Saturday, July 04, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 6/29/2009+

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

Update 7/4 and 7/5/2009: Additions and updates
• Update 7/2 and 7/3/2009: Additions and updates

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

To use these links, click the post title to display the single article you want to navigate.

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

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My Direct Access to Windows Live SkyDrive Files Has Weird Inconsistencies post reports that I’ve given up using SkyDrive as the data source for my Azure Blob Test Harness and have moved to DropBox as the data source.

• Eric Lai’s No to SQL? Anti-database movement gains steam article of 7/1/2009 for ComputerWorld covers the NoSQL” Group’s 6/11/2009 meetup in San Francisco and asks “But can enterprises take open-source alternatives Hadoop, Voldemort seriously?” He concentrates on open-source key-value stores that compete with proprietary Amazon SimpleDB, Google AppEngine’s data store, and Azure Table Services.

Eric writes:

Facebook, for instance, created its Cassandra data store in-house to replace its use of MySQL. According to a presentation by Facebook engineer Avinash Lakshman (PDF document), Cassandra can write 50GB of data in 0.12 milliseconds, more than 2,500 times faster than MySQL. [Emphasis added.]

As pointed out in a comment to the article, “50GB” refers to the size of the database, not the size of the written data:

Graphic from Cassandra: Structured Storage System over a P2P Network
by Avinash Lakshman and Prashant Malik

• Justin & Jason offer on 7/1/2009 a techZING! 8 – Dude, Where’s My Database?! podcast described as:

Justin & Jason talk to Jonathan Ellis about how Facebook’s open sourced Cassandra Project took lessons learned from Amazon’s Dynamo and Google’s BigTable to tackle the difficult problem of building a highly scalable, always available, distributed data store. We also discuss how to join, get taken seriously and get commit access within an established and large open source project such as Cassandra.

• MG Siegler’s report of AppEngine’s “elevated Datastore latency and error-rates, as well as elevated serving error-rates” in his Google App Engine Broken For 4 Hours And Counting post of 7/2/2009 to TechCrunch is an interesting aside to the preceding item.

Brett’s last message (as of 11:30 AM PDT) in Google’s Google App Engine Downtime Notify thread reads:

Read-only mode continues. Elevated latency and error-rates persist for Datastore reads. Memcache writes have been reenabled to better soak read-only load. Our engineering teams are looking into the root cause of the problem. Will post more information as soon as it's available.

Update: Datastore writes were still disabled as of 12:05 PM PDT, making this a six-hour outage.

My Targeting Azure Storage cover story for Visual Studio Magazine’s July 2009 issue carries a “Learn how to store and retrieve binary large objects in the cloud with Azure's RESTful Storage API” deck.

Update 7/3/2009: You can download the article’s sample code from my SkyDrive account until the article’s Get Code Download target is updated. Click here. the Get Code Download link or run the sample blob project online at Problems with “not found” errors on SkyDrive have been fixed. See the updated Windows Azure Blob Test Harness Project is Live! post for details.

SQL Data Services (SDS)

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• Eric Lai’s No to SQL? Anti-database movement gains steam article of 7/1/2009 for ComputerWorld covers the NoSQL” Group’s 6/11/2009 meetup in San Francisco. Despite the reported scalability of key-value stores, Microsoft elected to re-implement SQL Data Services as a fully-relational implementation of “SQL Server in the cloud.” (See the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services for more detail.)

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

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My OakLeaf Systems Azure Table Services Test Harness with Windows® Live ID™ Authentication is available to all for testing as on 7/1/2009. You’ll need a Windows Live ID to open the Table Services Test Harness page:

For more details about the project, see my Problems Deploying a WebRole with Windows Live ID Authentication to the Azure Cloud post update 7/1/2009.

The .NET Services Team posted .NET Services July 2009 CTP Breaking Changes Announcement and Scheduled Maintenance on 6/30/2009. The July CTP will be posted on 7/2/2009. You must take the following action if you’ve implemented .NET Services’ queues, routers, or workflows:

Queues and Routers data will NOT be persisted and restored after the maintenance. Users will need to back up their data if they wish to restore them after the July 2009 CTP release. Please see below for detail.

As previously announced, the existing Workflow Service will be removed from .NET Services in the July 2009 CTP release. Any solutions that currently rely on the Workflow Services will have to be modified on or before 7/7/2009 9am PST in order to continue functioning smoothly. Existing solution Workflow Service metadata such as Workflow Type will also be deleted and cannot be retrieved after the July 2009 CTP release.

Vittorio Bertocci (a.k.a. Vibro) says I made you a token… but I eated it: or how to debug authentication issues in ASP.NET with SecurityTokenVisualizerControl in this 6/29/2009 post:

… Just drag the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl (STVC) on your page, you’ll obtain a fairly comprehensive view of what’s going on in your identity context in nice tabular format, collapsible in a tiny icon so that it does not interfere too much with the rest of the page. The STVC contains code that you would otherwise write yourself in 1, and at the same time it almost as exhaustive as if you’d explore the current context using 2: all this without leaving the browser. …

Matias Woloski briefly reviews the tool in his Drink the red token – debug your claims-aware apps post of 6/30/2009.

Vibro’s [VIDEO] Identity & Cloud Services post of 6/30/2009 is the video of his other session at the Belgian TechDays:

This session was part of the Architecture track, hence I took a mildly different, more abstract approach: I position Cloud computing as a trend (storytelling the famous parallel between last century’s electrification of the US and what may happen with Cloud services as we move toward a utility model), then talk about identity in general (same slides as the other session, slightly different angle) getting deeper in the underlying architectural patterns. Finally, I play a bit with the Access Control Service, using our MMC and a simple example for describing its inner workings.

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

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• Magnus’s Windows Azure + Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) = true post of 7/3/2009 is the first of a series of three about using MEF Preview 5 with .NET 3.5 under the MSPL license to:

[C]reate a Windows Azure project template that:

  • enables testability
  • abstracts away storage
  • is extensible and easy to evolve during development

This post is the first step – making the Windows Azure template and the Windowz Azure SDK testable!

My OakLeaf Systems Azure Table Services Test Harness with Windows® Live ID™ Authentication is available to all for testing as on 7/1/2009. See the .NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow section for more details. The blob data source has moved from SkyDrive to DropBox.

My Problems Deploying a WebRole with Windows Live ID Authentication to the Azure Cloud post of 6/29/2009 describes an issue with the StorageAccountInfo.GetConfigurationSetting() method not conforming to what IntelliSense says: “Gets a configuration setting from application settings in the Web.config or App.config file. When running in a hosted environment, configuration settings are read from .cscfg files.”

My tests show that the last sentence isn’t true and Microsoft’s Yi-Lun Luo confirms it in my How to Solve Problem Deploying a WebRole with Windows Live ID Authentication to the Azure Cloud? question of 6/29/2009 in the Windows Azure forum. When running in a hosted environment, configuration settings are read from the Web.config file if the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file doesn’t contain the requested setting value.

Lynn Kiesling writes in her Hohm, and cloud computing post of 6/29/2009:

Last week I wrote about Microsoft’s Hohm energy management product announcement. Yesterday at earth2tech, Katie Fehrenbacher elaborated on the cloud computing angle, and how Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service might change energy data storage, computing, and business models. Microsoft, Google, and others are all exploring cloud computing, for good reason.

Mary Jo Foley’s Microsoft seeks a name for its new Office Web Apps suite post of 6/30/2009 describes Microsoft’s forthcoming Office Web Applications suite, which consists of “Web-hosted Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote apps that it is expected to release to a wider group of testers in mid-July, as part of the Office 2010 Community Technology Preview.”

I assume that Windows Azure will host “Microsoft Ensemble” (or whatever name they choose).

Azure Infrastructure

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•• Lydia Leong chimes in on Independence Day with an analysis of Cloud computing adoption surveys:

A recent [US$1,995] Forrester survey apparently indicates that that one out of four large companies plan to use an external provider soon, or have already done so. (The Cloud Storage Strategy blog has a good round-up linking to the original report, a summary of the key points, and various commentators.)

She continues:

Gartner’s own [US$ 2,495] survey on this topic has just been published. It’s titled, “User Survey Analysis: Economic Pressures Drive Cost-Oriented Outsourcing, Worldwide, 2008-2009“. Among its many components is a breakdown of current and planned use of alternative delivery models (which include things like SaaS and IT infrastructure utilities) over the next 24 months. We show even higher current and planned adoption numbers than Forrester, with IaaS leading the pack in terms of current and near-term adoption, and very healthy numbers for SaaS as well.

“Lydia Leong is an analyst at Gartner, where she covers Web hosting, colocation, content delivery networks, cloud computing, and other Internet infrastructure services.”

M. West, C. Burns and B. Guptill coauthored Saugatuck Research’s User Cloud Infrastructure Expectations: Mainstream IT by 2011? research report of 7/1/2009:

Inspired by a broad lack of market understanding of the realities of Cloud Computing, Saugatuck recently conducted a web survey of user IT and business executives with research partner BusinessWeek Research Services. …

Reading more requires site registration here.

Sol E. Solomon reports Survey: Cloud computing hits big time in this 6/30/2009 article for ZDNet Asia:

The adoption of cloud computing is on the rise, with 50 percent of Global 2000 companies already deploying the infrastructure or are planning to do so within a year, a new study found.

In the survey of 104 Global 2000 companies conducted by AppLabs, 30 percent of respondents were already using the cloud, while 20 percent said they were looking to move their applications onto it within the next 12 months.

Sol’s post is considerably more upbeat than Saugatuck’s research report.

• Krishnan Subramanian writes in his Network Effects Will Lead to SaaS Vendor Lockin? post of 7/3/2009:

As people in US enter the long weekend of July 4th (independence day), we have something to ponder about the independence of SaaS users. Alistair Croll, writing on GigaOm, points us to the possibility of SaaS vendor lock-in as a result of network effects.

This is an interesting take worth pondering over this weekend. I thought I will throw in few questions on this topic and see if I can get some response.

• PRNewsWire reports CSC to Resell Cloud-Based Microsoft Online Services in this 7/1/2009 press release:

By providing enterprise clients with the Business Productivity Online Suite and CSC Trusted Cloud Services, CSC will offer a compelling choice of private cloud customer-managed and public cloud services combined with Microsoft Online Services. CSC, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, is one of the industry's leading consulting, systems integration and outsourcing providers and is one of a few Business Productivity Online Suite resellers. Working together globally, CSC and Microsoft Corp. expect to migrate millions of users to the Business Productivity Online Suite.

CSC will integrate Microsoft Online Services into its Trusted Cloud Services portfolio, which includes enterprise-class Cloud Orchestration Services, Trusted Cloud Services and World Class Consulting Capabilities.

• David Chappell is interviewed in Channel9’s ARCast.TV - Windows Azure, A conversation with David Chappell video (00:14:08) posted 6/29/2009. The abstract says:

What's the latest on Windows Azure and Microsoft's cloud platform? David Chappell discusses his perspective on this fast-changing area with Bob Familiar.

But the interview occurred in May at Tech*Ed 2009 North America, which is a bit early to call “the latest.”

Dana Blankenhorn posits With clouds license arguments become fog in this 7/2/2009 post and claims “When you are using a cloud software licenses don’t matter much.” Users paying for Windows 2003 Server and SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition instances on Amazon EC2 probably won’t agree with Dana’s conclusion. (see the Pricing section of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud running Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server.)

James Hamilton’s Microsoft Bringing 35 Megawatts on-line post of 6/30/2009 provides more detail and links about the Chicago data center.

Mary Jo Foley reports Microsoft to turn on Chicago, Dublin datacenters in July in this 6/29/2009 post to her “All About Microsoft” column. Mary Jo says:

… In January of this year, Microsoft reportedly was scaling back on its Chicago facility, as part of its overall cost-cutting moves. But according to a June 29 post to the ms datacenters blog, the Chicago facility will go live on July 20 and Dublin on July 1. …

Michael Stiefel’s Cloud Computing interview of 6/29/2009 on .NET Rocks talks “about the realities of Cloud Computing including offerings from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure.”

John Treadway posits Evolve or Perish - Cloud Computing and Enterprise Software in this 6/29/2009 post, which presents a potential adoption curve for cloud computing and claims:

The lesson of and RightNow in the SFA/CRM space should be extended to the rest of enterprise software.

Lydia Leong often hears “I’m thinking about using Amazon, IBM, or Rackspace…” in her role as a Gartner analyst. Her 6/29/2009 post mulls:

… Customers say things like, “I’ve got an e-commerce website that uses the following list of technologies. I get a lot more traffic around Mother’s Day and Christmas. Also, I run marketing campaigns, but I’m never sure how much additional traffic an advertisement will drive to my site.”

If you’re currently soaking in the cloud hype, you might quickly jump on that to say, “A perfect case for cloud!” and it could be, but then you get into other questions. Is maximum cost savings the most important budgetary aspect, or is predictability of the bill more important? When he has traffic spikes, are they gradual, giving him hours (or even days) to build up the necessary capacity, or are they sudden, requiring provisioning in close to real time as possible? …

David Linthicum sees “deja vu all over again” in his Bucking the Cloud Computing Hype post of 6/29/2009. He recalls:

Years ago I was running a large software development shop when the "offshoring" movement became all that and a bag of chips. I felt extreme pressure to fire some of my staff in the US and cut a deal with the dozens of outsourcing firms that were calling me daily. I was asked about offshoring so many times that it was clear to me that the pressure was on. …

… In many respects, similar things are going on today within the world of traditional enterprises when it comes to cloud computing. Many IT managers are being asked to move to the clouds, but when they take a close look at the business and technology issues, it's clear to some that the options are not currently right for them. …

Ed Sim’s Enterprise-Based Applications in the Cloud Are Next post of 6/29/2009, a “VC Viewpoint on Cloud Computing” ledes with:

One thing is pretty clear to me from an investment perspective. I am not going to invest in the next hot cloud computing infrastructure service that will compete against Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft, and every other large tech vendor in the world. This is suicide and far from capital efficient. …

He concludes:

… As I dig deeper into some of these companies, it is clear to me that software purpose-built from the ground up to live in a cloud has a huge advantage since it is hard to retrofit off-the-shelf software to leverage all of the benefits offered by Amazon, Rackspace, and the like. Secondly, many of the better companies have built some slick tools and services to solve difficult problems like how to make customers feel like they have their own privated, dedicated systems while still keeping costs low.  Finally, from a go-to-market perspective, a number of the companies I have spoken with have not gotten the question of whether or not they could scale as they quickly point to their backend provider and move to the next objection. So, if you have an application targeted at the SMB market that is taking advantage of cloud economics, please feel free to contact me.

Ed writes the "Beyond VC" Blog.

Andrea DiMaio applies on 6/29/2009 the If You Torture The Data Enough, They Will Confess Anything test to Casey Coleman’s latest post, in which “she mentioned Vivek Kundra’s vision of government ‘open by default’, i.e. data from federal agencies should be published and publicly available, unless privacy and security considerations prevent from doing so.

Cloud Security and Governance

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 Sumner Lemon’s RSA's Coviello: Cloud computing not secure enough of 7/3/2009 begins:

Cloud-based services are being rolled out without enough attention being paid to securing these services and the information they handle. That was the finding of a recent study commissioned by RSA Security.

While the report's findings are alarming, there is still time for providers of these services to address the problem, said Art Coviello, executive vice president at EMC and president of RSA Security. The key is to look at security as an integral part of the service and not as an add-on feature, he said.

And continues with a detailed Q & A session.

Erika Morphy begins her The Cloud's Growing SLA Ecosystem post of 7/3/2009 with:

It hasn't taken long for cloud computing to ramp up for prime time. Now that many companies have gotten over their initial reservations and are flocking to the cloud model, the question of what can and should go into a service level agreement is front and center.

It’s ironic that she continues:

It's been four months since Google … announced it would … guarantee 99.9 percent system accessibility for users of its Google Apps Premier Edition -- a cloud-based productivity suite of business-oriented messaging and collaboration apps, including integration capabilities and support.

After Google’s Datastore suffered a ~6-hour outage on 7/2/2009. 99.9% accessibility over a month allows only 30 * 24 * .001 = 0.72 hours = 43.2 minutes of downtime. (See the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services section for more outage details.)’s PCI compliance guide: A resource for solution providers of 6/29/2009 is a compilation of “PCI DSS-related content to be used as a PCI resource to keep you up to date and better equipped to help your customers become compliant.”

Craig Balding’s Vulnerability Scanning and Clouds: An Attempt to Move the Dialog On… post of 6/28/2009 deals with Terms of Service issues over network scans:

Much has been said about public IaaS providers that expressly forbid customers from running network scans against their cloud hosted infrastructure.  Failure to comply with the Terms of Service can result in account suspension or termination (ouch!).  This post is my attempt to suggest a way forward.  I welcome your feedback…

As has been noted before, a blanket ban on legitimate scanning activity by customers of their own infrastructure (whether outsourced or not) undermines security assurance processes and can make regulatory compliance impossible; e.g. PCI DSS mandates network vulnerability scanning as a control. … [Emphasis Craig’s.]

Cloud Computing Events

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•• David Pallmann’s Azure User Group Meeting in San Diego 7/09/09 on MEBAs and SaaS post of 7/5/2009 says:

The topic for this month's Azure User Group meeting is Multi-Enterprise Business Applications (MEBAs), a new class of applications the cloud is ideally suited for. We'll also look at SaaS considerations and weigh single-tenant vs. multi-tenant approaches. Hope to see you there!

When: 7/9/2009 6:00 PM PDT 
Where: AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Dr #100, San Diego, CA 92130

•• Lauren Twele reports Forrester Enterprise Cloud Webcast on July 23rd! in a LinkedIn Discussion on the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum:

With the rapid rise in adoption of SaaS and the Cloud enterprises are wondering how the cloud affects IT’s role, how it will change IT infrastructures and how to integrate internal IT with externally provided cloud services. Understanding the key issues, challenges and trends surrounding cloud computing will enable businesses to devise a strategy for integrating their enterprise with the Cloud.

The Webinar will cover:

  • Explanation of cloud computing and how it relates to SaaS
  • The key issues, challenges, and surprises with cloud computing for enterprises
  • How does cloud offerings such as compute, storage, or platform-as-a-service fits into your future
  • Recommendations to integrate internal IT with externally provided cloud services 
  • Security and risk barriers to cloud adoption and how to overcome [them]

Register here.

When: 7/23/2009 10:00 AM PDT 
Where: Internet Webinar

VIBEvents presents the online Cloud Adoption Arena virtual event from London on 10/20 to 10/21/2009. The organizers describe the event as:

VIBevents are delighted to be launching the industry’s first international virtual cloud adoption event which will bring together the leading CIOs, IT Directors and Cloud Experts to share insights on overcoming the risks and reaping the rewards of migrating to the cloud.

The expert speaker line up at the Cloud Adoption Arena will guide you through everything you need to know to fully understand the opportunities of cloud computing for your business. Attending this event will enable you to overcome uncertainty, mitigate risk and successfully add capacity and service on demand…. All from the comfort of your own computer!
With end-user case studies and conference tracks designed specifically for Start-ups, SME’S, Enterprises and the Public Sector; this virtual event must not be missed.

When: 10/20 to 10/21/2009 
Where: The Internet (virtually from London UK) 

• Kevin Jackson’s OMG Cloud Standards Summit post of 7/2/2009 reports that the Object Management Group will hold a Standards in Government & NGO's Workshop on 7/13 to 7/15/ 2009 at the Westin Arlington Gateway, Arlington, VA. The Cloud Computing Standards Summit on 7/13/2009 will focus on cloud computing standards for government clouds. Check Kevin’s post for the list of “usual suspect” participants.

When: 7/13 to 7/15/2009 
Where: Westin Arlington Gateway, Arlington, VA USA

• SYS-CON has extended the deadline for submitting papers to its 4th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo to be held 11/2 to 11/4/2009 in Santa Clara, CA, according to this Call for Papers Deadline July 15th, 2009 post.

When: 11/2 to 11/4/2009 
Where: Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA USA

Maarten Balliauw, Kurt Claeys and Yves Goeleven are starting Azure User Group Belgium (or AZUG.BE):

AZUG.BE is a Belgian user group with focus on development and architecture of the Microsoft Azure Services Platform. Azure is a cloud hosted development platform for internet oriented applications aimed at high scalability and based on .NET technology.


Our goal is to share knowledge and experiences with the .NET community in development and architecture in the Azure Services Platform and the .NET Services technology. As new programming skills and a new architectural approach are needed we are inviting you to become member of this user group to prepare you for building this new style of applications. …

First public meeting is planned in September 2009.

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

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• John from CloudBzz claims Unisys [has] A Clear Vision for the Cloud in this 7/2/2009 post:

Following Unisys’ announcement on Wednesday regarding their cloud computing strategy (Unisys Moves to Break Through Barriers to Adoption of Cloud Computing) I had the opportunity to speak with Rich Marcello, president of Unisys Systems & Technology, and Sam Gross, VP of Unisys Global IT Outsourcing Solutions. What struck me was the coherence and clarity of their cloud computing vision as compared to HP or IBM. …

• Reuven Cohen’s IBM Cloud Computing Use Cases Group Releases Draft White Paper post of 7/2/2009 begins:

IBM's experiment with group authorship for Cloud Computing interoperability is starting to pay off. Earlier today, Doug Tidwell posted the first draft of a Cloud Computing Use Cases White Paper produced extensively via a new Google group created to help define the various use case requires. The white paper was also released under a Creative Commons License with the intention of remixing for use within other white papers and marketing materials.

In an email by Tidwell he said everything in the paper comes from the comments posted on the Google group. But also admits there are several areas that need a lot more discussion.

The introduction of the whitepaper states that it utilizes existing customer based scenarios with the goal of highlighting the capabilities and requirements that need to be standardized in a Cloud environment to ensure interoperability, ease of integration and also portability. It strives to ensure that cloud computing evolves as an open environment, minimizing vendor lock-in and increasing customer choice.

• John Foley analyzes the The Canonical-Eucalyptus Private Cloud Combo for InformationWeek on 7/2/2009:

A few months ago, Canonical and Eucalyptus Systems aligned their product development to create an integrated cloud-software-on-Ubuntu-Linux stack. The startups are now collaborating on service and support, giving IT departments a new option for creating internal cloud computing environments.

The annual cost to support up to five physical servers and 25 virtual Ubuntu servers is $4,750 for standard support (8 hours per day) and $17,500 for around-the-clock support. Beyond that, additional support is available for one physical server and ten virtual servers for $1,250 (8 hours/day) or $3,000 (24x7).

It remains to be seen if the preceding pricing is competitive.

• Ashley Tate’s Simple Savant - C# Interface to Amazon SimpleDB post of 3/18/2009 describes his “application that stores all structured data using Amazon's SimpleDB service.”

When I started creating the overall architecture I searched for recommendations on designing applications specifically for SimpleDB or similar services. I didn't find many tips, but I did find lots of complaints about the disadvantages of SimpleDB when compared to mature RDBS products. I also discovered the available .NET interfaces to SimpleDB were fairly low-level and didn't put much effort into overcoming these inherent deficiencies.

His New Simple Savant Release of 4/16/2009 “brings the library up to date with the latest Amazon SimpleDB features and also completes the baseline feature set.”

The new release adds support for:

Sorry I missed this project when Ashley first announced it.

• Sean Michael Kerner reports “New commercial initiatives for cloud services will see both Red Hat and Ubuntu ramping up their competition” in his Linux Vendors Head to the Cloud in Search of Cash post of 7/2/2009:

This week, two of the largest Linux vendors each announced new initiatives to provide commercial services for cloud customers.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is launching a new cloud certification program, while Canonical, the lead commercial vendor behind Ubuntu Linux, is launching paid support services for its cloud offerings.

Both efforts have the potential to help the Linux vendors generate revenues from the cloud as enterprise adoption of cloud technologies mount.

• Geva Perry’s Ruby Developers: The Cloud Generation post of 6/20/2009 notes the yearly increase in use of Ruby and observes:

… To cloud computing there is a special significance in the increased adoption of Ruby, because Ruby developers are the cloud generation. …

In a similar fashion, the Ruby community is essentially skipping traditionally on-premise installed software. The dominant model for RoR application deployment is cloud, with platforms such as Slicehost (now part of Rackspace Cloud), Engine Yard and Heroku. Cloud services such as New Relic, FiveRuns and Scout provide the de facto standard monitoring and management frameworks, and cloud-based GitHub is the standard code version and developer collaboration tool for the RoR generation. …

In the 2009 RailsConf, the two dominant vendors were Heroku and Engine Yard. Unlike some perceive these companies, they are not merely Rails hosting services -- they are the application platforms for Ruby, and they are on the cloud. …

Unisys announces its entry into the cloud computing fray with its Unisys & Cloud Computing: Breaking Through Barriers to Adoption press release of 7/1/2009 that claims its:

New strategy combines innovative security with suite of solutions to expand options for delivery of services in the cloud

Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) yesterday moved to overcome CIOs’ concerns about security of data in the cloud, cited by organizations and industry analysts as the top impediment to adopting cloud computing for business needs.

and offers "The Perfect Storm for Enterprise-Class Clouds” whitepaper for download.

Timothy Prickett Morgan’s Unisys to build its own stealthy cloud post of 7/1/2009 to The Register continues with “And it wants to build yours, too:”

Unisys may have not taken over the world as either a system maker or an outsourcer, but it's a player in both markets and it doesn't want the move to cloud computing to leave it behind.

That's why Unisys is dedicating an 800-person consulting team - about three percent of its 27,700-person global workforce - to a cloud-computing consulting practice. And the company is going to hang out its shingle as cloud utility as well as offering to run hybrid clouds that are a mix of internal clouds running at companies and the Unisys Secure Cloud.

Rob Barry reports Salesforce unfazed by Oracle competition in cloud computing in this 7/1/2009 post to

"We think we can be very competitive against," [Larry] Ellison said in a widely reported conversation. "Virtually every time we compete with them on large deals and with large customers, we win and, in some cases, replace them."

Bruce Francis,'s VP of corporate strategy, calmly dismisses such assertions.

"I think that Oracle is saying, 'It's the end of software' is great for cloud computing," Francis said. "Every time Oracle says cloud computing is the way to go, it brings us more deals."

Dana Gardner’s Oracle closes in on 'any'-ware with debut of middleware behemoth 11g suites family post of 7/1/2009 to ZDNet’s BriefingsDirect blog describes Larry Ellison’s new SOA offering:

After nearly a 20-month gestation period, Oracle today announced the arrival this month of the next generation of its sprawling middleware family, the long-anticipated Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g.

Billed as a “complete, integrated, and hot-pluggable” middleware set of suites, the new software infrastructure offerings, which the Redwood Shores, Calif. computer giant previewed in November 2007, bolsters functionality, integration and business intelligence (BI) benefits across its vast product portfolio, including new capabilities for Oracle SOA Suite, WebLogic Suite, Web Center Suite, and opening debut for Identity Management as a suite.

Stacey Higginbotham reports for GigaOm from Cisco Live on 6/30/2009: Cisco Launches Services, Shows Off Its Hit List:

Cisco today outlined its plans for delivering IT services over the web (aka cloud services), and as part of a conference call, showed off a great slide that illustrates exactly how many companies this former networking gear maker wants to take on. If I were to boil it all down, I’d say the company’s cloud strategy relies heavily on its hardware to make its WebEx-branded collaboration software run economically. Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s CTO, said the company sees the cloud as having four layers, with the bottommost layer being the hardware infrastructure provided by Cisco’s new servers. The top three are the more traditional infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, platforms as a service and software as a service. …

Ignacio M. Llorente describes a “New Discussion Group on Enhancing Grid and HPC with Cloud Computing” in his High Performance and Grid Computing in the Cloud post of 6/30/2009.

Jo Maitland reports Google opens up on App Engine in this 6/29/2009 post to

Google launched App Engine in April 2008 for Web developers to build applications and host them on its internal infrastructure. It claims there are thousands of developers using the service, which competes with Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Does this mean Google wants to be in the software development game or the web hosting business? What's the company's vision for App Engine, and where does it fit in the cloud computing landscape? caught up with Mike Repass, product manager for Google App Engine, during a recent trip to California.

Jo continues with a Q&A session:

Google App Engine product manager Mike Repass discusses competition with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, along with Google's vision for its cloud development platform.

Rich Miller’s Andreessen-backed Startup Targets Cloud post of 6/29/2009 reports:

A new cloud computing startup funded and advised by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz plans to help enterprise companies deploy and manage applications in the cloud. webappVM is a Redwood City company building a “self-monitoring application cloud” for web applications that will provide enterprise-style app management capabilities to public and private clouds. The company is backed Shasta Ventures and Sierra Ventures as well as Andreessen and Horowitz, who recently raised $300 million to fund early-stage investments. …

Krishnan Subramanian questions if Sun [is] Rethinking Its Cloud Strategy? in this 6/29/2009 post about the affect on Sun’s plans for Open Federated Clouds after Oracle completes its acquisition. Krishnan concludes:

… I could see why Sun is interested in the Private Cloud market but I feel that any such move has the potential to hit them bad on a long term. A public Cloud, as envisioned by Sun, will be good for the marketplace and this dilly dallying doesn't bode well. Even though they deny that this shift has anything to do with Oracle, it is hard to believe it knowing what Larry thinks about the idea of Cloud Computing. I just hope that Sun will come forward and talk to the community about their Cloud Computing strategy.

William Herley asks Will Larry Ellison eat his words on cloud computing? in his 6/29/2009 post to InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing section: “Analysts are speculating that Oracle's chief is reconsidering cloud computing, but I suspect it's just more of his infamous bash-to-embrace technique.”

Jason Carolan and Steve Gaede authored Sun Microsystems’ Cloud Computing Infrastructure and Architecture white paper dated 6/29/2009:

Understanding the various models and the on-demand, self-service, pay-by-use nature of cloud computing is important for any enterprise interested in exploring this new aspect of computing. The white paper not only explains the general concepts of the public, private and hybrid clouds, it also provides examples of organizations who have chosen one type of model or another and how it was implemented to meet their particular needs.

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