Friday, February 26, 2010

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 2/26/2010+

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

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 and Databases”
  • 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 January 4, 2010 commercial release in February 2010. 

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

No significant articles today.

<Return to section navigation list> 

SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

Dave Robinson reminds SQL Azure users on 2/26/2020 about updates to online SQL Azure Documentation:

Just a quick reminder that with every Service Update (SU), our awesome user education team makes updates to the documentation up on MSDN. Come and check out the latest version of the SQL Azure Documentation on MSDN, and don’t forget to take a look at the Developer’s Guide section for examples on PHP, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, ADO.NET Data Services, and more…

Nick Hill from the MCS UK Solution Development Team explains how to run Ruby on Rails on Windows Azure with SQL Azure in this detailed, illustrated 2/26/2010 tutorial:

I was recently talking to a customer about the possibility of moving a web site from Linux to Windows Azure. The hosting costs of the application are not excessive, and the customer is happy with the service received. Nevertheless they were very interested in exploring the hosting costs and potential future benefits of the Windows Azure platform.

The web site was developed using Ruby on Rails®, an open-source web framework with a reputation for "programmer happiness and sustainable productivity". The site also makes use of MySQL and memcached.

Most of the necessary jigsaw pieces are already in place:

  • Tushar Shanbhag talked about running MySQL on Windows Azure at the PDC last October.
  • Simon Davies blogged about getting up and running with Ruby on Rails on Windows Azure, and released a Sample Cloud Project.
  • Dominic Green recently discussed memcached on this blog.

We calculated that we could make savings in the hosting costs simply by moving to Azure. However, it soon became apparent that if we could replace MySQL with SQL Azure, then this would provide a number of additional benefits:

  • Further reduce hosting costs. MySQL would require a worker role, hosted on its own dedicated node. This would cost around $1200/year whereas hosting the 400Mb database on SQL Azure would cost $9.99 per month.
  • Reduced complexity and management. The MySQL accelerator shows how to deploy in a worker role, and includes sample code for managing and backing up the database. However this is all custom code which would increase the total cost of ownership of the solution. Using SQL Azure would greatly simplify the architecture.
  • Business Intelligence. The application currently has a custom Business Intelligence module, developed using Flash. Moving to SQL Azure would allow the customer to take advantage of roadmap features to provide clients with a much more sophisticated Business Intelligence module, while again reducing total cost of ownership.

The only missing piece in this jigsaw is the connection of a Ruby on Rails application to SQL Azure.

Nick continues with the “missing piece” to create a project with a page similar to this live example:

<Return to section navigation list> 

AppFabric: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

Mike Kirkwood’s Lady Gaga as the Killer App: Moving Identity into the Cloud post of 2/26/2010 to the Read/Write Cloud blog begins:

Protocols, protocols, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. OAuth, OpenID, UX, Shibboleth, SAML, XRI, FOAF, Facebook Connect, that is a small sampling of some of the technologies that have been invented to move Internet Identity forward forward for the web.

Today, at the Open ID User Experience Summit, a jaw-dropping statistic was given that 89% of users coming to chose a third-party logon rather than create a new account. "Signup with Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace" is the default option on - and it works.

Mike continues with details about “why is this site getting such high level of adoption of third-party logons, which hasn't been seen at this level anywhere else.”

Nick Eaton’s Microsoft, UW partner for cloud-services integration article of 2/25/2010 for the SeattlePI’s The Microsoft Blog describes how:

The UW's IT staff and Microsoft are working together on single-sign-on technology through Live@edu, Microsoft's student-oriented hosted e-mail, communications and collaboration service similar to the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). (By the way, Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Online Services, on Wednesday said Live@edu will soon be branded something along the lines of BPOS@edu.)

The technology, currently in testing, will allow UW and non-UW researchers to collaborate and also allow students to connect to third-party online services through their UW NetIDs. …

From the outside looking in, the technology isn't very sexy. In fact, in its current implementation the Identity Federation service looks like – well, is – a log-in page. [Emphasis added.]

But there's a lot of complexity under the hood – lots of acronyms. It works through claims-based Federated Identity Management (FIdM) in Windows Identity Foundation (WIF), and through Active Directory (AD) via Active Directory Federation Services (ADFSv2 – formerly codenamed "Geneva"). Outside of a Microsoft-based undercarriage, SAML/Shibboleth federation supports OpenLDAP. … If you want more information on the technical aspects, go here or here.

Dave Fisher, senior program manager for Microsoft's Live@edu team, said the technology will be broadly available by late 2010. "We have the technologies, they're real, we're putting this together," he told the workshop audience Thursday, "and we're looking forward to offering these to all of you, to all of our customers."

<Return to section navigation list>

Live Windows Azure Apps, APIs, Tools and Test Harnesses

Brian Hitney announced the availability of the Azure Miniseries #4: Monitoring Applications screencast on 2/26/2010:

In this screencast, we'll take a look at monitoring Azure applications by capturing event logs and performance counters. We'll also look at using PowerShell to deploy and configure applications using the management API. Finally, we'll take a sneak peek at Azure Diagnostics Manager, a tool from Cerebrata that allows you explore event logs and look at performance counters visually.

Brian continues with some PowerShell snippets for creating a self-signed certificate. Here’s the link to the screencast on Channel9.

Here are some links from the screencast:

Ryan Dunn and David Aiken posted the second Cloud Cover - Episode 2 Webcast to Channel9 on 2/26/2010:

Steve was in Japan this week filming a commercial, so David Aiken replaced him. Join Ryan and David this week as they cover the Microsoft cloud.
Follow and interact with the show at @cloudcovershow
In this episode:

  • Walk through the RoleEntryPoint and the hooks you can use to build your web and worker services.
  • Learn about the billing model in Windows Azure.
  • Find out how to troubleshoot the Initializing-Busy-Stopping loop.

Show Links:

  1. Miami311
  2. SharpCloud
  3. Troubleshooting Initializing-Busy-Stopping

Luke Timmerman’s Microsoft Builds Out Health IT Portfolio, Waits (and Waits) for Market to Materialize post of 2/26/2010 for XConomy/Seattle claims more than 70 health monitoring devices now connect to HealthVault:

Patience has got to be the watchword for the 800 or so people who work at Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group. There’s certainly been a lot of political rhetoric over the past year about dragging the inefficient world of pen and paper medical records into the 21st century—but this is still one big market opportunity waiting to be tapped.

More than four years have gone by since former CEO Peter Neupert re-joined Microsoft to spearhead its worldwide health strategy. This division isn’t going to pay the bills like Windows 7 does anytime soon, but Microsoft has shown it is willing to keep building a wide and deep portfolio of products, and to be patient for when its day will come. That was the sense I got during a wide-ranging conversation I had earlier this week with Nate McLemore, Microsoft’s general manager of business development and policy in the Health Solutions Group.

“We are taking this very seriously and investing a lot,” McLemore says. “It’s a top-of-mind issue for governments, for businesses, and for consumers. They are all our customers.” …

So what kind of traction is Microsoft seeing here? The company isn’t saying how many consumers are using HealthVault. It’s measuring progress in other ways, like how there were 46 healthcare organizations who adopted HealthVault when the platform was introduced in October 2007, and now that number has climbed to 150. When the program launched, there were nine devices that could upload data to be compatible with HealthVault—think blood sugar monitors for diabetics, for example. Now there are 70.

But really, the various constituents—doctors, patients, hospitals—who all need to adopt these technologies are taking their sweet time. All that e-health money that was authorized for spending from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act—something between $19 billion or $47 billion, depending on budget assumptions—is still waiting to be put to work, McLemore says. …

Hospitals are another key piece of the puzzle. About 115 U.S. hospitals have bought a license to the Amalga Unified Intelligence System, including academic leaders like the University of Washington and Mayo Clinic, as well as community hospitals. This is the program that helps hospital workers run queries that enable all the various proprietary software programs in a hospital to talk to each other. Microsoft’s latest move to strengthen this product came via an acquisition earlier this month of Andover, MA-based Sentillion, for an undisclosed sum.

Sentillion was considered useful because it enables a physician to check a lab report, a pharmacy record, or anything else while basically toggling between programs on a desktop, like anybody else would on a computer running Windows 7. It’s meant to eliminate the extra time-consuming hassles of logging in and out of separate programs, which might discourage a physician from double-checking something when they are busy—and might later prove to be important, McLemore says.

Luke’s article is an excellent summary of HealthVault’s current status and its relationship to Microsoft’s other health-oriented properties, as well as President Obama’s health coverage expansion plans.

Bob Familiar posted a link to ARCast.TV - Scalable Tax Solutions With CCH and Windows Azure on 2/25/2010:

While it's income season for most of us here in the States, for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, serving up sales tax information is a full-time job.
In this episode of ARCast, Denny Boynton sits down with Jones Pavan and Gurleen Randhawa at the 2009 Professional Developers Conference to discuss their use of Windows Azure to build highly scalable solutions for their customers: ARCast.TV - Scalable Tax Solutions With CCH and Windows Azure

The Windows Azure Team posted a Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Jim Graham, Technical Manager at 3M on 3/25/2010:

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Jim Graham, Technical Manager at 3M, about using the Windows Azure platform for the company's innovative Visual Attention Service. Here's what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about 3M-what kind of products do you develop?

Graham: We are a recognized world leader in research and development. We develop a wide range of consumer and industrial products but are most well-known for brands such as Post-it, Scotch, Thinsulate, and Scotch-Brite.

MSDN: What was the biggest challenge 3M faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?

Graham: We had a prototype Web-based application hosted in our data centers-the 3M Visual Attention Service (VAS)-which makes it possible for designers to test the effectiveness of their content using visual attention models. To make it a viable offering, the VAS application had to be available to customers in real time; be capable of processing images, returning near-immediate results, and scaling rapidly; and it had to carry a low up-front investment risk for us, especially in this economic climate.

MSDN: Can you describe how 3M used Windows Azure to make the 3M VAS application a viable product?

Graham: We built the user interface from the ground-up on Windows Azure. We used the Windows Azure development fabric, which made it very easy to run and test the VAS application before deploying it. VAS incorporates a number of unmanaged, high-performance image-processing software libraries, and by using the development fabric, we were able to perform quick iterations of code. We're using the Windows Azure platform AppFabric Access Control Service to authenticate users, Microsoft SQL Azure to manage images that users upload, and Queues in Windows Azure to provide near real-time analysis. We launched the product in November 2009 and our growing customer base has exceeded expectations.

The interview continues with more of this series’ stock questions. You can:

Nick Hill from the MCS UK Solution Development Team explains how to run Ruby on Rails on Windows Azure with SQL Azure in this detailed, illustrated 2/26/2010 tutorial that’s described in the SQL Azure Database (SADB) section above.

Return to section navigation list> 

Windows Azure Infrastructure

Lori MacVittie prefaces her Pay No Attention to the Infrastructure Behind the Cloudy Curtain advice of 2/26/2010 with “What is needed to customize the cloud is a pair of data center ruby slippers called Infrastructure 2.0:”

Frank Gens of IDC discussed the “New IDC IT Cloud Services Survey: Top Benefits and Challenges” in his blog and what is not surprising is that security continues to top the challenges associated with cloud services. What may be surprising to some is the increasing focus on customization. It shouldn’t be. As customers continue to push at the  boundaries  of the cloud computing model they will inevitably find it unable to meet some need they have, such as customization.

imageSee, when IT professionals said they didn’t want to worry about infrastructure that didn’t necessarily mean they didn’t care about the infrastructure. What they meant was they didn’t want to bear the operational and capital expenses associated with infrastructure if they didn’t have to. That’s a very different story than not caring about the infrastructure or about their ability to provision it, manage it, and ultimately control it. Applications are never deployed in a vacuum, after all, and part of the way in which they are secured, optimized, and made highly available is through its supporting infrastructure. Many of those options are simply no longer available in “the cloud”, and this is likely to be a bullet point in the “against cloud” column for many organizations who employ a more infrastructure inclusive strategy to delivering applications.

We could easily argue that “lack of interoperability standards” (cited higher on the challenge scale at 80.2% of respondents concerned to very concerned about standards in the survey) is directly related to this lack of customization capability (76% cited this as a concern). After all, interoperability standards across infrastructure of similar ilk would, ostensibly, make it easier for cloud computing providers to offer the infrastructure services required to customize the environment.

Lori goes on with a description of “composite data center structure:”

Mary Jo Foley reports Behind the IDC data: Windows still No. 1 in server operating systems in this 2/26/2010 post to ZDNet’s All About Microsoft blog:

International Data Corp. released its fourth-quarter global server data on February 25, listing the top providers of server hardware. But what about on the software front?

According to IDC’s data, Windows is still the dominant player. The fourth quarter 2009 was more robust than the third, in terms of total revenues and units. Windows’ share of the total stayed constant unit-wise, yet declined, dollar-wise, when compared to the previous calendar quarter.

That said, Windows is still far and away the No. 1 server operating system, in terms of units, and the definite leader in terms of dollars. …

Mary Jo continues with IDC’s OS share data break out.

Bruce Guptil, Charlie Burns, Bill McNee and Mark West wrote Saugatuck Technologies’ four-page Cloud IT: Stages of Simultaneous, Disruptive Growth and Change Research Alert of 2/25/2010 (requires site registration):

Demand for and use of cloud-based business applications (SaaS), IT infrastructure, and business services – referred to in this research piece as “Cloud IT” – is exploding (see Note 1).

What is Happening? This core finding is the foundation of Saugatuck Technology’s latest research study, titled “Lead, Follow, and Get Out of the Way: A Working Model for Cloud IT through 2014” (SSR-706). The study leverages interviews with experienced user organization executives, analysis of global survey data (from multiple research programs), and insights from leading Cloud providers – to build a realistic, working model of Cloud evolution, adoption, and most importantly, cost-effective management. …

The authors continue with a diagram of the “Saugatuck Cloud IT Reality Model,” additional concludes and detailed notes.

Salvatore Genovese clams “The majority of IT professionals in Europe now have partial understanding of cloud storage” in his Europe Finally Discovers Cloud Computing post of 2/25/2010:

A survey conducted by data management and storage vendor NetApp has revealed that overwhelmingly virtualisation (70%) is the top priority for IT investment in 2010, and that awareness of cloud computing is on the rise.

The majority of IT professionals (74%) now claim to have partial understanding of cloud storage, placing the technology firmly on the IT and business agenda.

The survey of more than 100 professionals revealed cost savings (22%) and a pay-as-you-go model (23%) as the most appealing benefits of cloud storage, as well as perceived security (29%) and integration (22%) issues as the biggest barriers to adoption.

"What this tells us is that cloud is here and top of mind for businesses," said Dave Allen, UK MD, NetApp. "Just as virtualisation has gone full circle from an abstract concept to a technology that more than 70% of IT professionals plan to implement this year, we will see cloud follow the same pattern over 2010. The basic knowledge foundations have been laid, the next step is for businesses to overcome barriers and understand exactly how cloud could work for specific data and applications.

"As server and storage virtualisation gains speed and momentum over 2010, we can expect to see more businesses also virtualise the network and move further towards a unified computing model. From a unified core, IT professionals will find it to easier to launch both internal and external clouds that deliver a lower cost of ownership and save the business money. …

R “Ray” Wang reports Quarterly Financial Tracker: Q4 CY 2009 SaaS Vendors Continue To Trump On Premise Vendors In YoY Growth on 2/24/2010:

… The recession continued to take its toll on software sales with a slight impact to the SaaS vendors.  Growth rates have come down from the high 30’s to the low 20’s.  But with “flat” the new growth metric in this down economy, results remain impressive.  Traditional on-premise vendors see some light at the end of the tunnel.  License revenues have started to stabilize on a year-over-year basis. …

He then goes on to list major events in the 2009 calendar year (CY) Q4 and provides tables showing breakneck sales growth:

and support for his claim that “Many On Premise Vendors Rely On Maintenance To Bolster Sagging License Revenues:”


<Return to section navigation list> 

Cloud Security and Governance

Adam Swidler announced Google joins the Cloud Security Alliance on 2/26/2009:

Today we're happy to announce that Google has joined the Cloud Security Alliance, a non-profit organization of experts focused on best practices and education efforts around the security of cloud computing.

Cloud computing continues to gain momentum, and organizations such as the CSA are an important part of an ecosystem that works to increase transparency, lower risks, and promote independent research. The CSA's focus on security best practices offers valuable information to organizations looking to move to the cloud, and as a member of the CSA, we look forward to providing ongoing education about cloud computing and its value to the organizations that use it.

Google's activities with the CSA include sponsoring the Cloud Security Alliance Summit at RSA Conference 2010 on March 1, 2010 in San Francisco, California, and participating in a CSA panel discussion at SecureCloud 2010, held on March 16 and 17 in Barcelona, Spain.

Learn more about Google's cloud computing solutions for organizations.

Glad to hear it!

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Gorka Sadowski claims logs are “The Last Barrier Between You and Disaster” in his Unleashing The Power of Logs post of 2/26/2010:

This article discusses some of the main defensive security solutions used today and explains the reasons why employing a Log Management and Intelligence solution is critical to complement these protection methods.

Let's first look at the most common defensive security solutions that have been popular these past few years. This is not an exhaustive list of all existing technologies, but rather a high-level view of some of the prevalent ones.

  1. Anti-virus
  2. Firewalls/VPN
  3. IDS/IPS
  4. Anti-Trojan/worms
  5. Anti-Spyware
  6. SIEMs

These correspond to an approach called "Defense in Depth" that aims to put successive rings of protection between the bad guys and the information to protect, making successful attacks harder and harder. …

Gorka performs a detailed analysis of the preceding existing technologies and concludes:

We talked about the importance of process and procedures surrounding the use of defensive security solutions. Indeed, we demonstrated that an "install and forget" approach to security is doomed to disaster.

A sound Log Management and Intelligence system should not only be part of your bag of tricks, but integral to your process and procedures as a way to verify and ensure the validity of your security solutions. Log Management and Intelligence is more than just an added safety measure - it could be the last, and most effective barrier between you and disaster.

Ellen Messmer asserts “Cloud computing providers are teaming with security vendors to shore up hosted environments” in her Cloud computing security challenges unite hosting providers, security specialists post of 2/26/2010 to Network World’s Security blog:

As cloud computing adoption climbs, hosting providers are inking deals with security vendors to provide security-as-a-service options to customers. But will enterprise IT managers buy into these often novel forms of security woven into a cloud computing environment?

There's definitely some resistance as IT and security managers struggle to sort out risk factors and compliance issues.

"A good number of organizations are now using what they consider to be cloud services," says Bill Trussell, managing director of security research at TheInfoPro, which just published its semi-annual survey of information security professionals at large and midsize firms in North America. But when TheInfoPro asked respondents about whether they'd use cloud-based security services in cloud computing environments, less than 15% cited that as being very likely.

"When asked whether organizations would extend functions such as user access and provisioning, or two-factor authentication, to cloud providers, it wasn't too popular," Trussell says. Enterprise security professionals are still nervous about something largely unfamiliar that doesn't sit on their premises and isn't under their direct control — or even under the direct control of the cloud-computing provider they use, since the security service is controlled by a third-party vendor with security expertise. …

Steven J. Murdoch and Ross Anderson ask Online Payment Security: Should the Government Intervene? in this 2/25/2010 post about their technical paper to the Consumer Fin Tech Focus blog:

Title: Online Payment Security: Should the Government Intervene?

Background: On January 26, 2010, two researchers at Cambridge University, Steven J. Murdoch and Ross Anderson, released a working paper with the provocative title, "Verifed by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode: or, How Not to Design Authentication".  It directly attacks 3D Secure as a poorly designed authentication scheme, and calls for regulatory intervention to protect consumers.  To what extent does the report raise fair criticisms, and how should the industry and/or regulators respond?

More: RSA Security, the primary vendor of 3D Secure technology, responded to the paper in two blog posts, which can be found here and here.  Their main point seems to be that the Cambridge researchers are confusing the implementation of 3D Secure by some UK banks with the 3D Secure architecture, which is capable of supporting a wide variety of authentication methods, not just those criticized in the paper.

However, this flexibility is exactly what the researchers are criticizing on p.4, where they write, "The 3DS specification only covers the communication between the merchant, issuer, acquirer, and payment scheme, not how customer verification is performed.  This is left to the issuer, and some have made extremely unwise choices."  As I see it, the real question here is: to what extent is a vendor obligated to restrict the choices its customers make with regard to the use of its technology, and if the vendor has no such obligation, should the government step in and establish such restrictions?

<Return to section navigation list> 

Cloud Computing Events

The Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2010 Conference starts 3/1/2010 and runs through 3/4/2010 at the Georgia World Conference Center, Atlanta, GA, USA. Following are the five sessions returned by a search on cloud:

Almost everyone who is anybody in the Health Information Technology (HIT) business will be in Atlanta next week for HIMSS.

Barbara Duck’s Microsoft Technologies for Connecting Patients, Physicians and Providers at HIMSS 2010 post of 2/26/2010 includes links to Microsoft-oriented presentations, videos, etc.

Brian Loesgen announces a Day-long Azure Conference in San Diego, March 6th in this 2/26/2010 post:

The San Diego .NET User Group will be hosting our first Azure day-long conference on March 6th. This first one will be more overview level, we’re planning at least one other which will be more focused and deeper for later this year, and then perhaps more after that. For this first one, we will be covering:

  • Azure Intro (David Chou)
  • Azure Development (Daniel Egan)
  • SQL Azure (Lynn Langit)
  • Azure AppFabric (Brian Loesgen)

And yes, the way it turned out, all speakers for this are from Microsoft, and David is a fellow co-author from the oh_so_close_to_done_now book I’ve been involved with for quite some time…. “SOA with .NET and Windows Azure”.

These conferences are usually a lot of fun and great investments, and this one in particular will be a great way to jump-start your Azure knowledge, or fill in some gaps you may have.

The event page with further details is here. As usual, great discounts for user group members.

Lynn Langit posted the slide deck from her 2/26/2010 Intro to Windows Azure for Developers – MSDN session in Burbank, CA and provides links to more of her presentations.

Chris Hoff (@Beaker) reports Virtual Networking/Nexus 1000v Virtual Switch Blogger Roundtable/WebEx Logistics – March 2nd. on 2/25/2010:

About a year before I started working at the Jolly Green Giant (Cisco) I had a rather loud and addictive hobby that was focused on proving that Cisco would offer a “third party” virtual switch for VMware environments.  This sort of unhealthy fascination also dovetailed with another related to “Project California” which later became the UCS (Unified Computing System.)  Both are now something I talk about in my day job quite a bit.

So I don’t normally directly blog about specific work-related stuff here, but I’m going to make a quasi-exception.

The PM’s from our SAVBU (Server and Virtualization Business Unit) who own the Nexus 1000v and UCS product lines asked me if I’d get together a bunch of bloggers, analysts, end users, pundits, crusaders, super heroes, networking and security geeks and have a discussion about virtual networking — specifically the 1000v.

Chris continues with details for attending or connecting to the WebEx roundtable.

Microsoft Public Relations presents an 00:41:32 video of Bob Muglia’s presentation to the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference 2010 of 2/23/2010 in which he forecasted that Windows Azure wouldn’t return profits in the near future. A downloadable transcript in Word .doc format is here.

David Linthicum will present the the keynote at the Conference to be held 4/18 to 4/21/2010 at the Hilton Hotel in Baltimore, MD, USA:

If your organization has implemented SharePoint, is planning to implement SharePoint, or is just evaluating SharePoint, this conference is possibly the best resource available to you.  Rather than spending countless hours sifting through the plethora of blogs, books, websites, and articles about SharePoint, learn exactly what you need to know in targeted sessions.  With general sessions and specific breakout sessions that focus both on business users and technical professionals, there is something for everyone.  Regardless of your organization's immediate interests -- Public facing Web sites, Intranets, BI solutions, Community Extranets, or Social Networking -- the SharePoint Conference .Org 2010 will help you learn what you need to know to get the most out of SharePoint.  The SharePoint Conference .Org is designed for you.  The conference is not designed for consultants or companies that provide SharePoint development services for third-parties. …

<Return to section navigation list> 

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

Michael Sheehan reports on 2/26/2010 a Video: GoGrid February 2010 Feature Release – Webinar & Presentation:

On Wednesday February 24, 2010, GoGrid hosted a webinar for new and existing GoGrid users designed to discuss the recent February 2010 Feature updates to GoGrid. There is a blog post that details all of the new features included in the release as well as a screencast which walks through these features and important changes. The webinar covered the following information:

  • What is our view of Cloud Computing
  • What is GoGrid
  • New feature: GoGrid Dedicated Servers
  • What is Hybrid Infrastructure
  • A GoGrid Portal Demo
  • Deploying a GoGrid Dedicated Server
  • The new GoGrid List View
  • Walk-through of other Interface Enhancements & Links
  • Question & Answer Session

The entire Webinar is below and is broken into two parts:

  • Part One – Overview presentation, discussion of Cloud & GoGrid, demonstration of the GoGrid Portal & GoGrid Dedicated Server Deployments (30 minutes in length)
  • Part Two – Question & Answer session from the audience and Additional Information (19 minutes in length)

Also included later on in this post is the stand-alone presentation (without audio, demo walk-through or question and answers).

Dana Gardner claims “GoToManage to tear down IT management boundaries for cloud computing” in his  Citrix Acquires Paglo, Launches GoToManage Cloud Computing Platform post of 2/26/2010:

In a move to enter the burgeoning SaaS-based IT management market, Citrix Online announced its acquisition of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Paglo Labs on Wednesday. The first fruits of the acquisition is an integrated web-based platform for monitoring, controlling and supporting IT infrastructure.

Dubbed GoToManage, the new service lets Citrix Online tap into the growing demand for software-as-a-service (Saas)-based IT management, a market Forrester Research predicts will reach $4 billion in 2013. Citrix Online is positioning the latest addition to its online services portfolio as an affordable alternative to premise-based software. [Disclosure: Paglo is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts. Learn more about Paglo's offerings and value.]

I expect that as more enterprises experiment and adopt more mixed-hosted services -- including cloud, SaaS, IaaS, and outsourced ecosystems solutions -- that web-based management capabilities will become a requirement. In order to manage across boundaries, you need management reach that has mastered those boundaries. On-premises and traditional IT management is clearly not there yet.

Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice president of Products and Services at Citrix Online, explains the reasoning behind the acquisition:

“Our customers increasingly tell us they are interested in adding IT management services to our remote support capabilities. With the growing acceptance of SaaS and the increasing use of IT services in small- and medium-sized businesses, we decided IT management reinforced our remote support strategy.” …

Dana continues with his analysis of the transaction.

Reuven Cohen’s VMware's New Cloud Mission - The Bottom up post of 2/26/2010 begins:

Ok, I admit it. At first I didn't have a clue what the point of VMware's new "Get it off the Board Agenda" site had to do with promoting cloud adoption. In a nutshell VMware has created a new viral marketing campaign geared toward the idea of keeping executives out of the decision process for buying cloud related services. But why? Doesn't this seem somewhat counter productive, or does it?

First I suppose you need to get into the head of who's buying cloud products and services today. For service providers and telco's this probably means an SVP of some sort has been given the job of defining a revenue generating cloud strategy and service offering, so I'm not sure if this person would be the target for the campaign.

It's probably more likely geared toward the end customers, the customers of my customers if you will. The Google's, Amazons, Salesforce and Microsoft's style clouds and how they're being adopted. The random developer or business unit with a problem to solve. The classic "New York Times" cloud story comes to mind. The story goes something like this, Derek Gottfrid, random NYT programmer had to solve a very hard problem with no time or money. So without prior permission he goes to Amazon Web Services where he leverages the power of EC2 and the free open source Hadoop project. With in a few hours he is able build a cloud application to utilize hundreds of machines concurrently and process a 150 years worth of data in less than 36 hours at next to no cost. Yup, it's called bottom up adoption.

Ruv continues with an answer to his “So what is VMware promoting you ask?” question.

<Return to section navigation list> 

blog comments powered by Disqus