Monday, January 11, 2010

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 1/8/2010+

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

Updated 1/10/2009 with: Jeff Hardy: Iron Python Worker Roles for Windows Azure; Windows Azure Team: Operating System Versioning in Windows Azure; Brent Stineman: Activating MSDN Windows Azure Platform Benefits; David Kearns: Identity issues for 2010; Denise Dubie: IT service providers will reach for the cloud in 2010; David Sayed: How to Retrieve Files from Silverlight Live Streaming (SLS) and Post to Windows Azure; Krishnan Subramanian: Cloudcamp Seattle - Cloudcamp Comes Back To Seattle; Bruce Kyle: First Look at Workflow in .NET 4; Stephen Forte: Predictions for 2010 Part III- The Cloud; Brad Calder: Introducing the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network; and JoeV: Gartner Interview with Ray Ozzie.

Moved the following articles and others marked on 1/8/2010 from Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 1/6/2010+ because that issue ran way too long:

Bob Evans: Global CIO: Cloud Computing's Deadly Vulnerability--And How To Avoid It; Ellen Rubin: 2010 is the Year of the Federated Cloud Computing; David Linthicum: Why CIOs should give the cloud a chance; Dion Hinchcliffe: Fixing IT in the cloud computing era; Lori MacVittie: Pursuit of Intercloud is Practical not Premature; David Robinson: Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for MySQL CTP1; Keith Ward: Editor's Note: Two Guys in the Cloud; Jonathan Wiggs: Cloud Security: Crypto Services and Data Security in Windows Azure; Kevin Hoffman: Cloud Storage: Fueling Your Application's Engine with Windows Azure Storage; Thomas Erl, Arman Kurtagic and Herbjörn Wilhelmsen: Cloud Patterns: Designing and Deploying Services for Windows Azure; Dom Green: Message Queue – What’s In A Name?; and Kathleen Richards: Reaching the [Azure] Cloud: App Dev from the Ground Up.

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; these chapters will be updated for the November CTP in January 2010. 
* Content for managing DataHubs will be added as Microsoft releases more details on data synchronization services for SQL Azure and Windows Azure.

Off-Topic: This is about the 150th post in the Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for M/D/YYYY series. See also OakLeaf Blog Joins Technorati’s “Top 100 InfoTech” List on 10/24/2009. Last I looked, it’s still on the list.

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

David Sayed started a series of illustrated tutorials for Hosting Videos on Windows Azure on 1/7/2010:

This is going to be a series of long posts. With Silverlight Live Streaming ( being discontinued, I thought I’d write up the detailed steps required to host videos using Windows Azure. Since many people who host videos using Silverlight Live Streaming are not technical or development-inclined and rely on the Expression Encoder and Windows Live Writer plug-ins to automate the publishing process, I wrote these posts to suit that audience. In other words, if you can read, understand and follow the steps below, you will be able to host videos on Windows Azure. So don’t be put off by the length and wordiness of these posts – I tried to be explicit to the point of stating the obvious!

Following are links to the posts available as of 1/9/2010 in sequence:

    1. Hosting Videos on Windows Azure
    2. Provisioning Windows Azure
    3. Setting up Windows Azure for video storage
    4. Creating and Publishing a Silverlight Video to Windows Azure
    5. Embedding a Silverlight Video in a Blog
    6. Firefox Information for Hosting Video on Azure
    7. How to Retrieve Files from Silverlight Live Streaming (SLS) and Post to Windows Azure

Jerry Huang pitches Gladinet Cloud Desktop in his Why Backup Google Docs To Windows Azure Storage? post of 1/9/2010:

If I have documents sitting in a cloud storage such as Google Docs, why do I need to back it up to a different cloud storage such as Azure Storage?

Maybe because I need the peace of mind that I can access it the moment I need to.

Or in some countries, access to one may be blocked such as in China for Google Docs and Google Picasa. Or maybe some days, one may go down as part of the cloud computing growing pain. Anyway, it is a good practice to back up.

This article will show you how to backup your Google Docs files on a daily basis to another cloud storage.

See Ben Day offers Windows Azure Sample Code – A Real Application in the Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses section.

• Kevin Hoffman and Nathan Dudek co-authored Cloud Storage: Fueling Your Application's Engine with Windows Azure Storage for MSDN Magazine’s January 2010 Cloud Computing issue:

Yes, you can run background processes in the cloud. Kevin Hoffman and Nate Dudek use a shopping cart example to demonstrate how to build an application engine as well as implement asynchronous messaging and processing using Azure Storage.

• Dom Green asks Message Queue – What’s In A Name? and answers “All letters in a queue name must be lowercase” in this 1/8/2010 post:

One things I am constantly falling into the trap of doing is naming my message queues using camel casing when naming my queues giving names such as “mySuperQueue” which ends up throwing the below error. Which because it gives us very little information tends to lead to me debugging the code for a while before I remember that capitals and other special characters are not allowed in queue names.

Dom provides a simple C# RegEx snippet to test the validity of your queue names.

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

David Robinson reported SQL Azure North Europe is Online on 1/8/2009:

It’s been great to see the enthusiasm of people looking forward to using the entire Windows Azure Platform in Europe.

I’m happy to announce that SQL Azure is now available in North Europe.

Starting today, when creating a new SQL Azure server there will now be three options in the region drop down South Central US, East Asia, and North Europe.

Dave didn’t state the location, but I’m betting that it’s the Dublin, not the Amsterdam, data center.

Jayaram Krishnaswamy reviews Microsoft’s CTP of its SQL Server Migration Assistant 2008 for MySQL v1.0 in his Bridging the computing clouds with SSMA2008 post of 1/9/2010:

Well, for various reasons you may be willing (wanting) to place a part of your stuff on Microsoft Azure and part on the Amazon Cloud. In fact it is a repetition of the same story of the bygone era, some data on Microsoft platform, some on Oracle etc. Sooner or later you want to move data from one to the other. Of course there are the integration tools that can handle this. But there are others who specialize in migration of data.

Microsoft went relational with its flagship SQL Server 2008 ported out to the clouds with SQL Azure. Soon Amazon followed with its relational offering based on MySQL.

Now Microsoft has released SQL Server Migration Assistant 2008 for MySQL v1.0 in CTP1. This is a toolkit that you may use to migrate your MySQL data to SQL Server 2008 and SQL Azure.

This is a nice one way bridge to SQL Azure from Amazon's MySQL. [Emphasis Jayaram’s.]

There’s also a SQL Server Migration Assistant 2005 for MySQL v1.0 Community Technology Preview 1.

• David Robinson announced the availability of Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for MySQL CTP1 in this 1/7/2010 post:

Just a quick update that we just released the Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant 2008 for MySQL v1.0 CTP1. Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) 2008 is a toolkit that dramatically cuts the effort, cost, and risk of migrating from MySQL to SQL Server 2008 and SQL Azure. SSMA 2008 for MySQL v1.0 CTP1 provides an assessment of migration efforts as well as automates schema and data migration.

The tool can be downloaded here.

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AppFabric: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

•• Bruce Kyle’s First Look at Workflow in .NET 4 offers an overview of the next generation Windows Workflow Foundation with a list and brief description of its new features. Bruce observes that .NET 4 Workflow is part of Windows AppFabric (formerly codenamed “Dublin”).

Microsoft removed .NET 3.5 Workflow from .NET Services, but Bruce doesn’t mention how .NET 4.0 fits into the Azure AppFabric picture. I’ve asked in a comment to Bruce’s post.

•• David Kearns assets “Industry insiders agree that cloud computing security will be a major topic in the year ahead” in his Identity issues for 2010 article of 1/5/2010 for NetworkWorld:

Today I want to focus on the topic that was most popular -- cloud computing and identity. …

Ping Identity CEO Andre Durand is frequently out front in predicting IdM's future. He told me: "…big companies used 2009 to line up their cloud identity/security strategies. In 2010 they will start to make moves to shore up and accelerate those plans."

This was echoed by Novell's Justin Steinman (vice president of solution and product marketing), who said: "2010 will be the year that we take identity into the clouds. Everyone in the industry is excited about using cloud computing." However, he also voiced some major concerns about these moves, adding: "But what about the security concerns? How do you control who has access to what data in the cloud? How do you ensure that roles are enforced? How do you provision and, more importantly, de-provision identity in the cloud?" …

Stefan Miltchev delivers an Introduction to Token Issuance Authorization in AD FS 2.0 RC in this 1/8/2010 post to the “Geneva” Team blog:

In this post we cover a new feature introduced in the Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS ) 2.0 RC - support for token issuance authorization. One of the main functions of the product in this and previous releases has been to provide a centralized point for authentication. Let’s try to briefly explain the distinction between the two: while authentication is the act of verifying the identity of a person, authorization is the act of determining whether the person can perform an action on a resource. In the scope of the AD FS 2.0 RC, the action is obtaining a token, while the resource is the relying party that the token is destined to.

Brian Loesgren’s Azure Integration - Part 1: Creating an ESB on-ramp that receives from Azure&rsquo;s AppFabric Service Bus is the first of a series of three detailed tutorials, which include use of the Azure AppFabric’s Service Bus:

I am going to do a series of three blog posts (and accompanying videos) about how to integrate BizTalk and Azure. As you know, Azure is in the process of going live, and BizTalk can play a very compelling role bridging between on-premise and off-premise.

This post shows two key interactions with the Windows Azure platform AppFabric Service Bus:

  • receiving a message from the Service Bus through a BizTalk receive location
  • publishing to the Service Bus from an InfoPath form

It is the first point that I think illustrates what will become a VERY commonly used pattern. This sample is based on the Order Demo I created previously, and you can go watch those videos first to get a sense of what the demo is. It brings together BizTalk, SharePoint, ESB Toolkit, SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, InfoPath… and more, including showing how to use the Business Rules Engine for dynamic itinerary selection (a favorite pattern of mine). I blogged about that here. I like it because it’s a “SharePoint-based ESB-driven BizTalk-powered workflow”, really leveraging the power of the Microsoft stack.

The video for this blog post is available here at the MSDN BizTalk Developer site.

• Ellen Rubin writes 2010 is the Year of the Federated Cloud Computing in a 1/8/2010 post: “Also known as hybrid clouds, the notion of federation has been around since cloud computing began:”

In this first post of 2010, I’d like to look at one of the most important cloud issues that enterprises want to tackle: federation in the cloud — across clouds and between the cloud and the data center. Also known as hybrid clouds, the notion of federation has been around since cloud computing began, but as a long-term vision rather than a working solution. This year that gap is going to close. …

Ellen continues with the answer to “What Is Cloud Federation?”

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Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

•• Jeff Hardy’s Iron Python Worker Roles for Windows Azure post of 1/10/2010 begins:

Curiosity has finally got the better of me and I've started looking into Windows Azure again. It's matured quite a bit since I looked at it last year and now looks like a pretty solid platform to work with.

Aside from using NWSGI to write a web role (which I'll show later), I wanted to see if it was possible to write a worker role in Python. Happily, it is, and it's not that complicated. In fact, it's pretty similar to how NWSGI works – load up a Python file and run some functions.

Jeff continues with “Worker Role Requirements,” “The Implementation,” “Doing Actual Work,” and “Using the Code” sections.

•• Brent Stineman explains Activating MSDN Windows Azure Platform Benefits in this detailed 1/10/2010 post.

Brent’s description has more text than my How to Create and Activate a New Windows Azure and SQL Azure Account or Upgrade an Existing Account post of 1/7/2010, but my explanation has more screen captures.

•• Brad Calder’s Introducing the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network post of 11/5/2009, which I missed when published, provides a brief description and tutorial of the Azure CDN:

As part of the Windows Azure CTP, we are announcing the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver Windows Azure Blob content. Windows Azure CDN offers developers a global solution for delivering high-bandwidth content.

Windows Azure CDN has 18 locations globally (United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America) and continues to expand. Windows Azure CDN caches your Windows Azure blobs at strategically placed locations to provide maximum bandwidth for delivering your content to users. You can enable CDN delivery for any storage account via the Windows Azure Developer Portal. The CDN provides edge delivery only to blobs that are in public blob containers, which are available for anonymous access.

The benefit of using a CDN is better performance and user experience for users who are farther from the source of the content stored in the Windows Azure Blob service. In addition, Windows Azure CDN provides worldwide high-bandwidth access to serve content for popular events.

When you enable CDN access for a storage account, the Windows Azure portal provides you with a domain name of the following format: http:/ /<guid> This domain name can then be used to access blobs in a public container. For example, given a public container “images” and a storage account “cohowinery”, once the storage account is enabled for CDN access, users can access the blobs in that container using either of the following two URLs:

  • Windows Azure Blob service URL:
  • Windows Azure CDN URL: http://<guid>

My December 2009 Uptime Reports for OakLeaf Azure Demos Running in the South Central US Data Center post of 1/9/2010 shows 100.00% uptime for the last week of December 2009.

Congratulations to the Windows Azure and Microsoft Data Center teams!

Test conditions were the same as those for November 2009 Uptime Reports for OakLeaf Azure Demos Running in the South Central US Data Center, except that the AzureTable test harness was reduced from 2 to 1 instance so as to be comparable to AzureBlob and AzureQueue results.

Kip Kniskern’s Hosting videos using Windows Azure and Silverlight: step by step (we need this!) post of 1/8/2010 to the blog begins:

As you may have noticed, we’ve been working hard on getting ready for the year to come, including moving to a new web host, working on the themes, adding Disqus comments, and hopefully generally cleaning up our act.  Last summer we were thrown for a bit of a loop when MSN Soapbox closed down, and we were left to fend for ourselves with our series of video interviews.

windows_azure_small+ silverlight+LiveSideLogoLS2010 ?!!

As we’ve gotten over several hurdles in getting LiveSide freshened up, we’ve been thinking a lot about those videos (and hopefully more to come).  Of course Windows Azure and Silverlight are the way to go, but with a lot on our plates already, the task of moving them up to the cloud seemed a bit daunting.  But even though Steve Ballmer is on YouTube, we’d really rather not, thank you very much.

So thanks to Twitter and Abhishek Baxi, a Softie from India, a blog post that’s going to help a lot just dropped in our laps tonight.  David Sayed has taken the time to put together a series of long but step by step posts on “Hosting Videos on Windows Azure”, exactly what we needed!

Ben Day offers Windows Azure Sample Code – A Real Application in this illustrated post of 1/8/2010:

We here at Benjamin Day Consulting, Inc have been working on creating a training course for Windows Azure.  Rather than just showing the students how to do basic skills and coding with Windows Azure and Azure Storage, I wanted to be able to make some architectural recommendations and be able to describe the best practices for not just coding but also unit testing.  (Just because Windows Azure is a new technology doesn’t mean that developers should ignore known and established best practices, right?)  So, this pretty much meant that we had to write a real application.

What we wrote was a content management system to run and maintain a web site.  Download the source code.

I’ll be writing more about this code (hopefully) over the next few months. …

Ben continues with a list of the application’s goals and a link to Download the source code. 

Mitch Milam announces he’s joining the Azure-hosted CRM fray in his Working with Windows Azure and CRM Online post of 1/9/2010:

One of my new ventures will be run on Windows Azure and store data in CRM Online. This will require that I use the Microsoft.crm.sdk.dll assemblies to communicate with CRM.

Technically, there are four sets of these assemblies in the SDK:

  • One set for CRM On-premise
  • One set for CRM Online. 
  • 32-bit versions
  • 64-bit versions

Mitch goes on to describe how he had to configure Visual Studio to properly generate his new web site.

Joannes Vermorel’s Lokad.Translate v1.0 released (and best wishes for 2010) post of 1/9/2010 announces:

A few weeks ago, I have been discussing the idea of continuous localization. In summary, the whole point is to do for localization (either websites or webapps) what is done by the continuous integration server.

Obviously, the translation itself should be done by professional translators, as automated translation tools are still light years away from the required quality.

Beyond this aspect, nearly all the mundane steps involved in localization works can be automated.

This project has taken the shape of an open-source contribution codenamed Lokad.Translate. This webapp is based on ASP.NET MVC / C# / NHibernate and targets Windows Azure.

This first release comes as a single-tenant app. We are hosting our own instance at but if you want start using Lokad.Translate, you will need to setup your own.

Joannes continues with an estimate of the cost of hosting Lokad.Translate in Windows Azure (less than $200 per month) and a comment:

Obviously, that's a pretty steep pricing for a small webapp. It's not surprising that Make it less expensive to run my very small service on Azure comes as the No1 community most-voted feature.

Yet, I think the situation will improve within 2010. Many host cloud provider[s] such as [Rackspace] are already featuring small VMs that would be vastly sufficient for a single tenant version of Lokad.Translate. Considering that Microsoft will be offering similar VMs at some point, it would already drop the price around $30.

If we add also that CPU pricing isn't going to stay stuck at $0.12 forever, the hosting price of Lokad.Translate is likely to drop significantly within 2010.

Arthur Cole lists Five Ways to Use the Cloud Right Now in this 1/8/2010 post to the ITBusinessEdge site:

The cloud represents the future of IT, one in which all manner of resource configurations can be provisioned and decommissioned practically at a moment's notice to suit whatever data needs are knocking at the door.

But before we get there, the cloud will have to address more immediate concerns, if only to make itself useful as the long-term architectures work their way through the development process. After all, if the cloud can't do the simple things more efficiently and at lower cost today, how will we ever be able to entrust it to the more complex functions of tomorrow?

Following is an abbreviated list of the “five ways:”

  1. Storage …
  2. Application Development …
  3. Backup and Recovery …
  4. Data Integration …
  5. Database Management …

Kathleen RichardsReaching the [Azure] Cloud: App Dev from the Ground Up cover article of 1/8/2010 for Visual Studio Magazine’s January 2010 issue begins:

Starting this month, .NET apps and their components can live and access resources in a spectrum of servers and services that spans on-premises to the cloud.

"Windows Azure at its core is Windows," asserted Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, during a keynote at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2009 (PDC09) in November, when the Windows Azure cloud-computing platform and SQL Azure relational data storage were officially launched. "It's Windows Server. You should think of it as a vast, homogeneous array of Windows Server hardware and virtualized Windows Server instances, and all these servers are under the control of a sophisticated, highly parallel management system called the Azure Fabric Controller, which you can kind of think of as an extension of System Center's management capabilities in the enterprise," he explained.

"With Windows Azure, Windows Server and System Center, there's one coherent model of managing this infrastructure as a service across Microsoft's public cloud to private cloud to clouds of our partners who host," Ozzie said. He went on to describe Windows Azure for developers as a "model-based extension to Visual Studio" that enables coders to use their existing skills in SQL, IIS, ASP.NET and .NET.

With Microsoft's cloud-computing platform available for production use Jan. 1 -- billing starts in February -- many developers will be asked to explore the opportunities afforded by running apps or components in cloud scenarios. …

She continues with an up-to-date report on the status of the Azure Services Platform release to the Web, its Windows Azure and SQL Azure components, scalable table and blob storage, Azure AppFabric, Windows AppFabric, Codename “Dallas” and Project “Sydney.” You’ll also find numerous comments from me in Kate’s story.

Kate also wrote a Microsoft Begins Commercial Rollout of Azure Cloud Services article on 1/6/2010 for

• Keith Ward evedrops on a conversation between a Chevron developer and an employee of a vendor that makes Salesforce plug-in during the bus-ride to LAX after PDC in his Editor's Note: Two Guys in the Cloud for MSDN Magazine’s January 2010 “Cloud Computing” issue:

Microsoft made a big Azure splash at its Professional Developer's Conference last fall. An overheard conversation gives insight on how developers see the potential of the cloud. …

For one thing, they were both intensely interested in the potential of the cloud, which is certainly music to Microsoft’s ears. The Chevron guy was unsure of how much it could do for his company, but it sounds like he got a lot more information at the show. The vendor was much more well-versed in the cloud, of course, and seemed very knowledgeable in particular about Windows Azure.

Chevron Guy had some experience with both Amazon’s cloud offering and Windows Azure. He said something very interesting. He liked both, but liked Windows Azure more—a good bit more. In fact, he said he’d probably drop his work with Amazon to move to Windows Azure. “Azure is a lot further along than I thought it was,” he said.

Vendor Guy agreed. “I can confirm that,” he said, or words very close to that effect. Chevron Guy mentioned how fast Windows Azure was. Vendor Guy said he’d seen the same thing. “Maybe it’s because we’re the only two people on it,” he joked. They were both impressed with Windows Azure, even though Chevron Guy thought cloud computing would really pick up when it could be more useful. He sees it more as a solution in search of a problem. …

Keith concludes with a discussion of how the magazine’s January articles “sort out some Windows Azure and cloud issues for you.”

• Thomas Erl, Arman Kurtagic and Herbjörn Wilhelmsen co-authored Cloud Patterns: Designing and Deploying Services for Windows Azure; Dom Green: Message Queue for MSDN Magazine’s January 2010 issue:

To better understand how SOA patterns can be applied to Windows Azure deployments, we walk you through a scenario in which a bank moves its services to the cloud.

My renamed and updated How to Create and Activate a New Windows Azure and SQL Azure Account or Upgrade an Existing Account post of 1/7/2010 is a detailed, fully illustrated tutorial for signing up for a paid Windows Azure or SQL Azure account with a variety of special offers, including the Introductory MSDN Premium Benefit.

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

•• The Windows Azure Team announced a new Operating System Versioning in Windows Azure feature in this 1/11/2010 post:

Customers can now choose when their applications receive new operating system updates and patches by selecting which version of the operating system their applications will run on in Windows Azure.  Right now there is only one available operating system version (released on December 17th, 2009), but new builds with the latest updates and patches will be released regularly.  This new feature allows developers to test their applications when new patches come out before upgrading their production deployments.

To select an operating system version for your application, add the new osVersion attribute to your service configuration file.  The full list of available operating system versions is maintained in the Configuring Operating System Versions topic in the Windows Azure MSDN documentation.

Because of its importance, the preceding post will be repeated in Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 1/11/2010+.

•• Stephen Forte offers Predictions for 2010 Part III- The Cloud in this 1/10/2010 post:

Last week I started to made some predictions on the future of Microsoft development for 2010. I said 2010 will be remembered as a “tipping point” year for three things in the Microsoft developer space. I am not saying that on December 31st, 2010 you will sit back and say I am right on all of these, but I am saying that by December 31st, 2011 or 2012 you will. That said, 2010 will be the tipping point for:

Last week I talked about moving beyond .NET and BI for the masses, today, I will talk about the cloud. …

January 1 ushered in a  new year as well as the availability of a new service from Microsoft: Azure. With the Windows and SQL Azure services available commercially, one could predict that 2010 will be the year of the cloud. While I don’t think that developers are going to push .NET applications up into the cloud in masse in 2010, I do suspect that adoption will be higher than most people realize, but the ultimate customers who adopt the service may surprise you.

In 2010 the early adopters of Windows and SQL Azure will be large corporation’s “departmental” applications. Sure we will see a bunch of startups begin to use Azure, however, there will only be significant traction after the platform is out a little longer and maybe after a potential billing policy change. Applications built under the radar of the corporate IT department by external consultants and departmental programmers will lead the way, just as Access and Visual Basic did almost 20 years ago. [Emphasis added.] …

I find the “Access and Visual Basic” allegory interesting, especially with my long history with Microsoft Access (from the “Cirrus” beta) and Visual Basic (from the “Rawhide” beta).

•• JoeV’s Gartner Interview with Ray Ozzie post of 1/10/2010 points to a 10/30/2009 Gartner Fellows Interview With Microsoft's Ray Ozzie on Cloud Computing, which I missed when published. From the Gartner post:

Cloud-based computing will fundamentally transform how enterprises procure and consume technology solutions. Vendors such as Microsoft, which rely almost exclusively on revenue from traditional shrink-wrapped software, are threatened by the shift, but must embrace the technological and business model discontinuities. At this critical transition point for Microsoft, and nearly a year after Microsoft publicly disclosed its cloud-computing strategy, Gartner Fellows Neil MacDonald and David Smith met with Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie to talk about how Microsoft and the industry have progressed during the past year, and to look ahead at what's next for cloud computing.

Key Findings

  • Ozzie's (and thus, Microsoft's) vision of cloud computing emphasizes hybrid enterprise/cloud computing, where organizations choose when and where computing takes place locally versus in cloud-based infrastructure, and emphasizes that the on-premises and cloud-based solutions work seamlessly together.
  • As with early encryption issues, Ozzie believes that security and privacy issues will be addressed as the industry matures in a combination of legislative advances, as well as industry cooperation.
  • Ozzie's vision for cloud computing includes system infrastructure, an application platform and finished applications being delivered as a service.
  • Microsoft is investing in its own data centers because it must in order to provide its consumer-based services. It believes it is helping to lead the industry in providing innovations in data center architectures.
  • Ozzie believes the future of cloud computing is in the experience delivered via a browser across multiple devices — mobile, PC and TV-type screens — which is a vision he refers to as "three screens and a cloud."


  • Use this discussion to better understand the vision behind Microsoft's cloud-based strategy and how it differs from other cloud-based providers.

JoeV currently works as a Technology Strategist for Microsoft UK in the Communications Sector.

•• Denise Dubie concludes on 1/5/2010 that IT service providers will reach for the cloud in 2010 because “Outsourcing industry watcher predicts IT service providers will use the cloud to reach more SMB customers:”

Despite the economic recession that started in 2008, many IT service providers didn't see the expected boon to business in 2009. Some outsourcers struggled to a degree alongside the rest of the high-tech industry, but IT services experts say they started to see a return to growth toward the end of 2009. That means 2010 could find many outsourcing providers taking advantage of hot technology trends such as cloud computing to sell their services into smaller IT shops. Mike Slavin, partner and practice leader for Global IT Advisory Services at outsourcing industry advisory and consulting firm TPI, shares his take on the coming year and the outsourcing industry with Network World Senior Editor Denise Dubie.

Paul Krill reports “Management of cloud assets requires protocols, standards, and research, Internet protocol designer says” in his 1/8/2010 Cerf urges standards for cloud computing post to InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing blog:

Vint Cerf, a co-designer of the Internet's TCP/IP protocols and considered a father of the Internet itself, emphasized the need for data portability standards for cloud computing during an appearance on Thursday evening.

There are different clouds from companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Google, but a lack of interoperability between them, Cerf explained at a session of the Churchill Club business and technology organization in Menlo Park, Calif.

"At some point, it makes sense for somebody to say, 'I want to move my data from cloud A to cloud B,' " but the different clouds do not know each other, he said.

"We don't have any inter-cloud standards," Cerf said.  The current cloud situation is similar to the lack of communication and familiarity among computer networks in 1973, said Cerf, who is vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google.

It’s assumed that by “data portability standards,” Vint means “Google data standards.”

Mamoon Yunus comments on Paul’s article in his Multi-Cloud Mayhem post of 1/8/2010 and concludes with a sales pitch for his company’s cloud gateway.

K. Scott Morrison’s How to Secure REST and JSON post of 1/8/2009 is a sales pitch for Layer 7’s SecureSpan Gateway:

Here at Layer 7 we get asked a lot about our support for REST. We actually have a lot to offer to secure, monitor and manage REST-style transactions. The truth is, although we really like SOAP and XML here at Layer 7, we also really like REST and alternative data encapsulations like JSON. We use both REST and JSON all the time in our own development.

Suppose you have a REST-based service that you would like to publish to the world, but you are concerned about access control, confidentiality, integrity, and the risk from incoming threats. We have an answer for this: SecureSpan Gateway clusters, deployed in the DMZ, give you the ability to implement run time governance across all of your services:

Pictures are nice, but this scenario is best understood using a concrete example. For the services, Yahoo’s REST-based search API offers us everything we need–it even returns results in JSON format, instead of XML. Yahoo has a great tutorial describing how to use this. The tutorial is a little dated, but it’s simple, to the point, and the REST service is still available. Let’s imagine that I’m deploying a SecureSpan Gateway in front of the servers hosting this API, as I’ve illustrated above. The first thing I will do is create a very simple policy that just implements a reverse proxy. No security yet–just a level of indirection (click on the picture for detail): …

William Vambenepe posted his Backward-compatible vs. forward-compatible: a tale of two clouds essay on 1/7/2010:

There is the Cloud that provides value by requiring as few changes as possible. And there is the Cloud that provides value by raising the abstraction and operation level. The backward-compatible Cloud versus the forward-compatible Cloud.

The main selling point of the backward-compatible Cloud is that you can take your existing applications, tools, configurations, customizations, processes etc and transition them more or less as they are. It’s what allowed hypervisors to spread so quickly in the enterprise.

The main selling point of the forward-compatible Cloud is that you are more productive and focused. Fewer configuration items to worry about, fewer stack components to install/monitor/update, you can focus on your application and your business goals. You develop and manage at the level of application concepts, not systems. Bottom line, you write and deploy applications more quickly, cheaply and reliably.

To a large extent this maps to the distinction between IaaS and PaaS, but it’s not that simple. For example, a PaaS that endeavors to be a complete JEE environment is mainly aiming for the backward-compatible value proposition. On the other hand, EC2 spot instances, while part of the IaaS layer, are of the forward-compatible kind: not meant to run your current applications unchanged, but rather to give you ways to create applications that better align with your business goals.

His Taxonomy of Cloud Computing Benefits post of 1/6/2009 is also well worth reading.

• Lori MacVittie asserts Pursuit of Intercloud is Practical not Premature in this 1/8/2010 post:

Kicking of the new year (and a new decade) with a lively debate on a technological concept that is barely out of its infancy is always a good thing. Fred Cummins over at HP recently penned “Pursuit of the Intercloud is Premature” and caught the eye of several of us for whom Intercloud is near and dear and, I think, provided a great way to start off the year by declaring the concept of Intercloud “not yet worthy of concern”. 

blockquote If this elastic mesh is provided by a single cloud provider, then it is simply a different spin on cloud computing.  If it is a mesh of independent cloud providers, sharing workloads, then it is a vision that is not worth concern within the next decade. [emphasis added]

I’m going to have to disagree with Fred for two reasons. The first is based on the rate of change and innovation in technology in the last decade that certainly points to the next decade being just as disruptive. Consider that ten years ago, in the year 2000, most of the web as it exists today – Web 2.0, APIs, integration, collaboration, video, audio, user-generated content – didn’t exist. From a technology perspective virtualization wasn’t even a twinkle in a VC’s eye and in the infrastructure world, well, we were just beginning to explore the advantages of moving software-based solutions to hardware and hadn’t fully managed to integrate infrastructure solutions let alone anything else. …

Lori continues with a detailed analysis of why the Intercloud is ready for prime time now.

• Bob Evans describes Global CIO: Cloud Computing's Deadly Vulnerability--And How To Avoid It on page 2 of this 1/8/2010 post to InformationWeek’s Global CIO blog. So as not to spoil the suspense, here’s Bob’s lead only:

At several events in which I've been involved with more than 40 CIOs over the past few months, the most-talked about subject was cloud computing and the second-place topic was miles behind. Vendors of every stripe—from IBM and HP to Microsoft and Oracle to Riverbed and Informatica to Wipro and Capgemini and many many more—have developed full-blown strategies for building out cloud infrastructures, services, platforms, strategies, integration, and products. …

James Urquhart said in a 1/10/2010 tweet: “Infoweek article: the ‘deadly’ is hype … Used hype to promote avoiding hype ... hoped for more.” I agree.

• Dion Hinchcliffe describes Fixing IT in the cloud computing era in a 1/7/2010 post to the Enterprise Irregulars blog:

Will Cloud Computing Augment or Largely Replace Modern IT?

The reality of cloud computing as it exists today already offers significant potential to IT departments that want to cut costs, lighten their infrastructure footprint, and adopt agile new technologies. Whether it’s private clouds or public ones, all signs point towards it being one of the top new approaches for enterprise IT for 2010.

It’s also not inconvenient that this is coming right at a time when traditional enterprise models for IT have come under increasingly sharp criticism for failure to perform, including most recently SOA and just about any kind of “cathedral-style” enterprise project these days.

Most would agree that something needs to change, and the cloud might actually be the first compelling way out of a long-standing conundrum: How can we connect information technology directly to the business in a much more effective and less failure-prone way than we do now?

Unfortunately, actual change isn’t necessarily in the air yet, it’s mostly still on the edge at the moment as actual disruption just starts to build up. I’m still seeing little inclination on the ground to change today’s enterprise IT habits despite mounting evidence that they need to. But that may be about to change, one way or another. Cloud computing is increasingly in a position to be a game-changer both as a key departure point and a line of demarcation between the old and potentially new worlds of information technology in the 21st century.

• David Linthicum explains Why CIOs should give the cloud a chance in a 1/7/2010 post to InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing blog: “Cloud computing seems scary to many, but with a few practical steps, most can find value within the clouds:”

It seems that somebody asked the CIOs if cloud computing was on their radar -- and more often than not, it wasn't. Indeed more than half of the CIOs (53 percent) "fail to see how cloud computing can save them money, according to BT's Enterprise Intelligence survey."

Security concerns were the biggest barriers to the widespread consumption of cloud services, the survey report said: "The majority of CIOs (57 percent) and senior executives (53 percent) surveyed said they were not happy to run applications and store data on servers outside their country for security reasons."

The larger issue here is one of understanding. I'm not sure that the rapidly emerging cloud computing universe has done a good enough job in leading existing enterprise IT shops to cloud computing. Everyone is talking about the "why" -- leaving out the "how" and the "what." …

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Cloud Security and Governance

• Jonathan Wiggs reviews Cloud Security: Crypto Services and Data Security in Windows Azure in this article for MSDN Magazine’s January 2010 issue:

Many early adopters cloud platforms have questions about security. We review some of the cryptography services and providers in Windows Azure along with some security implications for applications in the cloud.

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Cloud Computing Events

Muhammad Mosa (@mosessaur) reports that Cairo Cloud Camp will be held in Cairo (Egypt) on 2/27 and 2/28/2010 with 12 speakers presenting 24 sessions over two days.

I hope the auto traffic in Cairo has improved since I was there (many years ago.)

Ulitzer’s Cloud News Desk reports Microsoft to Present "Patterns for Cloud Computing" at Cloud Expo: “Microsoft’s Simon Guest to discuss moving to the cloud at the largest Cloud event in the world:”

You are interested in cloud computing, but where do you start? How are vendors defining Cloud Computing? What do you need to know to figure out which applications make sense in the cloud? And is any of this real today?

In his session at the 5th International Cloud Expo, Simon Guest, the Senior Director of Technical Strategy at Microsoft, will answer these questions and explore a set of five patterns that you can use for moving to the cloud, together with working samples on Windows Azure, Google AppEngine, and Amazon EC2.

Cloudcor, Inc. asserts Cloud Slam 2010 conference invites writers, editors and industry analysts covering the fields of cloud computing and networking to attend the conference in this 1/7/2010 post:

“The Cloud Slam 2010 conference invites writers, editors and industry analysts covering the fields of cloud computing and networking to attend the conference. Cloud Slam 2010 provides an unparalleled opportunity to meet and talk with the world’s leading experts in CC.”

To encourage media coverage of the Cloud Slam 2010 conference, the conference provides up to 2 press credentials to verified media representatives from each organization.

The Cloud Slam 2010 conference welcomes working partnerships with media covering high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. Such partnerships are established with the goal of disseminating news about the conference to key audiences while helping the media organizations raise awareness of their publications among CS attendees. For More details, please visit:

Twitter URL:

Cloudcor Inc.
910-2980 Don Mills Rd,
Toronto, Ontario M2J 3B9

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

•• Krishnan Subramanian announces Cloudcamp Seattle - Cloudcamp Comes Back To Seattle in this 1/8/2010 post:

Last year I covered Cloudcamp Seattle organized at Amazon HQ here. … Well, the conversation is going to continue this year on Feb 3rd 2010 at Grand Hyatt Seattle. With Amazon ramping up their cloud computing offerings and Microsoft readying for an onslaught with Windows Azure, Seattle is the place to be right now. Cloudcamp is expected to be buzzing with folks from Microsoft and Amazon talking about the wonders of their technology. This is an ideal place for experts in cloud computing to dig deeper and there will be many sessions that could help individuals and business owners to understand how cloud computing can help them with their needs.

CloudCamp Seattle will be co-located with The Open Group Seattle this year.

The Orlando Sentinel (via TMCNews) reports Orlando goes with Google to save on e-mail on 1/9/2010:

For city officials, it means cutting annual e-mail costs by two-thirds, saving taxpayers an estimated $262,500 a year. …

Orlando will no longer need the City Hall servers it uses to run its current Lotus Notes e-mail system, or pay for the electricity those servers consume, the extra data storage to archive employee mail or the two network administrators who oversee it. [Emphasis added.] …

Google is charging $45.50 per user, or $136,500. In return, everyone from city planners to police officers will use a Web-based e-mail system similar to Google's popular Gmail, but without the advertisements that support the free consumer version. Google servers will store all city e-mail and run the application, and Google technicians -- not city employees -- will make sure it runs smoothly. …

Orlando's contract includes Google Docs, which includes word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software meant to compete directly with Microsoft Office. But Cross said the city will stick with Office for now to avoid the expense of retraining employees. (Emphasis added.)

Successful cloud implementations of e-mail services are likely to raise all cloud-computing providers’ boats.

Andre Leibovici’s Open Source Xen Hypervisor & Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) adopted by private IaaS providers – CloudCentral post of 1/9/2010 reviews a new Australian IaaS provider’s approach:

Whilst VMware reigns in the corporate world with vSphere stack, Open Enterprise-Class Cloud Infrastructures are quickly spreading across the academic community and governmental agencies.

That is no news to anyone, however slowly we are starting to see start-ups and well established corporations adopting Open Source platforms. and in some cases providing enterprise-class IaaS to general public.

Late last year I was asked to evaluate CloudCentral, an Australian IaaS start-up, and as a passionate virtualization enthusiast it was inspiring to see the adoption of Open Source Xen Hypervisor & Xen Cloud Platform (XCP).

Back in November I compared two Australian IaaS providers (Rejila and Melbourne IT) in A Bird’s-Eye Look at Cloud Computing offerings, so I suppose this is an extension of that article.

CloudCentral has created a nice and differentiated web interface to allow the management of the virtual stack. Watch the video bellow to understand it works.

CloudCentral Server Provisioning Evaluation from Andre Leibovici on Vimeo.

Michael Biddick wrote Red Hat’s Open Source Clouds In Government white paper that’s distributed by InformationWeek Analytics (site registration required):

AS GOVERNMENT IT PROFESSIONALS develop cloud computing strategies and evaluate technologies to build and deploy clouds, they must be aware of the open source options that are available. The Linux operating system, Eucalyptus clustering software, Globus Nimbus toolkit, and other open source programs are well suited for cloud computing. In this report, InformationWeek looks at the leading open source components used for cloud computing and how those pieces fit together to create elastic, on-demand IT environments. Whether government agencies are assessing internal clouds, public cloud services, or private-public hybrid cloud environments, this report shows where open source may fit into those plans. …

Michael Biddick, president and CTO of Fusion PPT, has worked with hundreds of government and commercial organizations in the development of operational management solutions.

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