009 column. Referring to the Bob Kelly press release, Mary Jo writes:
Whether or not they admit it publicly (or just express their misgivings relatively privately), Microsoft officials know the “private cloud” is just the newest way of talking about an on-premise datacenter. Sure, it’s not exactly the same mainframe-centric datacenter IT admins may have found themselves outfitting a few years ago. But, in a nutshell, server + virtualization technology + integrated security/management/billing = private cloud.
Zoli Erdos reports on the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE)’s new series of breakfast meetings in his SVASE VC Breakfast for Startups with Hummer Winblad in San Francisco - Focus on Software as a Service post of 4/28/2009. Zoli says he’ll:
[B]e back moderating the next breakfast meeting this Thursday, April 30st in San Francisco. As usual, this will be an informal round-table where up to 10 entrepreneurs get to deliver a pitch, then answer questions and get critiqued by a VC Partner. We’ve had VC’s from Draper Fisher, Kleiner Perkins, Mayfield, Mohr Davidow, Emergence Capital …etc. This Thursday’s VC is Lars Leckie, representing the first exclusively software-focused venture firm, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
Charles Babcock reports that Red Hat Sponsors Forum On Open Source In The Cloud in this 4/24/2009 post. Charles writes:
Since you can instantiate as many copies of Linux as you want at any time, it's a natural for the elastic workloads of cloud computing. Licensing Windows under cloud circumstances remains a tough nut for Microsoft to crack. So Linux and open source are the natural inheritors of cloud computing.
As if great minds think alike, is just so happens that open source in cloud computing is the topic of an online event that Red Hat has scheduled for July 22, according to a blog posted April 23 by Mike Evans, VP of business development, at the Raleigh, N.C., firm. [Emphasis added.]
Kevin McMahon has started a CloudCurious blog with “News and Notes for Those Curious about Cloud Computing.” Cloud Computing Links April 24, 2009 is the first post I’ve seen. Subscribed.
•• Chris Dagdigian’s Plenary Keynote for the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2009 starts discussing Utility Computing with these comments:
In 2009 I will try hard never to use the word “cloud” in any serious technical conversation (Slide 36)
Lets Be Honest (Slide 38)
• This stuff is not rocket science
• Fast becoming accepted and mainstream
• Easy to understand the pros and cons
•• James Hamilton summarized Dagdigian’s keynote in his Bio-IT World Keynote post of 5/3/2009 with this lede:
Chris Dagdigian of BioTeam presented the keynote at this year’s Bio-IT World Conference. I found this presentation interesting for at least two reasons: 1) it’s a very broad and well reasoned look at many of the issues in computational science and, 2) an innovative example of cloud computing is presented where BioTeam and Pfizer implement protein docking using Amazon AWS.
•• Sarah Tavel suggests What Startups in Amazon’s Ecosystem Should Learn From VMware in her 5/3/2009 post to GigaOM:
Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is orders of magnitude bigger than its next largest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) competitor. At first glance, this would seem to imply that Amazon’s massive scale should give AWS a significant cost advantage over fledgling IaaS cloud offerings. But the advantage Amazon gains from its scale is not necessarily on the cost side. Instead, it is in the growing list of startups racing to fill the holes in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) offering. But is Amazon eyeing the same product road map? To help answer this question, startups can look to VMware to understand the existential risk inherent in being a vendor in AWS’ ecosystem.
•• David Linthicum’s Sun's Lack of a Cloud Computing Strategy podcast of 12/14/2008 (posted to Cloud Computing Journal on 5/3/2009) “talks about Sun's very weak movement back into cloud computing, and the death of Sun Grid Proto Cloud.”
•• Steve Towns reports Federal Web Portal Moves to Cloud Computing Platform in this 5/1/2009 post to the U.S. GSA’s Government Technology Web site. He quotes Martha Dorris, acting associate administrator for the General Services Administration's (GSA) Office of Citizen Services and Communications, “We are flipping the switch tomorrow to the cloud computing platform, so this is a nervous day." Zack writes:
The GSA decided in February to move the federal portal to a cloud computing platform, announcing an agreement with Terremark Worldwide, a Miami-based infrastructure services provider. The USA.gov portal will run on the company's Enterprise Cloud service.
Dorris said the move will cut the portal's infrastructure costs by as much as 90 percent and improve its capabilities. "We're saving money and we'll have a flexible infrastructure," she said, adding that complete migration to the new platform would be done by September. [Emphasis added.]
Update 5/3/2009: USA.gov replied via Twitter:
USA.gov & GobiernoUSA.gov in process of moving to Terremark and Akamai. DNS propagation underway now.
and Tracert.exe usa.gov showed terremark.net as the ISP on 5/3/2009 at 1:30 EDT.
•• Mary Jo Foley’s Hosted CRM, ERP: Another Microsoft and Oracle battleground in the making post of 5/1/2009 posits:
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is famous for blurting out potential product ideas even when they are nothing but a glimmer in his eye. But maybe in the case of offering hosted financials, CRM, HRM and other similar services, there’s a chance such Oracle-hosted entities could come to market sooner rather than later.
If Ellison & Co. do make good on their hosted services threat, they’ll be competing with Microsoft, which already offers hosted Dynamics CRM — and has made noise about possibly delivering Microsoft-hosted ERP in some way down the line.
•• William Vambenepe speculates that “VMWare and IBM are negotiating a joint Cloud API submission to DMTF and need more time before they can submit it” is the reason “why [the DMTF Cloud] incubator was created without a submission” in his Cloud API: what’s cooking between IBM and VMWare? post of 5/1/2009.
William’s arguments to support his guess look spot-on to me. Check out his earlier A pulp view of Cloud computing politics post of 4/29/2009 regarding the “creation by DMTF of an incubator for Cloud standards.”
•• Rob Enderle’s How Oracle-Sun Could Use Google to Become New IBM article of 5/1/2009 for internetnews.com suggests: “Google would own the user, Oracle would own IT, and both would embrace a heavily subsidized hardware model that would be nearly impossible for Microsoft to counter.” Rob concludes:
While the degree of difficulty with this effort would be very high, it isn't any higher than that which created IBM or Microsoft in the first place. And it appears the only remotely reasonable path for Larry Ellison to play a role in taking out Microsoft before he retires.
Everything else simply takes too long.
This last is what makes this path worth talking about even though I actually think Oracle more likely will divest the hardware portion and follow the path I initially spoke of. Something to think about as we continue to experience what will likely be a pivotal year for the technology market.
•• Zoli Erdos admits that the Wall Street Journal “may be right this time” in his Oracle’s Cloudy Cloud Computing Plans post of 5/1/2009. Zoli suggests, “forget what Larry Ellison says, watch where he puts his money:”
Ellison is still majority owner of NetSuite, a pure-play SaaS provider; Oracle has continued to develop Siebel On-Demand, launched Sourcing On-Demand , they have an all Oracle Cloud Computing Center, and are offering Oracle on EC2 in partnership with Amazon Web Services.
•• Rosalie Marshall announces Oracle set to release seven SaaS offerings in this 5/1/2009 article for Vnunet.com. Rosalie continues:
… including applications for sales and marketing and HR professionals, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which cited sources briefed on the plans and a company document. …
The company unveiled CRM On Demand Release 16 in January, and launched a new product that manages corporate supply processing, Oracle Sourcing On Demand, in March. Oracle currently lists 4.5 million end users of its on-demand software.
•• PRNewsWire carries a New IBM Appliance Delivers Enterprise Cloud Services release that describes:
- IBM WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance -- a new hardware appliance that provides access to software virtual images and patterns that can be used as is or easily customized, and then securely deployed, managed and maintained in a private cloud;
- IBM WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition -- a version of IBM WebSphere Application Server software optimized to run in a virtualized hardware server environments such as VMware, and comes preloaded in WebSphere Cloudburst.
Neither product sounds very new or exciting to me.
• Steven Martin reports that “customers save up to 81% in total system costs by running applications on Microsoft .NET and Windows Server 2008 vs. IBM WebSphere 7 on POWER6/AIX” in his WebSphere Loves Windows…Who Knew? post of 4/30/2009. Steve writes:
About a year ago, I blogged about some .NET / Windows Server benchmark testing results produced by Greg Leake. After taking some well deserved time off, Greg went back to the lab, expanded his testing and agreed to help get to the bottom of the “back office” debate. For the first time, the results include IBM hardware (POWER6) which allows us to evaluate price / performance using typical customer configurations. In an era of cost cutting and the need to squeeze as much optimization out of systems as possible, we think customers will find this information very interesting.
• Ryan Paul’s Eucalyptus in the cloud: researchers commercialize OSS project post of 4/30/2009 to Ars Technica carries this deck:
The researchers behind the open source Eucalyptus project have launched a company to commercialize the technology. They plan to offer services and support to companies that want to use Eucalyptus to build self-hosted elastic computing clouds.
• Amazon Web Services announced AWS in Education on 4/29/2009:
AWS in Education provides a set of programs that enable the worldwide academic community to easily leverage the benefits of Amazon Web Services for teaching and research. …
With AWS you can requisition compute power, storage, database functionality, content delivery, and other services — gaining access to a suite of elastic IT infrastructure services as you demand them. AWS enables the academic community to inexpensively and rapidly build on global computing infrastructure to pursue course projects and accelerate their productivity and research results, while enjoying the same benefits of reliability, elasticity, and cost-effectiveness used by industry. The AWS in Education program offers:
- Teaching Grants for educators using AWS in courses (plus access to selected course content resources)
- Research Grants for academic researchers using AWS in their work
- Project Grants for student organizations pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors; Tutorials for students that want to use AWS for self-directed learning
- Solutions for university administrators looking to use cloud computing to be more efficient and cost-effective in the university’s IT Infrastructure
• Paul Miller reports EUCALYPTUS Project closes $5.5 Million Series A with Benchmark, moves out of UC Santa Barbara’s Ivory Tower in this 4/29/2009 post:
Today the UCSB research project takes the next step, announcing a successful Series A investment round led by Benchmark Capital that moves the team out of the University and onto a professional footing with $5.5 Million to spend. Project Director Wolski becomes CTO, with Woody Rollins as CEO and Matt Reid as VP Sales & Marketing rounding out Eucalyptus Systems‘ fledgling management team. Wolski reports that the entire UCSB development team is moving across to the newly capitalised company, which is licensing IP from UCSB in return for an undisclosed equity stake. Benchmark’s Kevin Harvey takes a seat on the Board, which is Chaired by former AOL Europe CEO Andreas Von Blottnitz.
• The Open Grid Forum announces Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group in its New OGF Working Group to Create an API for Cloud Computing article of 4/28/2009. According to Ignacio Llorente:
The OGF Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) working group will deliver an API specification for remote management of cloud computing infrastructure, allowing for the development of interoperable tools for common tasks including deployment, autonomic scaling and monitoring. The scope of the specification will be all high level functionality required for the life-cycle management of virtual machines (or workloads) running on virtualization technologies (or containers) supporting service elasticity.
Of course, the question is “Will any cloud computing vendor buy into an API created by a committee?” Don’t think so.
• Sam Diaz’s Google replies to cloud computing concerns post of 4/29/2009 for ZDNet’s Between the Lines blog comments on the google post below.
Rajan Sheth’s What we talk about when we talk about cloud computing of 4/28/2009 gives Google’s view of cloud computing in the light of the controversy about the McKinsey & Co. report:
We thought we'd provide some insight into what we mean when we say cloud computing, and how its advantages in cost and innovation continue to attract hundreds of thousands of companies of all sizes -- from 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment to Genentech. We created our cloud by building an optimized system from the ground up: starting with low-cost hardware, adding reliable software infrastructure that scales, offering innovative applications, and working every day to improve the whole system. While the McKinsey study only considered the hardware cost savings of the cloud, there is tremendous customer benefit in all of these areas
Paul Miller reports that Juan Carlos Soto reaffirms Sun Microsystems’ commitment to the Cloud in this 4/27/2009 post with a link to a podcast interview with Soto.
John Foley quotes Forbes magazine in his report of 4/27/2009 that [private] Cloud Vendor Cassatt Faces The End. Foley writes:
After meeting with Coleman four months ago, I was struck by how expensive Cassatt's Active Response software was. It started at $250 per server and went up to $2,500 per server for its full-blown capabilities (server workload management, high application availability across multiple data centers, etc.). Multiply that by thousands of servers, and the fees translate into millions of dollars. Coleman says one customer's deployment rang up, before discounts, at $50 million. (See my original post "Million-Dollar Private Clouds.")
Boutique cloud vendors don’t stand much of a chance in today’s economy.
Bob Evans’ Amazon Says CIO Interest In Its Cloud Services Is Surging post of 4/25/2009 starts:
Amazon says CIO interest is rising rapidly in its enterprise-caliber Amazon Web Services, and that commitment for the new business starts at "the very highest levels of the company."
While Amazon clearly acknowledges that its primary customers have been startups and small firms, it's also preparing to become more aggressive in marketing to CIOs are big corporations.
Patty Seybold believes Sun Cloud & Oracle Cloud to Combine according to her post of 4/20/2009. Patty writes:
Both companies have cloud computing in common as the vector for their present and future strategies, so the Sun/Oracle cloud makes as much sense (maybe more?) than the IBM/Sun cloud. Many of Oracle's largest customers already run their server farms on Sun hardware with Solaris or Linux as the O/S and middleware layers and Oracle's database and applications at the software and applications layer