Sunday, November 22, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 11/16/2009+

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

Update 11/22/2009: Matt Mullenweg: WordPress and Windows Azure; tbtechnet: Check out Front Runner for Windows Azure; Me: All Your Clouds, a clone of StackOverflow for cloud computing; Girish Raja: PDC - Phone Company CRM & Azure Demo; Me: Windows Azure FAQs post PDC 2009; Eugenio Pace: Updated RIA and WIF samples – Part I; James Hamilton: Sandia Labs’ doubtful claim about 1.035 PUE for Red Sky;

Update 11/21 and 11/22/2009: The Azure Services Platform Team: New Service Dashboard and updated SLAs; RightScale: Planned Support for Windows Azure Platform; Alf Pilgrim: New Approach Needed to Cloud Security; Mark O’Neill: ENISA Cloud Computing Risk Assessment - Three Initial Thoughts; Keith Pijanowski: IaaS, PaaS, and the Windows Azure Platform; Jean-Christophe Cimetiere: Interoperability at PDC09: Let's Recap; The Microsoft Pinpoint Team: About Microsoft Pinpoint; and a few others.

Update 11/20 /2009: Me: Windows Azure Case Studies for PDC 2009 – Part 1; Chris Hoff: ENISA Cloud Computing Security Risk Assessment report'; Josh Greenbaum: Azure’s effect on the Future of Microsoft (and Enterprise Software as Well); Stacey Higgenbotham: Microsoft’s intentions for the Azure Services Platform; Alex Wilhelm: Microsoft’s Pinpoint and Dallas – Huge New Azure Offerings; Savio Rodrigues: Windows Azure supports MySQL; MSDN: Microsoft Windows Azure platform AppFabric; and many others from PDC09.

• Update 11/18/2009: Chris Hoff: Don’t Underestimate Windows Azure; Clemens Vasters: Introducing the Port Bridge; Windows Azure AppFabric Team: Microsoft Windows Azure platform AppFabric; John Treadway: Azure Owns the Enterpri$e; Mary Jo Foley: Reports from PDC 2009.

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 data synchronization will be added after PDC 2009.

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Charlie Calvert continues his series of video segments by Jim Nakashima in his Video: Azure Services in Visual Studio Beta 2, Part II post of 11/15/2009:

This is the second in a series of three videos showing how Visual Studio 2010 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.

To see the post which embeds the first video in this series, click here.

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

The SSIS Team reports about Something new for SSIS in SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP on 11/12/2009: A new Use Bulk Insert When Possible option.


Previously, the ADO.NET Destination did all of its inserts row by row (we do some batching internally, which is why the component has a BatchSize property, but the underlying ADO.NET provider will always do single row inserts). With this new feature enabled, SSIS will use a bulk insert interface (like enabling “FastLoad” for OLEDB Destination). Unfortunately, there isn’t a generic Bulk Load interface for ADO.NET, so this functionality is currently only supported by SQL Server (through the SqlBulkCopy API). Hopefully we can extend support to other ADO.NET providers in the future.

The main reason for implementing this functionality was to improve our support for SQL Azure. As you might already know, ADO.NET is the primary way to communicate with SQL Azure, and adding support for SqlBulkCopy greatly increased the transfer speed. It also speeds up things when you’re working with regular SQL Server systems -- although OLEDB with FastLoad is still the preferred way of doing SQL data loads. [Emphasis added.]

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AppFabric: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow (formerly .NET Services)

•••• Eugenio Pace offers Updated RIA and WIF samples – Part I in this 11/22/2009 post. While the samples don’t involve Windows Azure, they demonstrate Windows Identity Framework programming techniques:

Some time ago, I put together a simple demo integrating WIF in RIA Services. Now RIA is a Beta and there’s a lot of cool stuff in there. The good news from an identity perspective is that it just works :-).

I’ve been playing a little bit with a couple of new samples and with the previous (updated) HRApp. The first one is the “CyclingClassifieds” you can download from here.

The identity  architecture of the application is simple enough for a first exploration. Out of the box, it is configured for Windows integrated security, so if you run the sample it will simply recognize the user you are logged in as in your network. The app has an “auto-provisioning” feature that automatically registers external users into the application. There’s a stored procedure that will try to locate the user name in the database (Users table), and if it is not found, it will simply add a new record. …

•• MSDN’s Microsoft Windows Azure platform AppFabric page describes the renamed .NET Services product as follows:

The Windows Azure platform AppFabric provides secure connectivity as a service to help developers bridge cloud, on-premises, and hosted deployments. You can use AppFabric Service Bus and AppFabric Access Control to build distributed and federated applications as well as services that work across network and organizational boundaries. From simple eventing scenarios to complex protocol tunneling, AppFabric Service Bus gives developers the flexibility to choose how their applications communicate, and to address the challenges presented by firewalls, NATs, dynamic IP, and disparate identity systems. AppFabric Access Control enables simple, secure authorization for RESTful web services that federate with a variety of identity providers.’s Windows Azure Platform AppFabric page offers a more generic AppFabric description, a What are the Access Control and Service Bus? video and descriptions of the Service Bus and Access Control Features:

What are the Access Control and Service Bus?Windows Azure platform AppFabric provides Service Bus and Access Control for you and your business partners to bridge assets across cloud, on-premises, or hosted deployment locations, and to interoperate across languages, platforms, and standards.

AppFabric is web-based developer services that make it simpler to connect and interoperate your existing applications and services with the cloud regardless of cloud provider or programming platform. AppFabric helps developers focus on their application logic rather than deploying and managing their own cloud-based infrastructure.

•• Vittorio Bertocci’s Announcing the Identity Developer Training Course on Channel9 post of 11/17/2009 begins:

Microsoft is a recognized thought leader in Identity: since the Geneva announcements wave in PDC08, we opened a dialog with developers for helping you to reap the benefits of claims based identity with the .NET framework. And today we RTM’ed WIF! :)

During the past year we rolled out many successful initiatives, from the Id Element show on Channel9 to the Identity Developer Training Kit. Today we are raising the game again, by releasing the Identity Developer Training Course on Channel9.

Why The Identity Developer Training Course

The hands on lab in the kit were designed specifically to help you to address the most common scenarios, as gathered at events and indicated by the search engine queries that landed visitors to our blogs; however, once the content was packed in the training kit it was totally opaque to search engines and direct queries, leaving the full burden of discoverability to the short description in the download page or blog posts & tweets.

The Identity Developer Training Course represents the unbundling of the Identity Developer Training Kit: all the labs documentation is now unfolded and hosted by Channel9 on the public internet, ready to answer YOUR queries right when you need it.

Once the content is on line, an entire new range of possibilities opens up: we can complement the content with instructional videos that can be streamed on-demand, roll continuous updates without forcing you to re-download the package, and many others we are considering for the next releases. …

•• Rama Charan also reported New training kit released on 11/17/2009 for updated .NET Services November 2009 SDK in an 11/19/2009 thread in the newly renamed App Fabric forum.

Clemens VastersPort Bridge post of 11/19/2009 begins:

Building “hybrid” cloud applications where parts of an an app lives up in a cloud infrastructure and other parts of the infrastructure live at a hosting site, or a data center, or even in your house ought to be simple – especially in this day and age of Web services. You create a Web service, make it accessible through your firewall and NAT, and the the cloud-hosted app calls it. That’s as easy as it ought to be.

Unfortunately it’s not always that easy. If the server sits behind an Internet connection with dynamically assigned IP addresses, if the upstream ISP is blocking select ports, if it’s not feasible to open up inbound firewall ports, or if you have no influence over the infrastructure whatsoever, reaching an on-premise service from the cloud (or anywhere else) is a difficult thing to do. For these scenarios (and others) our team is building the Windows Azure platform AppFabric Service Bus (friends call us just Service Bus). …

and continues:

Introducing Port Bridge

“Port Bridge” – which is just a descriptive name for this code sample, not an attempt at branding – is a point-to-point tunneling utility to help with these scenarios. Port Bridge consists of two components, the “Port Bridge Service” and the “Port Bridge Agent”. Here’s a picture:


The Agent’s job is to listen for and accept TCP or Named Pipe connections on a configurable port or local pipe name. The Service’s job is to accept for incoming connections from the Agent, establish a duplex channel with the Agent, and pump the data from the Agent to the actual listening service – and vice versa. It’s actually quite simple. In the picture above you see that the Service is configured to connect to a SQL Server listening at the SQL Server default port 1433 and that the Agent – running on a different machine, is listening on port 1433 as well, thus mapping the remote SQL Server onto the Agent machine as if it ran there. You can (and I think of that as to be more common) map the service on the Agent to any port you like – say higher up at 41433.

• The Windows Azure AppFabric Team’s Microsoft Windows Azure platform AppFabric page describes the the AppFabric announced at PDC 2009:

The Windows Azure platform AppFabric provides secure connectivity as a service to help developers bridge cloud, on-premises, and hosted deployments. You can use AppFabric Service Bus and AppFabric Access Control to build distributed and federated applications as well as services that work across network and organizational boundaries. From simple eventing scenarios to complex protocol tunneling, AppFabric Service Bus gives developers the flexibility to choose how their applications communicate, and to address the challenges presented by firewalls, NATs, dynamic IP, and disparate identity systems. AppFabric Access Control enables simple, secure authorization for RESTful web services that federate with a variety of identity providers.

The term AppFabric appears to replace .NET Services in this context.

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Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

•••• Girish Raja’s PDC - Phone Company CRM & Azure Demo of 11/21/2009 offers a player for “the full video of the ‘Phone Company’ demo that shows the integration of Dynamics CRM ‘5’, AppFabric Service Bus and Windows Azure.” Click here for links to all PDC session about Dynamics CRM and xRM. Here’s a link to Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure.

Girish is a technical evangelist for Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM.

•••• Me: All Your Clouds is a new StackOverflow clone for posting and answering questions about cloud computing. Windows Azure and Amazon EC2 are the two principal topics. Here’s a link to David Burela’s sample question, which I answered on 11/22/2009.

•••• tbtechnet recommends USA Early Adopters: Check out Front Runner for Windows Azure on 11/22/2009:

Great news – I just saw the brand new Front Runner for Windows Azure Platform go live.

This program is a no-brainer if you want to get your cloud applications on to Azure in record time. Plus, the program helps you market your cloud applications.

I like the idea of getting FREE help fast tracking applications on to the cloud with FREE email and phone support.

Check Front Runner out here:

I also found out that Front Runner is giving out instant Windows Azure Community Technology Preview (CTP) tokens – these tokens are like gold and you’ll bypass the several days wait if you went through other channels.

Here’s are my two initial Front Runner entries (click image for 1024-px full-size capture):

•••• Matt Mullenweg’s WordPress and Windows Azure post of 11/19/2009 answers questions about what was announced during his keynote segment at PDC 2009:

This week I had a unique opportunity to appear at Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles, to demo four open source technologies — WordPress, Apache, MySQL, PHP — running on Microsoft’s new EC2 competitor called Azure.

WordPress and Windows Azure probably aren’t the first two things you’d think of together. WordPress has been free and open source software from the very beginning, Windows not so much, but we’ve always supported as many platforms as possible and for at least 4 years now you could run WP on Windows and IIS (Internet Information Services).

Choice and competition are great for spurring innovation and better for users and I believe open source software is a good thing even if it’s on a proprietary platform. (Just like we have an open source iPhone application, or encourage people to use Firefox on Windows.)

Matt continues with a FAQ about the PDC 2009 WordPress/Azure announcement:

••• The Microsoft Pinpoint Team presents the About Microsoft Pinpoint page to describe Microsoft’s new IT directory:

Pinpoint is the fast, easy way for business customers to find experts, applications, and professional services to meet their specific business needs—and build on the software they already have.

At the same time, Pinpoint helps developers and technology service providers quickly and easily get software applications and professional services to market—and engage customers who need what they offer.

Pinpoint is the largest directory of qualified IT companies and their software solutions built on Microsoft technologies.

    • More than 7,000 software application offerings.
    • More than 30,000 Microsoft-technology experts.
    • The largest, most diverse set of Microsoft business platform offerings in the industry in a central location.
    • Direct links between applications and the services that support them.

Whether you’re searching for expert help or offering it, Pinpoint helps you easily find and engage the right people and technologies to get the job done.

••• Jean-Christophe Cimetiere’s Interoperability at PDC09: Let's Recap post of 11/20/2009 to the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog reports:

This PDC09 further demonstrates how Microsoft is making interoperability a priority and reality by demonstrating how − as an open platform − Windows Azure offers choices to developers. We’ve been able to show our progress with practical examples (like WordPress), additional technologies to run on Windows Azure (Tomcat, MySQL) and new SDKs/tools (like AppFabric SDK for PHP, Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse version 1.0). We’re on a journey, but it’s a significant milestone!

Jean’s post covers the following Azure-related topics:

••• RightScale Announces Planned Support for Windows Azure Platform in this 11/17/2009 press release for PDC 2009: Cloud management platform to add Windows Azure to growing list of supported infrastructure-as-a-service clouds.

RightScale®, Inc., the leader in cloud computing management, today announced planned support for the Windows Azure platform. This support will enable customers to deploy RightScale-managed applications to Windows Azure and take advantage of the unique properties offered by the Windows Azure platform. RightScale's intent to support Windows Azure underscores its commitment to providing customers with a wide range of cloud infrastructures for maximum flexibility and portability in their cloud deployments.

"Our planned support for the Windows Azure platform within RightScale is important because it will expand the set of cloud infrastructure providers available to RightScale users to include Microsoft, a key vendor in the evolving cloud market," said Michael Crandell, RightScale CEO and founder. "Through the new Service Management API, RightScale will support the Windows Azure infrastructure-level services, similar to its support of other Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds, such as Amazon and Rackspace. This will vastly increase freedom of choice, providing users of other cloud platforms access to the Windows Azure platform, while simultaneously enabling Windows Azure users access to other cloud platforms."

The problem I see is the lack of an estimated date when RightScale’s Azure support will begin.

My Windows Azure Case Studies for PDC 2009 – Part 1 post of 11/20/2009 reports:

Microsoft’s public relations team published during the Professional Developer’s Conference 2009 53 case studies that contained Azure as a keyword.

The post provides links to and abstracts of the first 20 of these case studies.

•• Savio Rodrigues reports Microsoft Azure set to capture open source revenue streams and quotes Port25’s Peter Galli in this 11/20/2009 to InfoWorld’s Open Sources blog:

Azure follows in Amazon's footsteps -- and other large IT vendors can't be far behind. …

Three weeks ago I wrote that Amazon RDS was going to eat into MySQL's revenue potential. I also pointed out that Amazon's RDS was but a precursor to future Amazon cloud service offerings for other popular open source products. While that post was centered on Amazon, it wasn't a stretch to predict that any of the big IT vendors (IBM, Microsoft, HP, Google, Cisco, EMC/VMware, and Sun/Oracle) would offer RDS-like cloud services in the future.

Well, reading details of the Windows Azure platform this week, the prediction badge no longer applies to Microsoft. According to Microsoft, Azure SQL will support MySQL, and Azure .Net Services will support Apache Tomcat. Microsoft will also support PHP and Apache Web Server on Azure. I'll focus on MySQL, and to a lesser degree Apache Tomcat for this discussion. I believe MySQL and Apache Tomcat will be the first two products offered as a service on large IT vendor cloud platforms, aside from the IT vendor's strategic software stack that is. …

Amazon decided to offer MySQL via Amazon RDS, it did so without purchasing MySQL support from Sun. I've confirmed that Microsoft Azure is supporting MySQL on Azure without paying Sun for a MySQL Enterprise subscription. …

•• Jim Nakashima’s ASP.NET MVC and Windows Azure (November 2009 edition) post of 11/19/2009 begins:

With the November release of the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio, we’ve done some things in Visual Studio 2010 to make it easier to use ASP.NET MVC and Windows Azure together.

Note:  In the November release of the Tools + SDK, Windows Azure only supports .NET 3.5 SP1, .NET 4.0 projects are not supported.

Creating a New Project

clip_image002The first thing you’ll notice in Visual Studio 2010 is that we now have a project template option for an ASP.NET MVC 2 Web Role.  (Click on File | New | Project… | Windows Azure Cloud Service)

Note: To use ASP.NET MVC and Windows Azure together on Visual Studio 2008 – please follow the steps under “Using an Existing Project”.

Jim goes on with a detailed tutorial for creating a new or using an existing ASP.NET MVC project with Windows Azure.

Jim’s Using the Sample Windows Azure ASP.NET Providers post of the same date explains:

[T]he sample Windows Azure ASP.NET providers were included in the samples folder that was installed with the SDK.

As of the November 2009 release of the Windows Azure Tools & SDK, this is no longer the case.  The samples are available online at

To use these samples:

1. Download the samples and unzip (These are no longer included as part of the samples installed to the SDK folder)

2. Add the AspProviders/Lib/AspProviders.csproj project to the solution by right clicking on the solution and selecting Add | Existing Project… and navigating to the AspProviders.csproj file.

3. Add a reference from your ASP.NET MVC 2 Web role to the AspProviders sample library by right clicking on the “references” folder in the ASP.NET MVC project and selecting “Add Reference…”


and selecting the AspProviders assembly:


4. Open the web.config file and add/change the providers. …

and continues with a detailed explanation of modifying Config.web’s system.web elements.

•• John Moore reports in his PHAT: Mash-Up on Healthcare IT post of 11/17/2009 about his participation in the Harvard School of Public Health event, Public Health and Technology (PHAT):

On Monday, I participated in the Harvard School of Public Health event, Public Health and Technology (PHAT) which brought together a diverse views of healthcare, reform and the role that IT will play.  The morning session focused on the status quo so to speak addressing the challenges of HIT in the clinical setting and the fed’s initiatives regarding the HITECH Act to get clinicians wired.  The afternoon session, which began with a keynote by Keas founder Adam Bosworth on consumer access and use of IT to self-manage their health and health of loved ones.  A lot of ground was covered over the course of this day long event with highlights provided in a mash-up below.

John’s detailed topics include:

    • Current State, Clinicians, ARRA and HITECH Act
    • Consumer Empowerment through HIT
    • The Wrap

•• Bill Zack announced the Microsoft Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure in an 11/18/2009 post to Microsoft’ Innovation Showcase blog:

The Microsoft Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure November CTP contains a series of new components that improve the experience of synchronizing with SQL Azure. This download includes runtime components that optimize performance and simplify the process of synchronizing with the cloud.


The Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure contains a database provider for Sync Framework that is specifically tuned for SQL Azure and a stand-alone utility for SQL Server that enables synchronization between an on-premise SQL Server database and SQL Azure. Additionally, the Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure contains a Visual Studio plug-in that demonstrates how to add offline capabilities to applications which synchronize with SQL Azure by using a local SQL Server Compact database.

The Power Pack includes the following components:

    • SqlAzureSyncProvider
    • Sql Azure Offline Visual Studio Plug-In
    • SQL Azure Data Sync Tool for SQL Server
    • New SQL Azure Events
    • Automated Provisioning

Read more about the preceding components and download the Power Pack here…

•• Alex Wilhelm describes Microsoft’s Pinpoint and Dallas – Huge New Azure Offerings in his 11/18/2009 post to the Next Web site:

At the Professional Developer Conference today, Microsoft introduced Pinpoint and Dallas, two new and important components to their Azure offering.

Pinpoint is an enterprise level cloud based application store for developers using the Azure cloud. Dallas, a subset of Pinpoint, is Microsoft’s “information marketplace,” offering data sets for developers to use inside of their Azure applications.

Microsoft Codename "Dallas"Dallas is a very exciting development in the Azure family, opening up blocks of information to all comers, freeing it from obscurity and perhaps higher pricing. Current featured data sets in Dallas include image sets from the Nasa Mars Rover, and data from the Associated Press.

Of course, not all data sets will be free, but to have them open for purchase is a step in the right direction. I talked with the Dallas team, and sadly data from Twitter is not part of Dallas. They had no immediate comment as to the possibility of Twitter becoming part of the program. …

•• Kevin Hoffman reports in his Windows Azure Facebook SDK post of 11/17/2009:

OK, OK … maybe not (just) for Windows Azure, but Microsoft just released a Facebook client library to help make it easier for everyone to create some interesting applications. Clarity Consulting Inc. developed the original Facebook Developer Toolkit for the Microsoft Visual Studio Express Team. They worked with Microsoft on an idea to keep the code [...] Related posts:

Read more

•• Kraig Brockschmidt, who’s Community Program Manager for the Data Developer Center (formerly the Data blog), reports on 11/17/2009 about XML + “Oslo” = “It’s All Data” (the new Data Developer Center):

After some months of planning and execution, we’re delighted to present you with the newly redesigned and expanded Data Developer Center on MSDN!

The expanded part here comes from the fact that the Data DevCenter is now home to what used to be two other separate centers, XML and “Oslo”. Actually, the XML DevCenter already joined with Data back in early October more or less intact. The former “Oslo” site, on the other hand, has merged with Data as of PDC 2009, a natural result of “Oslo” becoming SQL Server Modeling and taking a clear place within the larger ecosystem of data development technologies.

The redesign part then really came up as the natural result of this merging. Back in early July, Elisa Flasko (the owner of the Data DevCenter at that time) and myself (owner of the “Oslo” DevCenter) started to explore how best to present all the diverse technologies that we’d be supporting on the merged DevCenter. …

Greg Robinson’s detailed Hosting WCF Services in Windows Azure tutorial of 11/11/2009 begins:

So you want to host a Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) service in Windows Azure? Here’s how you do it. This post will describe the steps you need to get your WCF service up and running in Windows Azure. This walkthrough assumes you are already familiar with the basics of WCF services. Hosting your services in Windows Azure has the benefit of you not having to provide the hardware for hosting your service and you can instead rely on Microsoft providing that capability for you.

Glenn Laffel, MD reports Lower EHR use in Hospitals that care for the Poor in this 11/16/2009 post:

Hospitals that treat large numbers of poor patients utilize electronic health records (EHRs) less frequently and provide care of lower quality, according to a study by Harvard scientists. However, the scientists also found that when such hospitals do use EHRs, the quality gap disappears.

Ashish Jha and colleagues used the Medicare disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) index as a surrogate for the proportion of poor patients served by each hospital. Using this metric, so-called “high-DSH index” hospitals are the ones caring for the highest percentage of poor people.

To collect information on EHR utilization, the scientists piggybacked a questionnaire onto the 2008 American Hospital Association survey. The questionnaire solicited information regarding the presence and degree of implementation of 32 electronic clinical functions.

Glenn continues with a detailed analysis of the findings.

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

•••• James Hamilton asks Is Sandia National Lab's Red Sky Really Able to Deliver a PUE of 1.035? and “strongly suspects” that Sandia National Lab’s Red Sky supercomputer Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) is 1.35:

… A PUE of 1.035 implies that for each 1 watt delivered to the servers, 0.035 is lost in power distribution and mechanical systems. For a facility of this size, I suspect they will get delivered high voltage in the 115kV range. In a conventional power distribution design, they will take 115kV and transform it to mid-voltage (13kV range), then to 480V 3p, then to 208V to be delivered to the servers. In addition to all these conversions, there is some loss in the conductors themselves. And there is considerable loss in even the very best uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems. In fact, a UPS alone with 3.5% loss is excellent. Excellent power distribution designs will avoid 1 or perhaps 2 of the conversions above and will use a full bypass UPS. But, getting these excellent power distribution designs to even within a factor of 2 of the reported 3.5% loss is incredibly difficult and I’m very skeptical that they are going to get much below 6% to 7%. In fact, if anyone knows how to get down below 6% loss in the power distribution system measured fully, I’m super interested and would love to see what you have done, buy you lunch, and do a datacenter a tour. …

•••• Franz Bouma shares his doubts about cloud computing in general and Windows Azure in particular in his “Cloud Cloud Cloud, if you're not in it, you're out!"... or something post of 11/18/2009:

… Yesterday I watched the live stream of the PDC '09 keynote and in general it made me feel uncomfortable but I couldn't really figure out why. This morning I realized what it was and I'll try to explain it in this blog. …

I have lived through internet bubbles, read McNealy's 'The Network is the computer' articles / propaganda, shaked my head when I heard about Ellison's Java client desktop idea, waded through the seas of SOA and SOA related hype material, so I have a bit of an idea what "Big computer with software somewhere + you" means. In this 'modern age' it's dubbed 'Cloud computing', though to me it looks like the same old idea that has been presented by various people in the past but with new labels. With all these platforms presented in the past, there was really one issue: what was the problem they all tried to solve? Why would one want to use it? With Cloud computing, that same old issue hasn't been solved. …

Can Azure do what I described above? I honestly have not the faintest idea, even after watching the keynote yesterday and by reading up some marketing stuff. That doesn't give me confidence, as it's in general not a good sign if a vendor has a hard time explaining what problem a product solves.

Frans is the developer of and cheerleader for the LLBLGen Pro object/relational mapping tool.

•••• Me: The Windows Azure Platform Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) were updated on 11/18/2009 for announcements at PDC 2009:

What was announced about the Windows Azure platform today at the Professional Developers Conference?

  • Microsoft today announced global availability of the Windows Azure platform, including Windows Azure, SQL Azure Database and AppFabric. The Windows Azure platform is available in 21 countries and remains free for all customers and partners through January 31st, 2010.
  • Microsoft also announced a community technology preview (CTP) of Microsoft codename “Dallas,” a Windows Azure platform Information Service that provides developers and information workers access to premium third party data sets and content, on any platform.
  • With the Windows Azure platform and the new features announced today, developers can take advantage of greater choice and flexibility in how they develop and deploy applications, whether on premise or in the cloud, and using familiar tools and programming languages. This enables customers to increase revenue and productivity, respond faster to customer needs and reach new markets.
  • Over 20 customers and partners including NASA, Domino’s Pizza, Coca Cola, Kelly Blue Book and Accenture, among many others, are already running live cloud applications on the Windows Azure platform, demonstrating strong momentum and adoption of Windows Azure, SQL Azure Database and AppFabric
  • Developers can visit to sign up to start building and deploying cloud services and applications today on the Windows Azure platform and to access the “Dallas” CTP

••• Keith Pijanowski’s IaaS, PaaS, and the Windows Azure Platform post of 11/21/2009 begins:

In this post I want to publish an article I originally wrote for the white papers section of  The final version was not a good fit for - so I am publishing it here. The primary purpose of this article is to provide an objective comparison between the Windows Azure Platform and an Infrastructure as a Service offering. (PDF Version)

Here are links to his article’s topics:

Keith Pijanowski is a Platform Strategy Advisor for Microsoft. You can Keith’s other articles on Access and cloud computing here.

••• The Azure Services Platform Team announced a new Service Dashboard and updated Service Level Agreements at PDC 2009:

Service Dashboard

View the current health of all Windows Azure platform services. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed to keep constantly updated on the status of the Windows Azure platform. (Click image for full-size, 1024 x 768 screen capture.)

Service Level Agreements

Windows Azure SLA

Windows Azure has separate SLA’s for compute and storage. For compute, we guarantee that when you deploy two or more role instances in different fault and upgrade domains your Internet facing roles will have external connectivity at least 99.95% of the time. Additionally, we will monitor all of your individual role instances and and guarantee that 99.9% of the time we will detect within two minutes when a role instance’s process is not running and initiate corrective action.
Download Windows Azure Compute SLA.

For storage, we guarantee that at least 99.9% of the time we will successfully process correctly formatted requests that we receive to add, update, read and delete data. We also guarantee that your storage accounts will have connectivity to our Internet gateway.
Download Windows Azure Storage SLA.


SQL Azure customers will have connectivity between the database and our Internet gateway. SQL Azure will maintain a “Monthly Availability” of 99.9% during a calendar month. “Monthly Availability Percentage” for a specific customer database is the ratio of the time the database was available to customer to the total time in a month. Time is measured in 5-minute intervals in a 30-day monthly cycle. Availability is always calculated for a full month. An interval is marked as unavailable if the customer’s attempts to connect to a database are rejected by the SQL Azure gateway.
Download SQL Azure SLA.

AppFabric SLA

Uptime percentage commitments and SLA credits for Service Bus and Access Control are similar to those specified above in the Windows Azure SLA. Due to inherent differences between the technologies, underlying SLA definitions and terms differ for the Service Bus and Access Control services. Using the Service Bus, customers will have connectivity between a customer’s service endpoint and our Internet gateway; when our service fails to establish a connection from the gateway to a customer's service endpoint, then the service is assumed to be unavailable. Using Access Control, customers will have connectivity between the Access Control endpoints and our Internet gateway. In addition, for both Service Bus and Access Control, the service will process correctly formatted request for the handling of messages and tokens; when our service fails to process a request properly, then the service is assumed to be unavailable. SLA calculations will be based on an average over a 30-day monthly cycle, with 5-minute time intervals. Failures seen by a customer in the form of service unavailability will be counted for the purpose of availability calculations for that customer.
Download AppFabric Service Bus and Access Control SLAs.

•• Stacey Higgenbotham analyzes Microsoft’s intentions for the Azure Services Platform in her Microsoft Azure Walks a Thin Blue Line post of 11/19/2009 to the GigaOm blog:

With Azure, Microsoft is trying to strike a balance between giving customers the ease of a platform as a service and the customization that power users need to build tailored applications — both in-house and in the public Azure cloud. In the wake of the Redmond giant’s developer conference, where it detailed more of its plans, it became clear that Azure is striving to be a general purpose cloud offering for enterprises that doesn’t make developers sweat the small stuff or compromise on bigger things.

If we compare it to infrastructure-as-a-service providers such as Amazon’s Ec2 or Rackspace’s CloudServers products, Azure attempts to handle more of the actual management and provisioning of virtual machines for a user. The biggest issue the target customer faces isn’t the hardware cost but the expense of managing an application on the hardware, Amitabh Srivastava, senior vice president at Microsoft with responsibility for Windows Azure, told me. So the goal was to allow Azure to run so developers don’t think about the underlying hardware as they might on a pure IaaS product.

This is where the idea of Azure as Microsoft’s OS for the cloud comes in. Azure is a platform-as-a-services play that seeks to leverage what Microsoft has learned through its OS dominance. First, it’s playing nice. Microsoft ensures that developers can use a wide variety of  programming languages to build on Azure such as PHP, Eclipse and Java, which is pretty unique among platforms. Earlier this year, I spoke with Microsoft about its plans for Azure and came away with the clear sense that the company’s programs and .Net would really shine on Azure, even though other programming languages would also work. Now I get the sense that Microsoft is working hard to emphasize how suitable Azure is for programs built using a variety of languages, even those that have no ties to Redmond. …

•• Josh Greenbaum’s Why Windows Azure is the Future of Microsoft (and Enterprise Software as Well) post of 11/19/2009 analyzes the impact of the Azure Services Platform on Microsoft’s future market prowess:

… We’re beginning to see inklings of these net new applications running on Azure: some of them were shown last week to industry analysts at the Dynamics Analyst Summit in sunny Redmond (for a few brief hours, anyway).  The basic takeaway from the Summit was that the Dynamics gang understand that Azure isn’t just a place to host existing Dynamics functionality (and definitely not the place to run AX in the cloud: one can rent Dynamics AX in a hosted model from a Microsoft partner, but it won’t be running on Azure), but a platform for a new class of enterprise application that can be simultaneously on demand and on premise, and deliver net-new functionality that can’t be readily delivered in an pure on-premise mode. It’s a good start.

But there’s going to more to cloud computing than deployment choice, or even hybrid on-prem/on-demand apps. As I’ve been writing a little obsessively, the cloud, particularly the Azure cloud, will reach its apogee as a platform for next-generation, on-demand applications that deliver functionality to the enterprise that can’t be delivered for love nor money on premise. This new generation of application aggregates data, process, and services in the cloud, and in doing so for its many stakeholders, becomes a self-improving, self-appreciating asset that grows in value the more data, processes, services, and stakeholders it accumulates. …

Mary Jo Foley asks "What's next for Microsoft's Azure cloud platform? in this 11/17/2009 post and reports on statements by Amitabh Srivastava, Senior Vice President in charge of Windows Azure: “Our initial focus on the platform was on enabling Web 2.0 customers to develop and run their apps on it.”

… Microsoft’s next Azure steps — which it will be executing largely in parallel — will be to get existing, and typically more complex, line-of-business apps to run on the platform and to make it possible for customers to implement Azure technologies in their own data centers (a k a, to be able to create private clouds).

To enable existing apps to run on Azure, Microsoft is planning to make virtual machines (VMs) available to developers, which they will be able to customize and run their legacy apps inside them. Srivastava wouldn’t provide a timetable or more details as to how or when Microsoft will do this. Apps running in VMs won’t be able to take full advantage of the elasticity, multitenancy, and other cloud functionality, but they still will derive some benefits, such as automatic cloud backup for apps running on the Azure platform.

On the private cloud front, Microsoft didn’t have much new to say at the PDC. Microsoft officials have said in the past that Microsoft won’t allow customers to run the Azure operating system in their own datacenters. Microsoft’s

main focus here continues to be to provide customers with software like Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, etc., for them to run in their own datacenters. That said, Microsoft isn’t simply leaving the delivery of a private cloud solution to Amazon and other cloud competitors.

“Lots of the technologies we have in the cloud are things people want to run in their datacenters,” Srivastava
acknowledged.(He cited as an example the ability to run a scalable cloud-storage appliance on premises.)

Microsoft is working on a longer-term solution that would allow the company to offer datacenter containers that can be dedicated to individual customers, Srivastava said. That way, clouds can be customized for individual users and users will be able to manage these containers themselves. Again, Srivastava wasn’t ready to talk about deployment specifics or timetables for this. That said, “Project Sydney” (Microsoft’s newly announced connectivity offering for private datacenters and public clouds) shows the general direction where we are going,” Srivastava said. …

Mary Jo Foley’s Three new codenames and how they fit into Microsoft's cloud vision article of 11/17/2009 describes …:

    1. Project Sydney: Technology that enables customers to connect securely their on-premises and cloud servers. Some of the underlying technologies that are enabling it include IPSec, IPV6 and Microsoft’s Geneva federated-identity capability. It could be used for a variety of applications, such as allowing developers to fail over cloud apps to on-premises servers or to run an app that is structured to run on both on-premises and cloud servers, for example. Sydney is slated to go to beta early next year and go final in 2010.
    2. Dallas: Microsoft’s “data-as-a-service” offering. Dallas is a new service built on top of SQL Azure that will provide users with access to free and paid collections of public and commercial data sets that they can use in developing applications. The datasets are available via Microsoft’s PinPoint partner/ISV site. Dallas is hosted on Azure already and is available as of today as an invitation-only CTP. No word on when Microsoft is hoping to release the final version of the service.
    3. AppFabric: AppFabric is a collection of existing Azure developer components, including the “Dublin” app server, “Velocity” caching technology, and .Net Services (the service bus and access control services). The version of the Windows Server AppFabric on-premises version of the product is available for download today, with final availability slated for 2010. Community Technology Previews (CTPs) of the Windows Azure AppFabric version are slated to be available during 2010. No word on when the final Azure-based version will be out. …

John Teadway asserts Azure Owns the Enterpri$e in this 11/17/2009 post:

I had a “discussion” on twitter a few weeks ago where I predicted that Microsoft’s Windows Azure would be “the one to beat” in the enterprise. It’s nice that companies are using Amazon and other clouds, but for the 80-90% of Windows/.NET applications that run your typical enterprise, Azure will be king.

I’m at the PDC in LA today and in packed sessions of enterprise developers and ISVs who are genuinely excited about moving their Windows workloads to the cloud. Azure is not targeted towards the big SaaS/Web 2.0/Facebook app crowd. Instead, they are going after the enterprise users who drive the bulk of spending in the tech market. …

Chris Hoff’s Just A Reflective Bookmark: Microsoft’s Azure…The Dark Horse Emergeth… post of 11/17/2009 warns:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

“Don’t underestimate Microsoft and the potential disruption Azure will deliver.*”

You might not get Microsoft’s strategy for Azure. Heck, much of Microsoft may not get Microsoft’s strategy for Azure, but one thing is for sure: Azure will be THE platform for products, solutions and services across all mediums from Redmond moving forward. Ray Ozzie said it best at PDC:

The vision of Azure, said Ozzie, is “three screens and a cloud,” meaning internet-based data and software that plays equally well on PCs, mobile devices, and TVs.

I think the underlying message here is that while we often think of Cloud from the perspective of interacting with “data,” we should not overlook how mobility, voice and video factor into the equation…

According to Ozzie, Azure will become production live on January 1st and “six data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia will come online.” (I wonder when Amazon will announce APAC support…) …

*To be fair a year ago when Azure was announced, I don’t think any of us got Azure and I simply ignored it for the most part. Not the case any longer; it makes a ton of sense if they can execute.

Bessemer Venture Partners offers the Winter 2010 Release of Bessemer's Top 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and SaaS in conjunction with a Cloud Computing Practice Overview:

Cloud Computing EcosystemIn addition to Bessemer's long history of successful enterprise software investing, we have been particularly focused on the emergence of Cloud Computing. We believe Cloud Computing is the most important trend in the software industry of the decade. We have been fortunate to work with many of the early pioneers in this high growth market segment, and continue to invest actively to grow our current portfolio.

We believe that cloud computing is fundamentally disruptive to IT. While SaaS has defined our practice for the past decade, we are confident cloud computing will define the next and are eager to partner with entrepreneurs who are looking to capitalize on this opportunity.
Please feel free to submit your business plan or executive summary to

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Cloud Security and Governance

••• Mark O’Neill’s ENISA Cloud Computing Risk Assessment - Three Initial Thoughts post of 11/21/2009 claims “The document does well by including a focus on SMEs.”

The ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) today released the Cloud Computing Risk Assessment document.

The document does well by including a focus on SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) because, as the report says, "Given the reduced cost and flexibility it brings, a migration to cloud computing is compelling for many SMEs".

Following are abbreviated versions of Mark’s initial thoughts:

    1. The document's stated Risk Number One is Lock-In. …
    2. "Customers should not be tempted to use custom implementations of authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) as these can become weak if not properly implemented." …
    3. STRIDE and DREAD …

Mark is Chief Technology Officer of Vordel.

••• Alf Pilgrim claims New Approach Needed to Cloud Security in this 11/20/2009 post:

Arguably the greatest barrier to businesses taking full advantage of cloud computing is the issue of security. Recent high-profile breaches of the cloud (the attack on Twitter being perhaps the most publicized) have only served to heighten concerns.

It's true; the potential consequences of a breach of cloud security are catastrophic, and this knowledge has served to make the debate rage even more fiercely. A cloud security issue within an organization has the potential to be a major business crisis, and against a backdrop of heightened public awareness of data loss and privacy issues such as ID theft, it's understandable.

But there's no denying that cloud computing is gaining momentum and will continue to become more and more mainstream. This year, for example, the UK government announced that it would be developing a cloud infrastructure (the ‘G-Cloud'), and the offer of flexible, low-cost and easily scalable IT means that many businesses are relying more and more heavily on cloud-based applications, storage and security.

The result is that the industry must get to grips with the security concerns. Fast. …

Alf Pilgrim is CTO of content security company, Clearswift.

•• Chris Hoff (@Beaker) analyzes the European Network and Information Security Agency’s 124-page cloud security report in his ENISA launches Cloud Computing Security Risk Assessment Document post of 11/20/2009:

… At first glance it’s an excellent read and will be a fantastic accompaniment to the the CSA’s guidance.  I plan to dig into it more over the weekend.  I really appreciate the risk assessment approach which allows folks to prioritize their efforts on understanding the relevant high-level issues associed with Cloud.

Very well done.  I look forward to seeing how CSA and ENISA can further work together on upcoming projects!  I think the European perspective will help bring some balance and alternative views on Cloud in regards to legal and compliance issues specifically.

You can find the document here.

ENISA-LOGOENISA, supported by a group of subject matter expert comprising representatives from Industries, Academia and Governmental Organizations, has conducted, in the context of the Emerging and Future Risk Framework project, an risks assessment on cloud computing business model and technologies. The result is an in-depth and independent analysis that outlines some of the information security benefits and key security risks of cloud computing. The report provide also a set of practical recommendations. …

@Beaker’s Cloud Security: Dilbert Style delivers a Dilbert strip about cloud computing security.

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Cloud Computing Events

•• James Hamilton announced in his ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing post of 11/20/2009:

I’m on the program committee for the ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing. The conference will be held June 10th and 11th 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana. SOCC brings together database and operating systems researchers and practitioners interested in cloud computing. It is jointly sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) and the ACM Special Interest Group on Operating Systems (SIGOPS). The conference will be held in conjunction with ACM SIGMOD in 2010 and with SOSP in 2011 continuing to alternate between SIGMOD and SOSP in subsequent years.

Joe Hellerstein is the SOCC General Chair and Surajit Chaudhuri and Mendel Rosenblum are Program Chairs. The rest of the SOCC organizers are at: If you are interested in cloud computing in general and especially if you are interested in systems or database issues and their application to cloud computing, consider submitting a paper (copied below). The paper submission deadline for SOCC is January 15, 2010. Get writing!


From the ACM:

The ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing 2010 (ACM SOCC 2010) is the first in a new series of symposia with the aim of bringing together researchers, developers, users, and practitioners interested in cloud computing. This series is co-sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Groups on Management of Data (ACM SIGMOD) and on Operating Systems (ACM SIGOPS). ACM SOCC will be held in conjunction with ACM SIGMOD and ACM SOSP Conferences in alternate years, starting with ACM SIGMOD in 2010.

•• Sift Media, publisher of BusinessCloud9, announce its inaugural Business Cloud Summit, taking place on Wednesday 2 December 2009 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, UK:

Investment in Cloud Computing is set to soar for 2009. A recent Gartner report estimated that worldwide cloud services revenue will increase 21% this year to exceed $56.3 billion, and will rise to more than $150 billion by 2013.

"Much of the growth represents a transfer of traditional IT Services to the new Cloud model, but there is also scope for creation of substantial new businesses and revenue streams," Ben Pring, research vice president for Gartner, said in a statement. "Services supported by advertising are currently, and will remain, the largest component of the overall Cloud services market through 2013."

Channel9 reports that for the First Time Ever! Channel 9 to Broadcast LIVE from PDC09:

As announced in the live broadcast of the Countdown to PDC09 Show, the Channel 9 team will be broadcasting LIVE and unscripted from the PDC Big Room for all three days of the Professional Developers Conference 2009.

The broadcast will be presented in live smooth-streaming, powered by IIS7 and Silverlight.  We’ve never done anything like this before, so tune in to see what happens when we go LIVE. 

The When/Where/How of Joining us LIVE at PDC09…

  • Starting at approximately 10:30 AM PST each day (or following keynote address on Nov 17 and 18) the Channel 9 team will interview conference presenters, technical leaders, industry luminaries, partners and the Channel 9 community via live broadcast on
  • At any point throughout the broadcast, home viewers and conference attendees can contribute to and help guide the conversation by sending a tweet to @ch9live.

Virtual TechDaysseventh edition, held in India on 11/11 to 11/13/2009, included Windows Azure and Cloud Computing tracks on 11/11 and 11/13/2009 respectively. Videos of the sessions are expected this week.

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

•• John Treadway’s Amazon Adding Active Directory Support (mini-scoop) of 11/18/2009 reports:

I was surprised to find an Amazon Web Services booth at the Microsoft PDC yesterday.  They had nothing specific to say regarding additional Windows support or capabilities – at least not officially.  What I did get was a wink-wink, nudge, nudge when I commented on Azure’s integration with Active Directory and other touchpoints.  “This is coming soon,” I was then told.  Then they saw that I had a media badge and that ended the discussion…

Looks like the enterprise is the battleground – which was only a matter of time.  Following the great enterprise roadmap preview I saw last week at the RightScale user meeting in Santa Clara, this is quickly becoming a great market for business computing.

•• Phil Smith announced in an Access to live demo account (read-only) post of 11/18/2009:

Cloud Testing is giving access to it’s live demo account for a limited time. All you have to do is visit the Cloud Testing live demo launch page for details of how to access the portal.

The access is restricted to being read-only, so you cannot upload or run new tests, however a Free Trial is available if you would like to do this – just sign up for a Free Trial.

The free trial offers these features:

    • There is no limit on the number of user logins that you can create for your account.
    • There is no limit on the number of projects.
    • Your Free Trial account will be provided with 10 Testing Credits, allowing you to perform 10 runs of any script in your account.
    • There is no limit on the number of scripts that you can record and upload.
    • The trial is valid for 7 days.
    • The account provided can be used for both Functional Testing and Cross Browser Testing.

John Moore reports Covisint Jumps onto PaaS Bandwagon in this 11/15/2009 post:

A couple of weeks ago Chilmark Research did a small piece on the need for HIE vendors to move beyond silo’d standalone exchanges to a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model.  In the write-up, the HIE vendor Axolotl was mentioned for their recent announcement of a third party image viewing app that was now available on their platform.  In speaking with Axolotl’s President, Glenn Keet, he stated that this was the first app of many that would eventually be hosted on the platform. As Keet rightly put it; there are far too many needs in healthcare for any one vendor to satisfy and that partnershps wil be critical moving forward.

As a result of that post, Chilmark received several private emails from HIE vendors all stating that they were on a similar track to Axolotl’s.  One of those who contacted us was Covisint, who announced their AppCloud last week.  (for more background on Covisint, see the piece we wrote over a year ago) written We had a briefing with Covisint late last week and Covisint was kind enough to send us their slide deck from the Healthcare IT Summit where they announced AppCloud. …

Axolotl sounds to me like the name of an Aztec deity or a volcano in Mexico.

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