Saturday, May 09, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 5/4/2009+

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

Updated 5/9 and 5/10/2009: Additions
• Updated 5/7 and 5/8/2009: 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

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My Windows Azure Blob Test Harness Project is Live! post from 1/4/2009 was updated on 5/6/2009 to reflect recent changes in the project to recover from Windows Live SkyDrive’s assignment of new IDs to six of the seven source bitmaps and zip files that serve as content for the live Azure demo.

I haven’t a clue why SkyDrive changed the IDs to new values with a few more characters.

SQL Data Services (SDS)

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See the list of five Tech*Ed 2009 SDS sessions in the Cloud Computing Events section.

• Dennis Gobo lists more than A couple of reasons I won't be moving my databases to the cloud anytime soon on 5/7/2009 after listening to “the SSDS session … presented by David Robinson who is a senior program manager on the SQL team. [Link added.]” Here’s Dennis’s screen capture “that shows you what is and what is not available for V1:”


• Jeffrey Schwartz’s Microsoft Revamps SQL Data Services (SDS) Cloud Database of April 2009 includes quotes from developers (including yours, truly), analysts and Microsoft about SDS’s mid-course correction with the move from the Entity-Attribubute-Value (EAV) to the relational data model.

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

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Maor David demonstrates how to use the Microsoft .NET Services Service Bus and the  NetTcpRelayBinding in his Azure .NET Services – A Twitter Service Bus post of 4/29/2009. The tutorial post is based on the Echo sample in Azure SDK for .NET Services (March 2009 CTP) and includes source code on SkyDrive.

J. D. Lasica’s free Identity in the Age of Cloud Computing: The next-generation Internet’s impact on business, governance and social interaction 110-page eBook published by the Aspen Institute and is available for downloading in PDF here. The Institute has released the new report under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license.

The .NET Services Team made the Microsoft .NET Services White Papers (March 2009 CTP) available for downloading on 5/8/2009. The White Papers include:

    • An Introduction to Microsoft .NET Services for Developers by Aaron Skonnard. This overview paper introduces Microsoft® .NET Services, each of its building block services, and how they fit together.
    • A Developer’s Guide to the Microsoft® .NET Access Control Service by Keith Brown. This whitepaper shows developers how to use a claims-based identity model and the Microsoft® .NET Access Control Service – part of the Microsoft® .NET Services family – to implement single sign-on, federated identity, and role based access control in Web applications and services.
    • A Developer’s Guide to the Microsoft® .NET Service Bus by Aaron Skonnard. This whitepaper shows developers how to use the .NET Service Bus – part of the Microsoft® .NET Services family – to provide a secure, standards-based messaging fabric to connect applications across the Internet.
    • A Developer’s Guide to the Microsoft® .NET Workflow Service by Matt Milner. This whitepaper provides details about the Microsoft® .NET Workflow Service, its relation to Windows Workflow Foundation, and what developers need to know to begin building workflows for the cloud. It not only explains the current tools and capabilities but also outlines the vision for future releases.

The authors are instructors at Pluralsight. According to a 5/8/2009 Twitter post, the .NET Services team will “See you at #TechEd at the LA Convention Center next week!”

• Vittorio Bertocci announces The Id Element weekly: Ruchi Bhargava on Windows CardSpace Geneva interview on 5/7/2009:

Ruchi Bhargava, Sr. Development Lead on the Federated Identity team, has been working with Windows CardSpace from the beginning and has been involved in all aspects of the product's development. In this episode she highlights some of the challenges end users and developers had with Windows CardSpace v1 and the work the team has done to bring a new experience to both users and developers with Windows CardSpace "Geneva". This work includes a complete rewrite of the product in native code for faster download and snappier performance, as well as enhancements for the end user experience that developers can now have a greater influence over -- to call out a few of the items Ruchi discusses.

and gloats over Geneva wins a European Identity Award in the category “Best Innovation” at the European Identity Conference 2009:

In the category “Best innovation”, […] Another award in that category went to Microsoft for their Geneva project, in which federation becomes part of user containers - in the view of Kuppinger Cole, one of the most significant enhancements for future use and dissemination of the Identity Federation.

• Stephane Gunet’s ACS passive federation in a webrole : with source and demo thread of 5/7/2009 in the .NET Services - Technical Discussions forum includes a live demo of passive federation of a WebRole with Live ID here and source code on CodePlex here. I’ve tested his demo and it works! Stephen says (inter alia):

I finally got Access Control Service up and running in a web role and managed to build a small library to help set it up without too many hacks : almost everything can be properly set up in the <microsoft.identitymodel> section of web.config. The only piece of code you need is the creation of the sign in request.

What you can do with it is build a web role that will use Access Control Service to provide authentication and authorization using passive federation. The demo and sample code uses Live ID as an identity provider, but you should be able to use any other identity provider thanks to ACS security model.

Thanks Stephane; I needed that.

• Vittorio Bertocci, a.k.a. Vibro, provides links to his claims-based identity, “Geneva” samples and Azure’s .NET Access Control Service posts for the last year in his 6 years of blogging post of 5/6/2009. If you’re interested in implementing federated identity with Azure, Vibro’s posts are invaluable.

Vittorio Bertocci’s What goes into claims post of 5/5/2009 explains federated claims-based identity management with a strong “Geneva” flavor and a touch of hand-hewn graphics. If you’re working with Access Control Services and the “Geneva” Framework, be sure to read this post (despite the fact that the Azure March 2009 CTP and Geneva Framework aren’t compatible.)

It’s possible that my Problem with the Azure Services Training Kit’s IntroAccessControl Hands-on Lab post of 5/4/2009, to which Vittorio added an insightful comment, prompted his post of the next day.

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

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Darryl K. Taft announce Microsoft Launches Windows Azure Cloud Developer Contest in this 5/6/2009 post. Here’s the deck:

To highlight the capabilities of its Windows Azure cloud and the Azure Services Platform, Microsoft has announced a contest inviting developers to create innovative applications to run on Azure. Microsoft will award winners for creating compelling .NET and PHP applications, and will invite the overall Web development community to vote on a third "community application" winner.

More information about the contest, which closes 6/18/2009 can be found at

David Pallman’s Azure Storage Explorer 2.1 Now Available post of 5/9/2009 reports:

Although Azure Storage Explorer has become a popular tool for viewing Azure cloud storage, the most requested feature has been an ability to modify what's in storage. Version 2.1 provides the capability to create or delete blob containers, blob items, queues, queue messages, tables, and table items.

You can download the updated source code, binaries, and docs from CodePlex.

• Microsoft’s Public Sector Developer Evangelism team announced the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) on 5/8/2009. OGDI is Azure-based data service the makes government data available in the form of blobs or, presumably, tables. Here’s the team’s description:

The Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) is an initiative led by Microsoft Public Sector Developer Evangelism teamExternal Link. OGDI uses the Azure Services PlatformExternal Link to make it easier to publish and use a wide variety of public data from government agencies. OGDI is also a free, open source ‘starter kit’ (coming soon) with code that can be used to publish data on the Internet in a Web-friendly format with easy-to-use, open API's. OGDI-based web API’s can be accessed from a variety of client technologies such as Silverlight, Flash, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, mapping web sites, etc.

Whether you are a business wishing to use government data, a government developer, or a ‘citizen developer’, these open API's will enable you to build innovative applications, visualizations and mash-ups that empower people through access to government information. This site is built using the OGDI starter kit software assets and provides interactive access to some publicly-available data sets along with sample code and resources for writing applications using the OGDI API's.

Email us at if you have government data sets that you would like us to publish or if you have other questions.

OGDI appears to me to be a very small-scale version of Amazon Web Services’ Public Datasets.

• Stephane Gunet’s ACS passive federation in a webrole : with source and demo thread of 5/7/2009 in the .NET Services - Technical Discussions forum includes a live demo of passive federation of a WebRole with Live ID here and source code on CodePlex here. I’ve tested his demo and it works. (Copied from the .NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow section.)

• David Pallman adds a Silverlight, WCF and Sodoku demo to his live Azure apps with his Azure Sudoku now on CodePlex post of 5/7/2009. Dave says:

I could have implemented Azure Sudoku without the WCF service, but since this is meant to be a reference project I wanted to include WCF for an important reason: Silverlight can't directly access Azure's RESTful services. That means when you work on Azure-hosted Silverlight solutions the only way you'll be able to make use of cloud storage and other Azure services is if your solution contains a WCF service that Silverlight can go through to get to Azure services.

Jamie Thomson’s Tweetpoll – My first Windows Azure application is live post of 5/6/2009 describes his live Azure “application [that] displays the distribution of the lengths of Twitter statuses (‘tweets’) from Twitter’s public timeline.” Source code is available on Codeplex.

David Pallman reports in AzureMortgageService now on CodePlex of 5/4/2009 the availability of his:

[D]emo WCF service that calculates mortgage schedules, along with a WPF-based desktop app for invoking the service and displaying the results. The demo is on CodePlex at If you're looking for a working Azure service with a real-world scenario that's clean and simple, you might find this useful.

Here’s a full-size screen capture of the UI from Dave’s blog post:

My Windows Azure Blob Test Harness Project is Live! post from 1/4/2009 was updated on 5/6/2009 to reflect recent changes in the project to recover from Windows Live SkyDrive’s assignment of new IDs to six of the seven source bitmaps and zip files that serve as content for the live Azure demo. (Repeated from the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services section")

Azure Infrastructure

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My San Francisco Bay Area is Center of US Interest in Cloud Computing post of 5/9/2009 offers a geographical analysis of interest in the four Google search terms I analyzed in the Interest in Cloud Computing Increases as Web Services and SOA Lose Google Search and News Volume post (see below.)

•• Peter Mell and Tim Grance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have proposed a Working Definition of Cloud Computing which Ruv Cohen posted as a new thread to the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) on 5/9/2009.

•• Tom Bittman’s Four Myths About Cloud Computing post of 5/8/2009 contends that the following ideas are myths:

  1. There will be a “big switch”
  2. Cloud computing is just an evolution of “fill in the blank”
  3. Only megaproviders will win
  4. Cloud computing is about IT commoditization

I’m not so sure that #3 is a myth. (Tom is a Gartner analyst.)

•• Chris Hoff (a.k.a. @Beaker) takes On the Draft NIST Working Definition Of Cloud Computing… in this 5/8/2009 post. Chris says, quoting Reuven Cohen:

I can’t seem to find it anywhere [for “public ratification & comment”] except for references to its creation as a deliverable in FY09 in a presentation from December, 2008.  I searched NIST’s site, but perhaps I’m just having a bad search day.

That’s the only original source I have.  From @Beaker on Twitter: Please contribute in reviewing the Cloud Security Alliance Guidance via our Google Groups:

My Interest in Cloud Computing Increases as Web Services and SOA Lose Google Search and News Volume post of 5/9/2009 analyzes the hype cycles for four Google search terms: SOA, Web services, virtualization and cloud computing. Here’s a preview of the results for the past five+ years:

•• Greg Ness analyzes The Dizzying Economics of Cloud Computing in this 5/8/2009 post, which concludes:

Out there in the land of service providers is a Henry Ford or Bill Gates who understands the coming transformation and is testing and innovating for comparative advantages while others hang on in desperation.  Where they build tomorrow’s factories will make all the difference, in the same way that the Marshall Plan and the railroad etc. shifted wealth on often unprecedented scales.

For “factories” read “data centers.”

•• James Staten’s Leveraging cloud computing for new business enablement of 5/8/2009 cites “ HP VP and CTO Russ Daniels’ … short commentary on how cloud computing can help reignite the global economy and his focus is what makes the difference.” James writes:

Where Russ differs from many others on cloud computing in that he is talking about the vision from a higher, business level than most others, who are down in the IT weeds most of the time. Where Nick Carr talks about cloud computing sending corporate data centers to the trash heap, Russ is looking at what new business opportunities can be enabled by the cloud.

James is a Principal Analyst for Forrester Research serving IT Infrastructure & Operations professionals.

• Joe Weinman’s McKinsey Cloud Report's Popularity Disproves Its Own Analysis InformationWeek article of 5/8/2009 includes an analysis that concludes:

The bottom line is, it's the total cost that matters. It may be better to pay a little more some of the time than a little less all the time. If that isn't clear, let me rephrase it: It may be better to pay nothing most of the time than something all the time. This is one of the many ways cloud services, even when and if they are more expensive, generate cost savings.

• Reuven Cohen reports on spending “the last two days in Washington DC in conversations with various US government officials regarding the opportunities for cloud computing within the federal government” in his The US Federal Government defines Cloud Computing post of 5/7/2009:

Something I found particularly interesting was that for the first time, the
federal government is moving more quickly then the private sector in both
their interest and potential adoption of what has been referred to as the
federal cloud. Making things even more interesting is the appointment
of Patrick Stingley as what I would describe as the federal "Cloud Czar" or more formally the Federal Cloud CTO at the General Services Administration (GSA). … One of Stingley's first tasks is creating a development plan for a federal cloud computing capability.

Ruv goes on to quote the Draft NIST Working Definition of Cloud Computing of 4-24-09 by Peter Mell and Tim Grance.

• James Urquhart takes on Image/Data portability in his Exploring cloud interoperability, part 2 post of 5/7/2009. James previously defined the topic:

This is the one that most people assume when they say "cloud interoperability." How do you define a virtual server image, or a Java application, or a Customer Releationship Management (CRM) database, such that it can be deployed on another host, often a competitive host, without modification?

and goes into more detail in this post.

• David Lawsky’s Little-known cloud startups attract venture interest article of 5/7/2009 for Reuters makes these points:

Venture capitalists are increasingly looking to invest in start-up companies that provide complementary services for the Internet "cloud", hoping to get in on the ground floor of a trend that the world's biggest tech companies are pushing. …

Experts say these start-ups will work alongside the likes of Google Inc, Inc and Microsoft Corp, which say they are investing in this concept but warn it is a nascent, rapidly shifting arena. …

Kevin Harvey, general partner of Benchmark Partners, said his venture capital firm invested in Rightscale and Engine Yard because they provide essential services. Amazon joined with Benchmark in helping fund Engine Yard, which has now secured $18.5 million in financing.

• Bill McNee’s Saugatuck Readers Survey: SaaS and Cloud Reign Supreme Saugatuck Research Alert of 5/6/2009 finds:

SaaS and Cloud Computing topped the list of research topics that readers want Saugatuck to focus on over the next 12-18 months, with 89 percent and 87 percent respectively ranking as them as “critical” or “very important.” …

Saugatuck readers clearly see SaaS and Cloud Computing as the two most important trends and disruptive technologies driving change in Enterprise Computing.

Avenade’s 2009 Global Survey of Cloud Computing survey of 502 respondents conducted by Keller Research in January 2009 found in the “Poised to Adopt a Viable Solution” section:

    • Nine in 10 of C‐level executives and IT decision‐makers in the United States, and six of 10 globally, are familiar with cloud computing.
    • Business executives and IT decision makers overwhelmingly agree that cloud computing is the real deal (71 percent worldwide and 87 percent in the United States) – it is seen as a viable technology option.
    • Furthermore, nearly two in three IT execs worldwide and four of five in the United States believe cloud computing reduces up‐front costs.

But concluded in the “Afraid to Change” section:

    • Even though nearly half of respondents consider themselves early adopters of new technologies, the majority of companies are afraid to change to cloud computing technologies.
    • Of those who use internal IT systems, the vast majority of those companies (84 percent) have no plans to switch to cloud computing in the next 12 months.
    • By a 5‐to‐1 ratio, companies trust internal IT systems over cloud‐based technologies due to fear about security threats and loss of control of data and systems

Gartner, Inc. claims Worldwide SaaS Revenue to Grow 22 Percent in 2009 in this May 2009 report:

Enterprise Software Segment



Content, Communications and Collaboration (CCC)



Office Suites



Digital Content Creation (DCC)



Customer Relationship Management (CRM)



Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)



Supply Chain Management (SCM)



Other Application Software



Total Enterprise Software



Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Market Trends: Software as a Service, Worldwide, 2009-2013.” The US$2,495 report is available here on Gartner’s Web site.

Jason Hiner’s Sanity check: Why corporate IT will eventually embrace cloud computing post of 4/27/2009 to TechRepublic’s “Tech Sanity Check” column carries the following deck:

When you mention “cloud computing” to most IT professionals, the look of palpable disdain on their faces is unmistakable. That’s going to change over the next five years. Here’s why.

Hiner is Editor-in-Chief of TechRepublic.

Bill Lodin describes his Using Logging in a Windows Azure Application screencast of 5/6/2009:

Windows Azure provides a built-in framework for writing log messages from your applications. In this screencast, you’ll learn how to use the Windows Azure logging API and how to read log messages whether your application is running in the development fabric or in the cloud.

Brent Stineman asks App Dev in the cloud. What is the benefit? and finds the answers in a Webinar delivered by Rightscale:

Well the obvious answer is that Azure Services are a PaaS and not a SaaS. When consuming a SaaS that resides in a public cloud, you’re consuming a specific product with its (usually limited) options for customization and extension. When you hit those limits, your options for further extension or integration between that off-premise solution and any other item are limited. To extend that offering the service consumer either has to tie it to to their existing infrastructure likely through the implementation of an on-premise custom or packaged solution. The challenge with this is how to maintain the benefits your organization received when it made the decision to use a off-premise SaaS offering. If you moved to the cloud to gain scalability, you need to make sure your on-premise extension is equally scalable.

• Krishnan Subramanian tries Clearing The Confusion On Security And Clouds in this 5/7/2009 post that distinguishes between “Cloud Security” and “Security in the Cloud.”

Rona Suchat’s Cloud-Based Application Development and Testing Services: Customers' Leading Requirements and Provider Preferences US$3,500 IDC research report “highlights demand-side results of customer perception of top criteria and providers they would select if procuring cloud-based application development or testing services.”

Cloud Computing Architect’s IDC Report Examines Customers' Leading Requirements and Provider Preferences for Cloud-Based Application Development and Testing Services includes more detail about the report’s contents.

Jim Damoulakis recommends Steering Clear of a Cloud Boondoggle in his Expert Advice story of 5/6/2009 for E-Commerce Times:

The hype surrounding cloud computing seems to be reaching a peak. Enthusiasm and expectations are running hot. Companies must approach the concept with an open mind as well as a healthy measure of skepticism. The challenge that organizations attempting to adopt a cloud model must face is ensuring that the promised efficiencies and service benefits are actually realized.

James Hamilton continues his datacenter cookbook with Next Point of Server Differentiation: Effiiciency at Very High Temprature of 5/5/2009.  James claims:

High data center temperatures is the next frontier for server competition (see pages 16 through 22 of my Data Center Efficiency Best Practices talk: and 32C (90F) in the Data Center). At higher temperatures the difference between good and sloppy mechanical designs are much more pronounced and need to be a purchasing criteria.

Steve Martin announces Azure Developer Challenge – Judged by Om Malik and Michael Cote in this 5/4/2009 post:

But before you head off to create your masterpiece, make sure you check out for official rules, registration info, important deadlines and to learn what money, fame, and glory are in store for three creative developers J.

Bill Rigby’s Microsoft's slow-moving cloud may overshadow rivals article for Reuters of 5/4/2009. Rigby writes:

Next year Microsoft plans to roll out its Office suite of applications online, and by then its Azure cloud platform should be up and running, allowing third-party developers to design programs to run in Microsoft's cloud, expanding the range of tasks customers can do with it.

Microsoft says hosting companies' systems in the cloud means they can charge more for services, while the customer ends up saving money on hardware, servers and IT support, potentially taking sales away from companies like IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co

His article concentrates on the potential for “Office in the Cloud” to cannibalize on-premise sales, but concludes:

[Amazon, Google, and Salesforce] have moved more aggressively into cloud computing -- the trend toward running software in remote data centers and accessing it over the Internet -- but do not have the power to capture Microsoft's most lucrative customers.

Cloud Computing Events

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Jeremy Geelan’s Cloud Computing Expo Europe 2009 in Prague: Themes & Topics post of 5/10/2009 reports:

The overall conference theme of Cloud Computing Conference & Expo Europe, which will take place, May 18-19, 2009, in Prague, Czech Republic is "Deploying Cloud Computing in the Enterprise." Here we present a round-up of Themes & Topics that will be covered in the rich array of breakout sessions, General Sessions, and Power Panel dicussions at the 2-day event.

Our organizing principle for the Prague event is that through our intensive schedule of keynotes, general and breakout sessions, attending delegates will be assured of leaving with abundant resources, ideas and examples they can apply immediately to leveraging the Cloud, helping them to maximize performance, minimize cost and improve the scalability of their Enterprise IT endeavors.

The event is co-located with SYS-CON's Virtualization Conference Europe 2009.

When: May 18 - 19, 2009 
Where: Hilton Prague Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) announces a new Cloud Computing Domain with Doing Business in the Cloud as its first research project. The domain sponsored a 2008 Study Tour Report: The Consumerization of Enterprise IT – Choices and Risks in Moving to the Cloud and will host the Doing Business in the Cloud: What it Means for Cost, Agility, and Collaboration study tour on October 10 through 13 in San Francisco. CSC in the US and UK sponsors the Leading Edge Forum (see below.)

The CSC Leading Edge Forum presents From the Boardroom to the Cloud - Are Business and IT Organized for the Future? which addresses these issues:

While the technology industry often speculates about the Future of the IT Organization, today’s business leaders are much more focused on the best way to Organize IT for their firm’s Future. As information technology pervades virtually every aspect of the modern firm, and as an ever-more powerful Internet ‘cloud’ emerges, companies are rethinking the way that technology is deployed, used and managed across their organizations. This is especially true in today’s turbulent and unpredictable business climate.

The conference includes the following cloud-directed presentations:

    • The Voice of the Boardroom: Perspectives on Cloud Computing and social media-based applications. How do they impact the business and the way it is run?
    • Choices and Risks in Moving to the Cloud

Registration closes May 11, 2009

When: May 18, 2009 
Where: King's Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG, UK

Forrester Research’s IT Forum 2009 will feature a Uncovering Value In The Cloud And On Your Desktop keynote by Chris Capossela, Senior Vice President, Information Worker Product Management Group, Microsoft Corp, and a Saving, Making, And Risking Cash With Cloud Computing Forrester Analyst Panel, as well as How Cloud Computing Can Drive Greater Data Center Efficiency and Determining The Cloud's Role In Your Email Architecture breakout sessions.

When: May 19 to May 22, 2009 
Where: The Palazzo Las Vegas, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas

• Reuven Cohen reports in a Federal Cloud Standards Summit (July 15th) post that he has been “invited to provide a keynote presentation at the upcoming Cloud Standards Summit July 15th in Washington:”

Being held as part of the OMG Standards in Government & NGO's Workshop July 13-15, 2009, Arlington,Virginia. The goal of the Cloud Standards Summit is to initiate a dialogue with government IT leaders on the theme of "Coordinating Standardization Activities to Remove Government Cloud Computing Roadblocks". Potential government implementers of Cloud Computing will supply their feedback on key issues that could delay federal Cloud Computing deployments.

Draft Agenda:

When: July 15, 2009, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT 
Where: Westin Arlington Gateway, Arlington, VA 

• Dmitry Sotnikov lists My TechEd Sessions, which include Birds of a Feather (BOF), Ask the Experts and Case Study presentations, in his 5/7/2009 post:

    • Birds-of-a-Feather,”Going to the Cloud: Are We Crazy?” Dmitry Sotnikov, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday May 12, room 501A – this one is IT-oriented discussion of risks and benefits of putting your IT systems into the cloud.
    • PowerShell Ask the Experts Session, Dmitry Sotnikov and Kirk Munro, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday May 13, Quest booth 808 – this will actually be PowerShell – not cloud – oriented.
    • Birds-of-a-Feather, “Developing on Azure: Stories from the Trenches,” Dmitry Sotnikov, 6:45 p.m. May 14, room 502A. A developer-oriented discussion so everyone who is kicking the Azure tires can share there war stories and get advice.
    • “Case Study: Migrating Existing Client Applications to Windows Azure,” Dmitry Sotnikov, 2:45 p.m. May 15, room 515B – my main session of the show. I will talk about how Quest is using Windows Azure to turn its products into SaaS offerings.
    • Also, check out this session if you are interested specifically in Exchange Online and corresponding migration path: “Migration to Microsoft Online Services from Exchange and Non-Microsoft Platforms,” Quest’s Keith Ridings and Microsoft’s Erik Ashby, 4:30 p.m. May 14, room 403B.

[Emphasis Dmitry’s.]

• David Robinson’s What’s New in Microsoft SQL Data Services presentation at the Enterprise Developer and Solutions Conference in NYC lets you know what you can expect from SDS when the Azure team releases the first CTP of the upgraded v1. Dennis Gobo isn’t thrilled about the 10GB database size limit, inter alia.

Red Hat announced on 4/23/2009 a virtual Open Source Cloud Computing Forum:

The virtual event will provide time to discuss progress to date, issues and potential solutions and future directions. The event will be technically focused, with no marketing or product selling permitted.

If you believe Red Hat won’t be promoting its products services, would you be interested in buying my bridge?

When: July 22, 2009, Time not specified 
Where: Internet (virtual conference)

NYC Cloud Computing Group announces Microsoft Cloud 101 and Cloud Based Client/Server 2.0. Microsoft evangelist Bill Zack and Rabih Nassar, founder & CEO of apstrata/element^n, will present:

[T]wo action packed presentations/discussions. Learn the basics of Microsoft's Cloud offerings, centered around the Azure Services Platform. You will walk away with a solid understanding of Microsoft's cloud integration approach and how you can easily integrate with these comprehensive services. Additionally, learn about an exciting new paradigm that empowers you to embrace the cloud framework to deliver rich client services based applications using Flex, Silverlight, Ajax and Web Services.

When: May 20, 2009, 6:00 PM 
Where: Gemini Systems LLC, 61 Broadway, New York, NY (212) 480-3960

Doug Hauger, Azure’s Genera Manager, gave the keynote for Microsoft’s Enterprise Developer and Solutions Conference which covered the “cloud-computing landscape.” The keynote starts at about 07:30 into this hosted video segment.

Here’s a “sample of enterprise corporations and partners will be presenting [Azure-related] topics such as:

  • Windows Azure Deep Dive
  • An IP based communication system using Microsoft Live Services
  • Federated Identity and Claims based authorization with Geneva Server and the Access Control Service
  • Healthcare in Cloud, Technology as an enabler for the Service Oriented Health Plan of the Future
When: May 5 and 6, 2009, 9 AM to 5 PM 
Where: Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York New York 10036  

Microsoft Tech*Ed 2009’s Session Catalog contains 20 Azure-related sessions and 7 Hands-On Labs. I’ve listed them because Network World’s @JohnFontana says, “The MS TechEd 2009 Web site, using it is like being dragged over 20 miles of broken glass.”


  • ARC01-INT Architecting Your Web Application for the Cloud with Larry Clarkin and Wade Wegner
  • ARC204 An Overview of the Azure Services Platform with David Chappell
  • ARC311 Software As a Service in the Cloud with Michael Stiefel

SQL Data Services (after mid-course correction to the RDBMS data model)

  • DAT202 What's New in Microsoft SQL Data Services with Rick Negrin
  • DAT203 Roles and Responsibilities Managing a Microsoft SQL Data Services Database with Rick Negrin and Zhongwei Wu
  • DAT316 Building Applications with Microsoft SQL Data Services and Windows Azure with Liam Cavanagh and David Robinson
  • DAT324 WiE: Building Location-Aware Services with Microsoft SQL Server with Ed Katibah and Olivier Meyer
  • PAN66 The New Face of Microsoft SQL Data Services with Nino Bice, Rick Negrin and Zhongwei Wu

Specialized Presentations/.NET Services

  • DTL335 Model View Controller on Azure: Getting Development Done by Steve Smith
  • DTL404 Case Study: Migrating Existing Client Applications to Windows Azure by Dmitry Sotnikov
  • ISB206 What's Behind the Cloud: Microsoft's Data Center Transformation by Christian Belady
  • ISB209 Join the Cloud: Essential Tools for Microsoft Online Services (Solution Accelerators) by Robin Maher and Baldwin Ng
  • SIA306 Federated Collaboration Using Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Active Directory Rights Management Services, and Microsoft "Geneva" by Vijay Gajjala and Tariq Sharif
  • SIA314 Microsoft Code Name "Geneva" Identity Platform Overview by Caleb Baker, Stuart Kwan and Martin Raepple
  • SIA320 Securing the Cloud by Kai Axford
  • SOA01-INT Architecting Enterprise-Grade Cloud Applications by Eugenio Pace
  • SOA316 Programming Microsoft .NET Services by Aaron Skonnard
  • SOA319 Interconnect and Orchestrate Services and Applications with Microsoft .NET Services by Clemens Vasters
  • SOA401 Developing Service Oriented Workflows by Brian Noyes

Hands-On Labs

  • AZP01-HOL Building Windows Azure Services with PHP
  • AZP02-HOL Getting Started with Windows Azure Storage
  • AZP03-HOL Using Windows Azure Tables
  • AZP04-HOL Building Windows Azure Services
  • AZP05-HOL Introduction to the Microsoft .NET Access Control Service
  • AZP06-HOL Introduction to the Microsoft .NET Service Bus
  • AZP07-HOL Introduction to the Microsoft .NET Workflow Service

When: May 11-15, 2009
Where: Los Angeles Convention Center

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

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•• CloseUp Media reports DISA Awards Contract to Northrop Grumman and EyeIT for the SIMtone cloud computing platform in this 5/9/2009 post. According to the article:

SIMtone's Universal Computing platform is a stateless and massively scalable intelligent network computing solution that allows users to securely access data and applications residing in any cloud from a broad array of endpoint devices. Through its patented technology, by placing intelligence in the network, SIMtone allows firewalls to be closed to inbound traffic so that data and applications remain secure in corporate data centers yet are globally accessible via any device on any broadband connection.

What’s interesting about this item is that DISA = Defense Information Systems Agency.

•• Rick Hodgin claims IBM announces WebSpan, the first Windows Azure alternative in this 5/9/2009 post:

On Tuesday, IBM announced a new Cloud Computing hardware and software solution called WebSpan. Working jointly with another company called Hubspan, this SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform is the very heart of what cloud computing will become — and is basically another version of what Microsoft described with their Windows Azure operating system last October.

Like Azure, WebSpan is designed for businesses to simplify the process of rolling out software and data systems, as well as coordinating data and services between them. And also like Azure, WebSpan is a fee-based service-oriented software environment which automatically scales up/down as real-world needs arise, allowing for the ongoing monthly service fee to be paid directly to IBM (or Microsoft) as their software and hardware are used, but without the up-front maximum capital investment in buying a server platform to support their busiest times. WebSpan (and Azure) will scale automatically, and their customer (the business using their service) will shell out more money the busier things get.

Rick closes his story with a burst of paranoia that ends:

In my opinion, Cloud Computing’s benefits are not worth the risks. Period. I mean seriously … do you want $100 billion companies controlling your data?

•• Sam Dean’s Eucalyptus Systems Shares Details On its Open Source Cloud Plans post of 5/8/2009 to GigaOM’s OStatic site includes the following:

Eucalyptus Systems will focus initially on providing Red Hat-like training and consulting services for the Eucalyptus platform, which (under a FreeBSD-style license) provides an infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicates the functionality of Amazon's EC2, using the Amazon command-line tools directly. Many companies are already using Eucalyptus as a platform to seamlessly manage their public cloud and on-premise cloud applications, reaping cost advantages over proprietary cloud players. We caught up with Eucalyptus Systems' CTO Rich Wolski, one of the founders of the project, to get details on the company's plans

Jimmy Blake complains about a GMail outage in his Google Apps: Consumer SLAs for Enterprise Business post of 5/8/2009:

Google mail was down again this morning, with POP3 and IMAP4 (the route used by most business users) completely unavailable and the Web interface described as ‘patchy’.

This is the latest in a series of outages to hit Google, with an outage of several hours earlier this year in Feburary and another lasting a few hours in August 2008. …

Deciding to compete only on price means that you can’t invest properly in infrastructure, or the people to run it.  When your core business is advertising, how much attention can you lavish on a sideline project especially when you’re laying off a third of your workforce?

• WRAL.LocalTechWire reports Red Hat targets ‘cloud computing’ market, CEO says on 5/7/2009. The story quotes Jim Whitehurst:

In a speech at the Software Summit in San Francisco this week, Whitehurst said the world’s top Linux developer and services provider is positioned to exploit the market because of its open source roots. … "Other than Microsoft. I find it hard to believe many clouds are running anything other than Linux," he added.

Red Hat will host its own “Open Source Cloud Computing Forum,” on July 22. It will be a virtual conference. [Link added.]

Amazon Web Services announced in a 5/7/2009 e-mail message to AWS developers:

We're excited to let you know that we've added a new feature to Amazon CloudFront, AWS's easy-to-use, low-cost content delivery service: access logs. Access logs are activity records that show you details about every request delivered through Amazon CloudFront. We've heard that many customers wanted more information about how, when, where and to whom their content is being delivered, so we're happy to make this feature available starting today.

Amazon also announced a LogAnalyzer for Amazon CloudFront that runs Amazon Elastic MapReduce:

Using Amazon Elastic MapReduce and LogAnalyzer application you can generate usage reports containing total traffic volume, object popularity, a break down of traffic by client IPs and edge location. Reports are formatted as tab delimited text files, and delivered to the Amazon S3 bucket that you specify.

A sample application also is available.

David Linthicum reports IBM Taps Private Clouds to Change SOA on 5/6/2009 from the IBM Impact conference in Las Vegas:

[I]t's clear that IBM is banking on cloud computing, but not the public cloud computing that we've been talking so much about lately. IBM is focusing on the private cloud as a jumping off point to public clouds. Why? For one thing, they are not in the public cloud business as of yet. The best play for IBM in the emerging world of cloud computing is to drive changes in conventional data centers by creating private clouds. 

Obie Fernandez claims that Heroku's Provisionless Hosting for Rails Apps is Revolutionary in his 5/6/2009 InfoQ post. Obie says:

In response to changing demand, Heroku’s intelligent infrastructure can launch additional, fully-independent dynos at new locations in the grid, or shut down existing idle ones. Startup time for a new dyno is less than 2 seconds, a fact that gives Heroku’s platform an unprecedented level of dynamism.

Sounds like Azure’s approach to me.

Paul Miller’s Talking with Kristof Kloeckner about IBM and the Cloud post of 5/6/2009 describes a podcast with IBM’s head cloud honcho:

With an enterprise-friendly combination of hardware, software and professional services, IBM should be well placed to work with wary CxOs as they try to understand the extent to which Cloud Computing makes sense within their own business. Announcements earlier this year, as I said at the time, seemed geared toward building and sign-posting an easy on-ramp to the Cloud for those already comfortable with IBM and its products, but the indications were that IBM had bigger plans.


JamieT said...

Thanks for the link to Tweetpoll - much appreciated.

I'e experienced that Skydrive problem in the past - I've stopped using it to host JPGs that I intend to directly link to for this very reason.

Surely Azure Blob storage is a better option. Can BLOBs on Azure be made public? I confess I don't actually know!


--rj said...

Hi, Jamie,

Yup. You declare blobs public when you create their container: if (!blobContainer.DoesContainerExist())
blobContainer.CreateContainer(new NameValueCollection(), ContainerAccessControl.Public);