Sunday, November 15, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 11/9/2009+

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

Update 11/15/2009: Neil MacKenzie: Overviews of new Azure Storage Client v1.0 and Azure Storage v1.0 Queue features; Eugenio Pace: Claims based Identity Guide; James Hamilton: Randy Shroup & John Ousterhout Sessions at HPTS 2009; and Me: SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP Sample Databases and Feature Pack; and many others.

Update 11/14/2009: Jim Nakashima: Azure SDK and Tools 11/2009 CTP; .NET Services Team: .NET Services November 2009 CTP QFE Breaking Changes Announcement; Geva Perry: Application Lifecycle in the Cloud; MWD Advisors: Advisory service with global survey of  Cloud Computing; David Gristwood: Free Windows Azure Fasttrack Architecture Review for [UK] partners; and more.

• Update 11/13/2009: Jim Nakashima: Windows Azure ROI tool; Brent Ozar: Getting Started with SQL Azure and SSMS; Chris Hoff: The PaaSification of Cloud Computing; John Considine: Moving to the Cloud; Amazon Web Services: 11/12/2009 Newsletter; Reuven Cohen: The Role of the CTO & CIO in Cloud Computing; Lori MacVittie: Cloud, Standards, and Pants; Reuven Cohen: Is vendor lock-in a bad thing?; Michele Leroux Bustamante: Claims-Based Authorization with Windows Identity Foundation; and several others.

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

To use the above links, first click the post’s title to display the single article you want to navigate.

Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform published 9/21/2009. Order today from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (in stock.)

Read the detailed TOC here (PDF) and download the sample code here.

Discuss the book on its WROX P2P Forum.

See a short-form TOC, get links to live Azure sample projects, and read a detailed TOC of electronic-only chapters 12 and 13 here.

Wrox’s Web site manager posted on 9/29/2009 a lengthy excerpt from Chapter 4, “Scaling Azure Table and Blob Storage” here.

You can now download and save the following two online-only chapters in Microsoft Office Word 2003 *.doc format by FTP:

  • Chapter 12: “Managing SQL Azure Accounts, Databases, and DataHubs*”
  • Chapter 13: “Exploiting SQL Azure Database's Relational Features”

HTTP downloads of the two chapters are available from the book's Code Download page.
* Content for managing DataHubs will be added when Microsoft releases a CTP of the technology

Off-Topic: OakLeaf Blog Joins Technorati’s “Top 100 InfoTech” List on 10/24/2009

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Neil MacKenzie delivers an overview of StorageClient’s November 2009 CTP in his Azure Storage Client v1.0 post of 11/15/2009:

The November 2009 v1.0 release of theWindows Azure SDK and Tools introduced a completely revamped StorageClient API which is now an integral part of the Azure release instead of being just a sample as before. The StorageClient API includes about 70 classes spread over 3 namespaces:


The storage client functionality is contained in Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.dll. This functionality is exposed through about 70 classes spread over 3 namespaces:

The Microsoft.WindowsAzure namespace provides storage account functionality. The Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient namespace provides the key storage client functionality. The Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.Protocol class appears to provide low-level functionality related to the actual REST calls to the Azure Storage Service and is not covered in this post.

Microsoft.WindowsAzure Namespace

The Microsoft.WindowsAzure namespace comprises classes related to storage accounts and credentials:

CloudStorageAccount exposes account and key information and is able to parse the configuration file to retrieve this information. StorageCredentials is an abstract base class for StorageCredentialsAccountAndKey, supporting shared key credentials,  and StorageCredentialsSharedAccessSignature used to create shared access signatures for blobs. …

Neil’s Azure Storage v1.0 – Queues post of the same date describes what’s new in Azure Queues:

Azure Queues provided a convenient and simple section to investigate in the new Azure Storage Client v1.0. The funtionality is provided in three classes:

The CloudQueue class represents a Windows Azure queue. The CloudQueueClient class provides access to the Azure Queue service – and I’m not really convinced yet that the class is well named. The CloudQueueMessage class represents a queue message. …


The CloudQueue class has many members allowing operations including: create queue, delete queue, add message, get message, delete message, peek message, etc. These all come in both synchronous and asynchronous form. …


The CloudQueueMessage class has the following members supporting the creation of and access to messages. …

A CloudQueueMessage instance can be created with a message content that is either a String or a Byte array. In both cases, the message content will be Base64 encoded before the message is sent to the Queue Service.

Note that PopReceipt is null for a CloudQueueMessage object created in response to CloudQueue.PeekMessage() or one of its variations. This is the correct behavior. However, an attempt to delete this message from the queue using CloudQueue.DeleteMessage() leads to a PopReceipt is null error rather than a more direct expression of the problem.

• John Willis includes a link to his “Big Data Defined” NoSQLEast 09 Keynote video in this 11/12/2009 post. NoSQL(East) was held on 10/29 through 10/30/2009 in conjunction with Cloud Camp Atlanta II (2009). The Speakers page has links to videos and slides from many sessions.

Steven Bink reported i365 to provide cloud storage for Microsoft DPM 2010 on 11/10/2009:

In conjunction with the beta release of Microsoft's System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010, Seagate's software company, i365, has entered into a partnership to provide cloud-based data protection for DPM 2010.

The companies are currently developing a combined offering that will integrate i365's EVault data protection software and cloud-connected storage infrastructure with DPM 2010. The first configuration will include an appliance-based backup solution, which is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2010 with the release to manufacturing of DPM 2010.

The joint products will offer SMBs data protection for Windows file servers and applications, and other platforms and applications, including UNIX, Linux, Novell Netware, VMware, IBM i and Oracle, according to George Hoenig, i365's vice president of product operations. …

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

Me: A special release of the AdventureWorks sample databases (updated 11/11/2009) is required for use with SQL Server 2008 R2 November 2009 CTP. It’s available from CodePlex at AdventureWorks 2008R2 November CTP. Here’s a screen capture during the installation process:

This installer appears (to me) to solve the problems reported by users of earlier versions (including me).

The Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 November Community Technology Preview Feature Pack of 11/11/2009 is “a collection of stand-alone packages which provide additional value for SQL Server 2008 R2.” Following is a list of the 20 items available for individual download:

  1. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Report Builder 3.0
  2. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services November CTP Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Technologies 2010
  3. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services November CTP Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Technologies 2007
  4. Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 Beta 2
  5. Microsoft SQL Server JDBC Driver 2.0
  6. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 System CLR Types
  7. SQL Server 2008 R2 Remote Blob Store
  8. SQL Server 2008 R2 Books On-line
  9. SQL Server 2008 R2 Upgrade Advisor
  10. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Native Client
  11. Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0 SP 1
  12. Microsoft OLEDB Provider for DB2
  13. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Command Line Utilities
  14. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Broker External Activator
  15. Microsoft Windows PowerShell Extensions for SQL Server 2008 R2
  16. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Objects
  17. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 ADOMD.NET
  18. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services OLE DB Provider
  19. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Management Objects
  20. Microsoft SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1

Most items have X86, X64, and IA64 packages and some appear to duplicate items installed by SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP.

Gabriele Bozzi’s Why I think Amazon RDS is not hitting MS Azure under the belt post of 10/30/2009, which I missed when published, even-handedly analyzes competition between Amazon Web Services’ RDS and SQL Azure:

… Amazon needs to evolve their IaaS platform towards PaaS. Why? Basically for three reasons:

  • IaaS  as a business is a transitory phase of Cloud Computing, it will be killed by hybrid systems (meshes of private and public clouds).
  • Gone are the times when EC2, S3 and friends were just exceeding computing capacity sold at affordable prices because subsidized by the flourishing Amazon commerce. AWS is experiencing a skyrocketing growth that imposes new investments and increases risk: moving towards managed services makes sense as it brings in added value customers and more money for the bang.
  • PaaS generates user lock-in. Microsoft understood this since the very beginning of their endeavor, the others are realizing this now.

I might seem provocative but, under a deeper scrutiny, Amazon is trailing in the race of providing PaaS.

Don’t get me wrong: Amazon’s Cloud is good, probably the best around, it just lacks the tremendous spin that the .NET community will be able to show off once Azure is released. Nonetheless,  Amazon will surely narrow the gap and it will be interesting seeing how Microsoft and Amazon will confront each other in 2010. …

Alex Handy discusses application development with cloud-based relational and entity-attribute-value (EAV) databases in his Databases take a step forward article of 11/15/2009 for SD Times:

… Developing cloud applications on top of virtually hosted databases has created an entirely new set of problems for developers. Database optimization has become an art form, usually the domain of the DBA. But with cloud-hosted databases, such as Amazon's SimpleDB and Microsoft's forthcoming cloud-hosted version of Microsoft SQL Server, the information typically used to judge the usefulness of optimization actions is no longer living in the logs of a company's servers. [Emphasis added.]

The relational database is still vitally important, but there are green shoots abound in the world of non-relational databases. The necessity of speed and scalability in the cloud has spawned dozens of new projects, commercial and otherwise. Projects like CouchDB, Drizzle, MongoDB and Tokyo Cabinet all tackle specific areas of need in modern development environments.

The biggest reason for the move to amorphous blobs of unformatted data is, perhaps, sheer exhaustion. For years, much of enterprise software development has been preoccupied with integrating data, formatting it properly, moving it between databases and preparing it for processing. With new systems like Hadoop adding facilities for normalizing and crunching data in general, the need to build individual data connectors would seem to be destined for the scrap heap.

Of course, clouds also imply scaling, and scaling databases is still not an easy proposition. Thus the need for large key value stores, like Tokyo Cabinet, that focus on this singular task and eliminate the need to run a database with oodles of unneeded features. Pure key value stores lack the potential for SQL injection attacks, while amorphous blobs of data require little data normalization. …

Michael Otey’s SQL Server 2008 R2: 5 Cool New Features article from SQL Server Magazine’s October 2009 issue describes five of the “most important features you should watch for in SQL Server 2008 R2.”

• David Robinson reports the availablity of a new “What is SQL Azure Database” video, which gives a high-level overview of the service:

You can watch it here.

• Brent Ozar’s Getting Started with SQL Azure and SSMS post of 9/13/2009 provides an illustrated tutorial for using SQL Server Management Studio for SQL Server 2008 R2:

The latest build of SQL Server Management Studio for SQL 2008 R2 includes built-in support for SQL Azure.  The November CTP is still only a feature-complete preview, not a release candidate, so don’t go installing it willy-nilly on your production desktop.

Topics include:

    • Create an Azure database and get the connection string.
    • Open the SQL Azure Firewall
    • Open SQL Server Management Studio and Connect to SQL Azure
    • Poking Around in SQL Azure
    • Things That Don’t Work in Azure

David Robinson announced SQL Server Management Studio Support for SQL Azure!!! in an 11/10/2009 post to the SQL Azure Team blog:

Just a quick post to let you know that the long awaited build of SQL Server Management Studio with support for SQL Azure is available today for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and will be generally available for the rest of the world as of tomorrow. The download page can be found here. I will post a link to the tools only install when it becomes available tomorrow.

This support is included as part of the November CTP release of SQL Server 2008 R2. This release not only includes SQL Azure support from within SSMS but a wealth of other SQL Server 2008 specific features. Check out this blog entry for more.

In his SQL Server Management Studio R2 CTP download links post of 11/11/2009, Dave updates the preceding article as promised:

As promised, here are the download links for SSMS in 32bit and 64bit flavors. The full download of SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP can be found here. I’ll post some walkthroughs of SSMS in the coming days.

Dave is a Technical Editor for Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform.

Steve Clayton announced the availability of David Gristwood and Keith Burns’ 00:11:14 SQL Azure & SQL Server playing together video in this 11/9/2009 post:

A few weeks ago I was hounding the SQL Azure product team for a video that showed how SQL Server and SQL Azure could work together to bring the best of on-premises with the best of the cloud.  Little did I know that the answer lay pretty close to home with my buddy Keith Burns from our DPE group in the UK.

In this video, David Gristwood chats to Keith about the many SQL Server features will also work against data stored in the cloud, in SQL Azure.

The SQL Server Team’s Announcing the SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP post of 11/9/2009 summarizes the new features of SQL Server 2008 R2’s November 2009 CTP:

At the PASS Summit 2009 last week, Ted Kummert announced the soon-to-be-delivered November SQL Server 2008 R2 Comm Technology Preview. We’re happy to announce that it is available today for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and it will be available to the general public on November 11th.  Go to to get more information and to download!

The November CTP is “feature complete” so we encourage you to try out the new features in this CTP release which include:

  • Report Builder 3.0Support for Windows Server 2008 R2, including Hyper-V with Live Migration

  • Enhanced data compression with support for Unicode UCS-2
  • PowerPivot for Microsoft® Excel and Microsoft SharePoint Server *
  • Report Builder 3.0 with Report Part Gallery and new visualizations (sparklines, databars)
  • Master Data Services (MDS)

Enhancements to the capabilities delivered in the August CTP:

Application and Multi-Server Management

  • A Control Point Explorer in SQL Server Management Studio for central multi-instance and application utilization management.
  • Built-in wizards to help you quickly set up and enroll instances and Data-Tier Application components into central management.
  • Dashboard viewpoints for quick insight into application and instance utilization.
  • StreamInsight core technology engine for Complex Event Processing. …

*The PowerPivot downloads for Excel and SharePoint will be available soon.  Keep checking back here for an update.

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.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

••• Eugenio Pace’s Claims based Identity Guide – New release and PDC goodness post of 11/14/2009 announces:

New updated chapters & samples are posted on CodePlex. The samples are all updated for WIF RC and include new scenarios and technologies (e.g. web services with WCF and web sites with MVC).

If you are going to PDC, lot’s of interesting things are happening there. Of all things, you will have a chance to see (and speak) to the faces behind the blogs: Vittorio Bertocci, Matias Woloski, Keith Brown.

We have printed a limited amount of “preview” copies of the Guide. You can get them at Pluralsight’s (#441), patterns & practices and Identity booths.

Eugenio also recommends several PDC 2009 sessions about claims-based identity.

The .NET Services Team announced The .NET Services November 2009 CTP QFE Breaking Changes Announcement and Scheduled Maintenance on 11/11/2009 but it didn’t show up in my newsreader until today:

The .NET Services Team will release a QFE on 11/12/2009 (Thursday).  Users will have NO access to .NET Services Portal and .NET Services during the scheduled maintenance down time.  Please note that any Access Control Service data (i.e. rules, scopes, issuers, token policies) that customers have created will have to be manually restored by customers post this QFE release.

The team published what appears to be an updated version of the .NET Services SDK November 2009 SDK as Microsoft .NET Services SDK (Nov 2009 CTP) on 11/13/2009. The Release Notes contain the following topics:

    1. Prerequisites for using the November 2009 CTP.
    2. Breaking changes in the November 2009 CTP.
    3. Quota limits in the November 2009 CTP.
    4. Known issues in the November 2009 CTP.

(The release notes will be updated periodically. Check back for updates.)

For more details, see the .NET Services Developer Portal.

• Michele Leroux Bustamante’s Claims-Based Apps: Claims-Based Authorization with Windows Identity Foundation article for MSDN Magazine’s November 2009 issue carries this abstract:

Over the past few years, federated security models and claims-based access control have become increasingly popular. Platform tools in this area have also come a long way. Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) is a rich identity model framework designed for building claims-based applications and services and for supporting active and passive federated security scenarios.

• Zulfiqar Ahmed explains AD FS 2.0 in Identity Solutions: Using Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 in Identity Solutions in the November 2009 issue of MSDN Magazine:

This article explains how you can use Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0 to claims-enable Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services and browser-based applications. The focus is on the token issuance functionality in AD FS 2.0. You’ll find out how to use AD FS 2.0 as an identity provider; set up an AD FS 2.0 security token service (STS) to interact with WCF; federate AD FS 2.0 with your custom STS or another AD FS 2.0; enable Web single sign-on and federation with WS-Federation and SAML 2.0 protocols; and externalize authentication logic through Visual Studio. You’ll come away appreciating how AD FS 2.0 and Windows Identity Foundation make programming identity solutions in Windows less of a chore.

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Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

••• Rob O'Neill reports from Auckland, NZ that Intergen takes TicketDirect into the Azure cloud in this article of 11/16/2009 for Computerworld New Zealand, where it’s a day ahead: “Dunedin-based ticketing service a world leader in adopting cloud computing.”

When Microsoft's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) kicks of[f] in Los Angeles tomorrow, the company's new cloud platform, Azure, will be the centre of attention — and two Kiwi companies are poised to demonstrate how cloud computing can transform real businesses and deliver competitive advantage.

With the help of Microsoft partner and independent software vendor Intergen, Dunedin-based ticketing service TicketDirect is taking to the cloud to allow it to massively scale up its online services to manage even the largest of events.

TicketDirect has been poined to deploy on Azure for some time, but has had to wait for some of the pieces in development to arrive, says Intergen's director of strategy, Chris Auld. One of those key pices is the cloud version of Microsoft's SQL database, SQL Azure. [Emphasis added.]

Chris Auld is presenting PDC2009’s Architecting and Developing for Windows Azure workshop in Petree Hall C on Monday at 10:00 AM.

••• Charlie Calvert reports that he’s temporarily hosting three Videos: Azure Services in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 with Jim Nakashima, Part I:

This is the first of three videos showing how Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 provides support for the development and deployment of Azure Services applications. In these short How Do I Videos, I filmed Jim Nakashima as he demonstrated practical techniques for quickly deploying applications to the cloud. These videos will eventually be published in the How Do I section of the C# Dev Center. I’m hosting them here for now, so that they will be available in time for PDC.

Click the links below to download the videos to your local machine and view them at their native 1024 X 768 resolution.

Jim Nakashima’s November 2009 Release of the Windows Azure Tools and SDK post of 11/13/2009 complements the Cloud Computing Tools Team’s Windows Azure Tools and SDK v1.0 November 2009 Release post of the same date and time. Here’s the latter’s new feature catalog:

Today we released several new features for Windows Azure through the Windows Azure Tools and SDK.  (Use the direct link while the release propagates.) … This release add[s] support for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and VWD Express 2010 Beta 2.

What's new for the November release:

  • Service Model UI: A redesigned and significantly more complete interface for manipulating Role configuration information. To access, double-click on a role node in the Solution Explorer.
  • Additional role templates: Support for ASP.NET MVC 2 (2010 only), F# worker roles (2010 only), and WCF Service Application web roles.
  • Support for dynamically creating tables: The Create Tables functionality is now performed automatically; there is no longer a need to right-click and select Create Tables… on the project after your table definitions have changed.
  • Full support for and installation of the November Windows Azure SDK release:
    • The sample storage client has been replaced by a new production quality library.
    • New Diagnostics library enables logging using .NET APIs and enables the collection of diagnostic information from the service.
    • Service Runtime library updated to support inter-role communication and notification of configuration changes .
    • Support for input endpoints on Worker Roles.
    • Higher fidelity simulation of Development Storage: supports all current cloud storage features, including dynamically creating tables.
    • Ability to choose the size of the VM for a role instance.
    • Ability to persist data in local storage even after the role is recycled.
    • Ability to manage certificates to install to the role VMs.

Updated and additional code samples are available online [from the MSDN Code Gallery] at: The SDK documentation’s What's New In the Windows Azure SDK topic describes the new SDK features in more detail.

Windows Azure instances now scale up and out:

Variable-size Virtual Machines (VMs): Developers may now specify the size of the virtual machine to which they wish to deploy a role instance, based on the role's resource requirements. The size of the VM determines the number of CPU cores, the memory capacity, and the local file system size allocated to a running instance.

Thanks to @DavidBurela, here are the VM sizes, cores, memory and local file system size from the Configuring Virtual Machine Size topic:

VM Size

CPU Cores


Disk Space



1.7 GB

250 GB



3.5 GB

500 GB



7 GB

1000 GB



15 GB

2000 GB

To specify the VM size for your role, edit your service definition file, and set the vmsize attribute on the WebRole or WorkerRole element to Small, Medium, Large, or ExtraLarge. See Service Definition Schema for more information.

So far, I haven’t seen any information on pricing.

Geva Perry’s Application Lifecycle in the Cloud post of 11/12/2009 posits:

Cloud computing is having a profound effect on the software application lifecycle.

Almost every phase of creating and rolling out software applications is now addressed by a growing number of cloud services: from prototyping, to development, testing & QA, continuous integration  -- and all the way down to staging, deployment and post-production (monitoring and management). All of this can now be done in the cloud.

The vision is compelling. Imagine a world in which programmers can access their development environment from any computer without having to set up anything, collaborate with teams spread around the world, easily push the code to testing and QA, and then to production, where the apps will be automatically monitored and managed.

Although admittedly realizing this vision in full is several years away, we are already seeing many of the components emerging and gaining traction.

Geva goes on to cite examples in the following categories:

    • Development
    • Testing and QA
    • Deployment
    • Production

and discusses the “The Future of App Development.”

• John Moore analyzes a message of 11/12/2009 from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in his Blumenthal Beats HITECH Drum post of 11/13/2009:

Yesterday, David Blumenthal published a very thoughtful post on the HITECH Act as a foundation for information exchange in which he reflected on his own personal experience as a doctor.  That experience included the often frustrating realization that he could not obtain a complete longitudinal record of his patients (customers) due to either (or both) technical or business barriers.

In his post, Blumenthal goes on to elucidate on how the HITECH Act’s language is purposely worded to remove such barriers as the healthcare sector transitions from a provider-centric model to one that is patient (consumer) centric.

Following are our own reflections on Blumenthal’s post based on the reality of the market today and where Chilmark sees it heading in the future. Specifically, we’ll tackle each of Blumenthal’s bullet points in order. …

John continues with a video clip from Microsoft about the deployment of the Amalga Unified Intelligence System 2009 for the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (HIE) and concludes:

… Despite outlining what are seen as some fairly significant challenges to Blumenthal’s upbeat and positive post, like him, we share in the desire to move the proverbial ball forward and more importantly (what we really, really liked about his post) focus on the patient, the consumer, the citizen.  In the end, it is they who are footing the bill for this massive initiative to get doctors, clinics and hospitals wired-up. Therefore, is it not they that should ultimately benefit from the HITECH Act through better care, greater flexibility in physician choice and who knows, maybe even receive lower cost of care.  A tall order in deed but certainly one worth working towards. [Emphasis added.]

• John Bodkin’s Gartner seeing huge adoption of software-as-a-service post of 11/10/2009 to NetworkWorld’s Head in the Cloud blog claims “Market hits $7.5 billion in revenue in 2009.”

Customer interest in cloud-based software applications is soaring, with software-as-a-service revenues set to reach $7.5 billion in 2009 – an increase of nearly 18% over last year, according to new research from Gartner.

I don’t find the numbers too surprising – but the success of software-as-a-service is in stark contrast to many other portions of the recession-plagued IT industry.
Worldwide, software-as-a-service revenue will continue growing, totaling over $14 billion in enterprise application markets by 2013, according to Gartner.

“Adoption of the on-demand deployment model has continued to grow as on-demand vendors have extended their services through alliances, partner offerings, and more recently, by offering and promoting user application development through platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities,” Gartner analyst Sharon Mertz says in a press release. “Although usage and adoption is still evolving, deployment of SaaS still varies between the enterprise application markets and within specific market segments because of buyer demand and applicability of the solution.”

The biggest chunk of SaaS revenue is going to content, communications and collaborations applications, which are set to pull in $2.6 billion in revenue in 2009. Customer relationship management tools came in second with $2.3 billion. …

• Michael Jahn describes the relationships between Continuity of Care Document (CCD), Continuity of Care Record (CCR), Clinical Document Architecture (CDA), and Health Level 7 (HL7) standards in the Google Health Developers CCR and CCD thread of 11/9/2009 and later:

… Google Health supports a SMALL SUBSET of the CCR specification - Google
Health does not support anything related to CDA, CCD or HL7 - and one might
be thankful of that as it is quite complex and in the domain of EMR system
vendors who sell things starting at $250,000.00. …

Vaibhav Bhandari’s Understanding CCR post of 10/27/2009 describes HealthVault support for CCR:

Google Health supports only a limited set of entities from the above, while HealthVault supports the entire standard and also allows transformation of some of these entities in to native HealthVault types. You can read more about working with CCR in HealthVault and various input mappings, output mappings, and CCR vocabularies.

• Glenn Laffel, MD and Robert Rowley, MD posted the following articles about Electronic Health Records (EHR) to EHR Bloggers this week:

• Chris Hoff (@Beaker) proposes Silent Lucidity: IaaS — Already A Dinosaur? The Evolution of PaaSasaurus Rex… in this 11/12/2009 post:

Sitting in an impressive room at the Google campus in Mountain View last month, I asked the collective group of brainpower a slightly rhetorical question:

How much longer do you feel pure-play Infrastructure-As-A-Service will be a relevant service model within the spectrum of cloud services?

I couched the question with previous “incomplete thoughts*” relating to the move “up-stack” by IaaS providers — providing value-added, at-cost services to both differentiate and soften the market for what I call the “PaaSification” of the consumer.  I also highlighted the move “down-stack” by SaaS vendors building out platforms to support a broader ecosystem and value proposition.

In the long term, I think ultimately the trichotomy of the SPI model will dissolve thanks to commoditization and the need for providers to differentiate — even at mass scale.  We’ll ultimately just talk about service delivery and the platform(s) used to deliver them.  Infrastructure will enable these services, of course, but that’s not where the money will come from. …

• Jim Nakashima’s Windows Azure Platform TCO/ROI Analysis Tool post of 11/12/2009 describes an online Web-based worksheet application which “will provide you with a customized estimate of potential cost savings you (or your company or organization) may achieve by building on the Windows Azure Platform. Upon completion of the TCO and ROI Calculator profile analysis, you will be presented with a detailed report which shows estimated line item costs for an accurate TCO and a 1 to 3 year ROI analysis for you or your company or organization.”

Following is part of the Windows Azure Services page displaying default data for the initial response to questions posed on the Questionnaire page (click image for full-size screen capture):


Strangely, I specified that the application would use an SQL Server database, but the worksheet didn’t include a charge for SQL Azure Web or Business Edition.

Alinean, Inc. created the application, which you access here.

• Amazon Web ServicesNewsletter of 11/12/2009 announces:

AWS Software Development Kit (SDK) for .NET Now Available
The AWS SDK for .NET makes it even easier for Windows developers to build .NET applications that tap into the cost-effective, scalable, and reliable AWS infrastructure services such as Amazon S3, EC2, and SimpleDB. With the AWS SDK for .NET, developers get started in minutes with a single, downloadable package complete with Visual Studio project templates, the AWS .NET library, C# code samples, and documentation. Learn more about the AWS SDK for .NET.

David Linthicum delivers Application design guidelines for cloud computing in this 11/12/2009 post to InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing blog. He claims “Well-designed applications for use on cloud computing platforms will provide more value in the long run.”

During a move to cloud computing, people talk about porting applications to cloud computing providers such as Microsoft and GoGrid. They even build new applications in the clouds on platforms such as Google App Engine and Engine Yard, but they've yet to focus on good application design for use on cloud computing platforms. Perhaps it's time we all put some thought into this.

Thought leadership around application design/architecture for cloud computing typically centers on a particular cloud provider. While that's certainly important, there should be some provider-neutral general application design guidelines. Also, I assert that most of the best practices for designing and creating applications for cloud computing platforms are consistent with, well, good application design practices in general -- in other words, nothing radically different, even though it feels like it should be.

Dave elaborates on the following four guidelines:

    • Leverage a three-tiered architecture when possible.
    • Leverage a loosely coupled architecture.
    • Consider the chatter.
    • Avoid proprietary features.’s Jack Vaughn interviewed Dave in this Cloud computing and SOA with David Linthicum podcast of 11/13/2009 about his recently published Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise book.

Jim Nakashima’s Tips and Tricks for Visual Studio + Windows Azure at PDC ‘09 post of 11/10/2009 describes his PDC 2009 presentation of the same name:

The session will share a number of tips and tricks and show some cool new tools in Visual Studio for Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

The tips and tricks will be presented in the context of 2 walkthroughs:

  1. Creating a new cloud service application
  2. Migrating an existing ASP.NET Web Application to Windows Azure and SQL Azure

With this format I hope to make the session interesting and useful for developers that are new to Windows Azure as well as those who have been using Windows Azure for a while and want to learn some neat tricks and tips and some “under the hood” aspects of the tools.

Hope to see you there!  Wednesday at 1:30 PM in 515A

Here’s the abstract:

A platform is only as powerful as the tools that let you build applications for it. This session focuses on using demos, not slides, to show the best way to use Visual Studio 2010 to develop Windows Azure applications. Learn tips, tricks and solutions to common problems when creating or moving an existing application to run on Windows Azure. Come see how Visual Studio 2010 supports all parts of the development cycle as we show how to take an ASP.NET application running on IIS and make it a scalable cloud application running on Windows Azure.

The Windows Azure Team recently posted links to four new Azure Services Platform Virtual Labs:

Test drive Azure Services Platform solutions in a virtual lab and see how you can quickly and easily develop applications running in the cloud by using your existing skills with the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and the Microsoft .NET Framework. Virtual labs are simple, with no complex setup or installation required.

Azure Services Platform Virtual Labs: RSS Feed

You get a downloadable manual and a 90-minute block of time for each module. You can sign up for additional 90-minute blocks at any time.

Lee Messenger posted an MsWord file he found on Live Office as this Step By Step Guide To Creating A Simple Web Site On Windows Azure on 10/19/2009. (I missed it when published originally):

Now I’m not sure who actually did this tutorial, and would LOVE to credit them – But I was [G[G]oogling around and found this amazing tutorial stuck in a Word file on ‘Live Office’.  I thought it was a waste being tucked away, so would post it here for everyone to use?  If anyone knows who wrote this please let me know as I’ll give them all the credit here, as its a great tutorial!!

In this tutorial you will:

  1. Register for an Azure account
  2. Install the requisite Web services, SDK and software
  3. Claim your Azure token after the invitation code is received
  4. Create a Hosted Service in Azure
  5. Create a Visual Web Developer ASP.NET “cloud” project
  6. Create or use existing .aspx website files and folders
  7. Copy your created or existing .aspx website files and folders to the Azure WebRole
  8. Upload your project to the Hosted Service in Azure
  9. Stage the Web site on Azure
  10. Test the Web site on Azure
  11. Publish the staged project into production
  12. Accept and Deploy your project in the Azure “cloud”.

The tutorial is unusual because it’s fully illustrated with screen captures. Thanks to @IrishChieftan for the heads-up.

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

James Hamilton offers notes about sessions presented by Randy Shroup & John Ousterhout at HPTS 2009 in this 11/14/2009 post:

HPTS has always been one of my favorite workshops over the years. Margo Seltzer was the program chair this year and she and the program committee brought together one of the best programs ever. Earlier I posted my notes from Andy Bectolsheim’s session Andy Bechtolsheim at HPTS 2009 and his slides Technologies for Data Intensive Computing.

Two other sessions were particularly interesting and worth summarizing here. The first is a great talk on high-scale services lessons learned from Randy Shroup and a talk by John Ousterhout on RAMCloud a research project to completely eliminate the storage hierarchy and store everything in DRAM. …

• Reuven Cohen asks Is Vendor Lock-In Really a Bad Thing? in this 11/13/2009 post:

When you look at the success of some very proprietary solutions and the loyalty with which customers defend them, you have to wonder if vendor lock-in is really as bad a thing as we sometimes make it sound.


The subtext in the discussions around data portability and interoperability in general in cloud computing is really about vendor lock-in. Those driving efforts to come up with solutions that allow customers to pack up their data and head to another provider are primarily concerned about the dangers of being locked-in to a single vendor solution.

But given the loyalty to some brands and products that are unapologetically proprietary and inherently create a vendor lock-in situation, one has to wonder whether vendor lock-in is really a bad thing and if it is, for whom?

Take the iPhone. Really, you can take it because I don’t have one and don’t want one. But millions of people do and they are incredibly loyal to this proprietary device. Apple does not apologize at all for its business practices that support a locked-in user base, and it is unlikely that consumers even consider this to be a negative when purchasing an iPhone. Indeed, the proprietary nature of the iPhone is not what keeps me from purchasing one. …

Ruv claims The Future of The Cloud Belongs to Asia in this 11/12/2009 post.

• Lori MacVittie’s Cloud, Standards, and Pants post of 11/12/2009 posits:

These three things have a lot more in common than you might think and all three tend to evoke similar levels of frustration.

A very real problem women face when shopping is this: no two brands define a size the same. If you usually wear a size 8 in “Brand X” you might actually wear a size 10 or 6 in “Brand Y”, depending on how the brand decided to define its sizing. Customers, women in this case, cannot count on consistency in sizes across brands. This makes shopping annoying because every time you change brands you’re never quite sure what you need and if the size increases across brands, well, it becomes obvious that perhaps brand lock-in is in part the reasoning behind these differences in sizing.

Now, consider the differences in the definition of “The Cloud”. We have IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). We have PaaS (Platform as a Service). We have SaaS (Software as a Service). All three have very different definitions of what makes it “a cloud” and there is very little consistency across those definitions. Oh, there are vague similarities: elasticity, automation, easy provisioning. But those are nebulous terms that are about as useful as slapping a “Size 8” on a pair of jeans and expecting a woman to know what that means. She doesn’t, and neither does the consumer of “cloud.” …

• Reuven Cohen explains The Role of the CTO & CIO in Cloud Computing in this 11/13/2009 post and asks: "Does the CTO matter any more with the rise of Cloud Computing?"

Recently I asked a question on twitter, one I figured would stir up some debate. (Which was the point) The question was "Does the CTO matter any more with the rise of Cloud Computing or is it all about the CIO with data reigning supreme?"

As the founder of a cloud software company, I am the self imposed CTO. I have no formal CTO training other then a passion for emerging technology. In a company full of PHd's, I have probably the least technical credentials with no formal post secondary education. As a CTO I view my job as the technical leader. My job is to stay ahead of the curve, spotting trends or even sometimes helping to create the trends based on what I see as a continued evolution occurring in computing. In this new information driven world, ideas have become the new currency and in this, I see my role as not only the technical leader but also the creative leader. I continually try to educate myself on the various emerging technologies with an eye toward their practical implementation within either our cloud software platform or within our customers infrastructures.

• John Considine’s Moving to the Cloud: Managing your Environment post of 11/12/2009 is the second of five parts for his Moving to the Cloud series

One of the advantages of cloud computing is that someone else is managing the infrastructure – including the servers, network devices and storage systems, not to mention the data center power conditioning, cooling and fire suppression equipment.  One of the costs of offloading this infrastructure is that the cloud becomes something different and separate from your data center.  In most deployments today, the cloud is almost completely isolated from your data center, and this often requires changes in how you manage and interact with your applications.

So what does “management” mean in this context?  I look at it in terms of provisioning resources and managing the infrastructure, operating systems and applications.  Over the years a remarkable set of tools and processes has been developed to handle these tasks in the data center, and the challenge now is how you integrate all this investment with the new cloud deployments. …

John is founder and CTO of CloudSwitch.

David Linthicum’s Cloud computing: Why the 'elastic waistband' promise falls on deaf ears post of 11/11/2009 posits: “Providers make a big deal how the cloud can scale up and down as you need it, but most enterprises already have that capacity in-house -- and are looking for something else instead.”

I got a kick out of an eWeek article covering the recent fourth annual Cloud Computing Conference & Expo, which took place last week in Santa Clara, Calif. I mean specifically the comments by Jonathan Bryce, CTO and founder of Rackspace's cloud service, "who likened cloud computing to an elastic waistband."

Not to pick on Bryce, but perhaps speaking at a conference is not the best thing to do when it was just revealed that the Rackspace cloud suffered its third outage since June. While not making the big-time press like Gmail and Twitter downtimes, Rackspace is a cloud-based infrastructure provider that maintains a good deal of mission-critical public cloud computing resources.

"With the cloud, it's not just scaling up or out, but it's also scaling back down. Before clouds, you always had to buy more infrastructure than you needed; you could never buy just the right amount. That's what elasticity in waistbands and in the cloud is all about the right fit," Bryce said. …

That's a very apt example when considering that many of us are breaking out the stretchy pants for Thanksgiving. However, we could be overselling that benefit.

Dave goes on to stress the importance of down-scaling capabilities.

Lori MacVittie claims Virtualization Changes Application Deployment But Not Development in this 11/9/2009 post:

Cloud computing management functionality and standards are right now laser-focused on virtual machines, and most APIs include the ability to stop,start,launch,etc…at that level of the infrastructure. This is because the application is still insulated by its virtualized environment. The “depth” of management and standards efforts today stops at the hard shell of the virtualization layer and leaves the soft, chewy application center alone. This means nothing is really all that different for developers. But it could, and some might argue should, be different.

Ellen Rubin summarized last week’s Cloud Computing Expo in her  Reality Check at the Cloud Computing Expo article of 11/9/2009: “To a large extent, cloud computing is a victim of its own somewhat out-of-control hype cycle.”

The talk at the Cloud Computing Expo this week in Santa Clara was all about enterprise cloud adoption. Is it real? Is it already happening? If so, who’s doing it, which applications are they running and which clouds are being tested?

To a large extent, cloud computing is a victim of its own somewhat out-of-control hype cycle. Since so much has been written and discussed about the cloud in 2009, there is now a growing impatience for actual results. The fact that 2000 people showed up at the Cloud Expo in Santa Clara this week (double the number from last year’s show) suggests that at the very least, interest in enterprise cloud computing remains very real, and the need for practical solutions and use cases is growing more urgent.

There was a growing concensus about a number of issues:

  1. The hybrid model of on-prem[ises] data centers combined with the use of public clouds and cloud offerings from managed service providers is emerging as the new model for enterprise computing. Enterprise users would like to keep some applications behind the firewall (within an internal cloud or more traditional environment) and put others in the right cloud environment outside the data center.
  2. The first applications to move to the cloud are development and test environments, business continuity solutions (“poor man’s DR,” not full active-active scenarios) and web applications. These are more easily separable from other applications and infrastructure within the data center, and tend to be lower risk for moving off-prem.
  3. Major hurdles for enterprise cloud adoption remain the same as last year: security, loss of control, lack of integration with the enterprise data center and fear of cloud lock-in. The lock-in concerns have become more pointed as new cloud offerings come into the market beyond Amazon. (As an aside, Rackspace had a strong presence at the show, but surprisingly, Amazon, Terremark, Savvis, Microsoft and other providers were noticeably absent. Many Asian companies appear to be gearing up for new cloud offerings in 2010.) …

Ellen Rubin is the founder and VP for products at CloudSwitch.

Liz MacMillan’s Special Report on the Emerging Cloud Computing Trend post of 11/9/2009 claims “[Paul] McWilliams has displayed uncanny accuracy in predicting the ebb and flow of the markets this year.”

Next Inning Technology Research (, an online investment newsletter focused on semiconductor and technology stocks, announced it has published a special report on the emerging cloud computing trend covering companies including Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT). …

McWilliams covers these topics and more in his recent reports: How does "cloud computing," now the domain of companies like Google, have its roots in technology trends going back 40 years?

Andreas Bechtolsheim has published the slides for his Technologies for Data-Intensive Computing session at HPTS 2009. If you’re interested in the future of data center hardware, don’t miss his prognostications for 2012 and later. (Thanks to James Hamilton for his heads-up of 11/12/2009).

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Cloud Security and Governance

••• Vinnie Mirchandani takes on The Economist’s “Cloud Computing Can't Be Entirely Trusted” debate in his The Economist Debate on Cloud Computing post of 11/14/2009:

The magazine is running a debate on cloud computing between Marc Benioff, CEO of and Stephen Elop, President, Microsoft Business Division. …

I commented as follows: “How do you recover from someone saying “Have you quit beating your spouse?” Say yes, and you acknowledge you did it in the past. Say no, and it implies you are still doing it.

The title of this debate is similar. “Cloud Computing Can't Be Entirely Trusted” You put it at a disadvantage with a negative connotation then expect it to defend it on why it should be trusted.

Vinnie continues with a litany of thanks to the incumbent (premises) hardware vendors for the disservices they deliver and …

••• Phil Wainwright seconds Vinnie’s motion in his Can the Economist entirely be trusted? post of 11/15/2009 to ZDNet’s Software as Services blog:

I think a publication with the renowned integrity and impartiality of The Economist would have the sense to put its hand on its heart and say, ‘We try our best and we’re the best there is, but no, you can’t entirely trust any source.’ But if it were put in a position of asserting its trustworthiness against alternative publications it would surely have no choice but to speak out with a resounding voice in its own favor.

Thus I ask all my readers to vote a resounding ‘no’ to the proposition in the current Economist Debate, “This house believes that the cloud can’t be entirely trusted.” I’ve written here about many of the pitfalls to be avoided in the cloud, as with any computing platform, but the alternatives to a good cloud provider are far too flaky to be worth considering.

As fellow Enterprise Irregular Vinnie Mirchandani recently posted to the debate (and to his own blog), “the incumbent, on-premise establishment … can overprice, under-deliver, cause massive overruns, suck out 80% of our IT budgets for routine work — but we need to keep trusting them.” It is no surprise that the heritage of buggy, unproven and unwarrantied software that businesses and individuals have been saddled with by the established vendors over many years has led us to instinctively mistrust any computing that forces us to rely on a third party. …

MWD Advisors announced a New MWD advisory service launches with global survey of IT architects on Cloud Computing on 11/10/2009 with the following headlines:

    • 54% of respondents highlighted that their organisations are already investing in Cloud Computing, or are planning to planning to invest at some point in the coming year.
    • 61% of those with current investments are investing to support IT development and testing work.
    • Despite market immaturity, 22% of those with current investments already report receiving ROI.
    • Proven ability to scale and support for standards are top supplier selection concerns.

• Amazon Web ServicesNewsletter of 11/12/2009 announces:

AWS Completes SAS70 Audit
Amazon Web Services has successfully completed a Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS70) Type II Audit, and has obtained a favorable unbiased opinion from its independent auditors. SAS70 certifies that AWS has had an in-depth audit of its controls, specifically as it relates to operational performance and security to safeguard customer data. We have updated our security overview whitepaper to reflect the results of our SAS70 Audit, as well as other additions. You can download the whitepaper at the AWS Security Center.

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Cloud Computing Events

David Gristwood announced Free Windows Azure Fasttrack Architecture Review for [UK]partners on 11/5/2009:

Our team - the Microsoft Developer and Platform Group - are offering a limited number free half day Fasttrack Architectural / developer Reviews focused on the Windows Azure platform for partners. These will take place at the Microsoft offices in Reading, [UK], and will run from Monday 30th November to Friday 4th December, 2009.

A fasttrack review is an opportunity for a partner to lay out their technical, business and architectural problems in front of some Microsoft experts, and gain advice and guidance on choosing the best path for their future development. These are interactive, conversational engagements which typically last for around 3 to 4 hours, and have proved very successful and useful for participants in the past. For these specific sessions, the focus is on Cloud computing, and in particular Windows Azure, SQL Azure and the Azure platform.

Steve Marx previews his PDC09 sessions in Channel9’s 00:11:02 Countdown to PDC09: Steve Marx on Cloud Development video posted on 11/12/2009:

One of our most popular PDC speakers, Steve Marx, joins us today to talk about Azure and the cloud as he teases his PDC sessions.  Think there isn’t much new in the last year, or that the news around Azure is purely going to be about the business model?  Think again, and let’s get nerdy!

Steve also suggests PDC09 attendees watch for:

Yet Another Thing… Shhhhhhhh! (Tushar Shanbhag and Mohit Srivastava)
This is another session that hasn’t been published yet.  It’s a talk that may surprise you, but you’ll have to wait until PDC to find out what it is.

and “Building Advanced Applications with Windows Azure,” which isn’t on the schedule. Both will be announced after the Tuesday keynote.

My Suboptimal PDC 2009 Scheduling of Windows Azure and SQL Azure Breakout Sessions post of 11/12/2009 demonstrates bunched scheduling of Azure-related sessions:

You can download the above calendar as RJ’s PDC2009 Calendar in Excel (.XLS) and VCalendar (.ICS) format from my SkyDrive account (exported from Outlook 2007).

Microsoft’s Fasttrack ISV Virtual Design Review Team posted How Azure is being used in the real world - Azure Deep Dives in the UK video on 11/12/2009:

Microsoft runs occasional Azure Deep Dive events, with a small numbers of customers and partners, to help accelerate their progress building real world solutions on the Azure Platform, and providing feedback to the product team. This video looks behind the scenes at one of these 5 day Azure Deep Dives, meets the Microsoft folk mentoring the sessions, and the customers and partners building their solutions.

Check out the video to discover:

    • The features in the Azure Platform that early adopters are finding most compelling
    • The emerging architectural patterns being used, such as the use of queues for durable messaging
    • Discussion of recently released features for Windows Azure, and some hints for new features being announced at the PDC
    • Real customer and partner solutions that are being built on the Azure Platform.

Yousef Khalidi offers a preview of his PDC2009 session in this C9 Conversations: Yousef Khalidi on Cloud Computing abstract from Channel9 on 11/10/2009:

Yousef Khalidi is a Distinguished Engineer with a rich history in both operating system design and distributed computing. Yousef is responsible for the overall design of Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud operating system (which includes the Azure development platform in addition to the "OS", aka Windows Azure). Windows Azure is an operating system in the sense that it supplies a host of core services, process scheduling and management, identity management, etc, that we typically expect from a general purpose operating system.

In this first installment of C9 Conversations (we sit down with various Microsoft technical leaders to discuss a wide range of topics related to general purpose computing; all in high quality video and audio (big thanks to Tina Summerford for producing this new series)), the topic is cloud computing. What is it, exactly? Why does it matter? What are the challenges involved in taking software to the cloud? What does that mean, exactly? Is Windows Azure an operating system by analogy? What is Windows Azure, exactly? And more..

Yousef will be presenting his ideas on cloud computing and its future at PDC09 as part of the Technical Leaders track. Make sure to attend his talk if you're interested in how Microsoft thinks about the future of cloud computing.

Steve Gilmore interviews Bob Muglia on Azure, Silverlight, and Realtime earlier this summer and posted the transcript on TechCrunch IT on 11/11/2009:

Earlier this summer I traveled to Redmond to meet with a number of Microsoft executives, including Bob Muglia, President of the Server and Tools Business. Muglia’s group has grown rapidly to become the critical swing vote in Microsoft’s transition to the cloud, now closing in on almost a third of the giant’s overall revenue. And as Silverlight and realtime become the strategic heart of the integration of cloud and on-premise solutions, what Muglia had to say then will resonate much more clearly when he takes the stage next Tuesday with Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie to open the PDC in Los Angeles.

A video of the second half of the conversation is embedded below the transcript.

Joseph Hofstader will present a Webcast, Designing Multi-Tenanted Applications on Windows Azure, on 11/25/2009 at 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM PST, according to this 11/6/2009 post by the Architect Innovation Cafe blog:

Abstract: Cloud computing is one of the hottest topics in information technology today.  With all the confusion surrounding acronyms ending in ‘aas’ like Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) it can be intimidating for even seasoned IT professionals. This presentation will briefly discuss the different types of cloud platforms and then address one of the key business scenarios for the cloud: Software as a Service.

Software as a Service is a business model for making applications available over the Internet.  One of the key tenets of SaaS is multi-tenancy, or software designed to be used by multiple parties.  Designing SaaS applications touches on many of the technologies that comprise the Azure platform: Processing, Storage, Workflow, Database and most importantly security.  This presentation will discuss how each of technologies can be utilized to define a flexible architecture for multi-tenant solutions.

Event ID:  1032432981. Register here.

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

Peter Coffee recounts his “journey from the cushy VIP skybox of the technology trade press, down to the windy (and often muddy) playing field of the IT marketplace” in his Guest View: Cloud platforms for profit article of 11/15/2009 for SDTimes:

… Toward the end of my time at "eWeek," I found that I was generating many fewer reviews of development tools than I had in my earlier years. An evaluation timeline that had once required only a morning to get a tool installed, and to build at least a few functional demonstration applications, had stretched into a process that took several days merely to get a new tool wired into the cumbersome stack of data resources and middleware layers that typify modern business app development.

If it took me this long to do anything, I wondered, what was it like in an enterprise environment, where a new tool had to become a robustly integrated part of everything?
I saw the beginning of a better way when I saw Web-based applications evolving into open application platforms. I don’t mean “open source,” at least not necessarily, but rather “open to innovation”: platforms on which you could define a domain-specific data model, devise custom logic to wrap a business process around that data, and design a user experience to turn that business logic into an approachable and convenient tool.

The question, of course, was whether developers and the people who pay them would ever accept the idea that a valuable business application—perhaps a crown jewel of intellectual property—would ever be placed on someone else’s systems, running under someone else’s administration, being provisioned back to its authors or to its authors’ customers as a service. Was the developer marketplace ready for that change of the game? …

Peter Coffee, a former columnist for PC Week and eWeek, is now Director of Platform Research for

••• James Governor’s Linux and The Enterprise Cloud: A Canonical Gig post of 11/13/2009 begins:

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to present to Canonical customers and prospects about what’s going on with the enterprise Cloud market. I was a little nervous because Simon Wardley was on the same agenda, and his cloud presentation is a masterpiece. Luckily he came after me though.

My basic thesis is that Amazon Web Services remains the de facto standard for cloud computing. There are three kinds of economics you can’t compete with – Open Source, The Web, and Simplicity. Well: AWS embodies all three of those economic justifications. So what can the enterprise learn from Amazon? …

and continues with a Enterprise Clouds With Canonical slide deck. James concludes:

I would say that the decision by Ubuntu to mirror AWS for the enterprise using the Eucaluptus architecture, based on Amazon’s AWS APIs, makes a great deal of sense. Rather than delivering more complexity to enterprises for their enterprise needs, Ubuntu is essentially saying: keep it simple. This is opinionated web oriented ops, rather than all singing all dancing all enterprise knobs and dials enterprise ops we’re hearing other vendors pitch. The demo by John Willis of the new Canonical Landscape monitoring and provisioning tool spoke clearly to less is more. More on that later.

His earlier What’s in store for 2010? 9 Trends, Quick Take includes these two takes:

    • Hybrid Cloud and On Premise models for the enterprise. Hybrid is now just the reality of how we get things done. Just as open source began as a fringe activity, but captured the mainstream, so SaaS and Cloud are increasingly just an economic and technical reality. Cloud doesn’t replace on premise, it augments it.
    • That said, the Big Cloud Backlash will be in full effect in 2010, after all the hype in 2009.

• Amazon Web ServicesNewsletter of 11/12/2009 announces:

    • AWS has successfully completed a SAS70 Audit of our operational procedures and security
    • Our commitment to the Asia-Pacific market with plans to provide multiple AWS Availability Zones in Singapore in the first half of 2010
    • The 2009 Startup Challenge Finalists are announced
    • Developers can now utilize the new AWS SDK for .NET to make it even easier to build .NET applications on AWS
    • Customers with sensitive data can use Amazon CloudFront's new private content feature
    • AWS Multi-Factor Authentication compatible devices are now available worldwide

Charles Babcock reports Amazon Bids For Windows Developers On Eve Of Azure's Launch in this 11/12/2009 post to InformationWeek’s Plug into the Cloud Blog:

Four days before Microsoft launches its Azure cloud platform to developers at a conference in L.A., Amazon has come up with a .Net software development kit to help Windows developers produce code that runs in Amazon's EC2. It's probably just coincidence. But let's see what they're getting with AWS SDK for .Net.

Late Wednesday the Amazon Web Services unit posted the availability of AWS SDK for .Net on its Web site. The SDK "makes it even easier for Windows developers to build .Net applications that tap into the cost-effective, scalable and reliable AWS cloud," it said.

I wasn’t aware that Amazon had made the EC2 environment especially easy for Windows developers in the past. If anything, I would have assumed that it left those developers to their own devices, particularly during the two-year beta phase of EC2 when you could only run Linux virtual machines in the Amazon Web Services cloud. I would concede that Amazon did add Windows as a choice for your virtual machine a year ago, and that made things easier for Windows developers, if they were targeting EC2. …

Bruce Guptil’s Data Center Dance-cards Fill Up: HP to Acquire 3Com Research Alert of 11/12/2008 for Saugatuck Research (site registration required) begins:

What is Happening?  The competitive landscape for data centers and Cloud Computing is being changed by another major IT acquisition. On Wednesday 11 Nov. 2009, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced an agreement to acquire 3Com Corp. for $7.90 per share, or approximately $2.7B.  3Com’s most recently-reported annual revenues were $1.6B, with an operating margin of 2.3 percent. HP said that 3Com products will be integrated into HP's existing ProCurve network equipment business.

Bruce continues with his analysis of:

    • Why is it Happening?
    • Market Impact

Clint Boulton claims Google Storage Price Cut Shows Cloud is Competitive, Maturing in this 11/12/2009 post to eWeek’s Data Storage … blog:

Google slashed the costs of hosted storage for its Picasa and Gmail applications, offering 20 gigabytes (GB) of storage for $5 per year, or twice as much for one quarter of the previous price. Will users begin entrusting more e-mail and photos to Google server farms? It's hard to say, but certainly cutting storage costs for its Picasa photo-sharing and Gmail applications is a sign the cloud computing market is maturing. Was the cost cut a competitive gesture? Google's cut came one days after Cisco Nov. 9 launched its Cisco WebEx Mail hosted e-mail app for $3.50 per user per month with 5 GB of storage.

Yeshim DentzThe Power of Google and the Promise of Cloud Computing post of 11/12/2009 reports “Evans Data says that as the computing landscape evolves with the Cloud, so will the adoption of surrounding technologies.”

Evans Data Corp announced that use of the Python scripting language has increased by 45% since Spring 2008 according to the most recent North American Development Survey to be released this week to subscribers. Only 13% of developers used Python before Google announced its App Engine platform in Spring 2008, which at the time only supported Python, but that number has increased to 20.3% today. Other scripting language use remained relatively constant, with only small gains or losses in popularity among languages such as Ruby, PHP, Perl and Actionscript.

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Amazon Web Services announced plans to open an Asian front in its Amazon Web Services Announces Expansion into Asia in the First Half of 2010 press release of 11/9/2009:

Amazon Web Services LLC, an company (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced an expansion of its services into an Asia-Pacific region in the first half of 2010, enabling businesses to deploy compute and storage resources in close proximity to their end-users in the region. Software developers and businesses will be able to access AWS’s infrastructure services from multiple Availability Zones in Singapore in the first half of 2010, then in other Availability Zones within Asia over the second half of 2010. AWS services available at the launch of the Asia-Pacific region will include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and Amazon CloudFront. To get started using Amazon Web Services, visit

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