Saturday, March 27, 2010

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 3/25/2010+

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

• Updated 3/30/2010: Removed links to Jeff Corwine’s Azure application, which now requires a username and password (in the Live Windows Azure Apps, APIs, Tools and Test Harnesses section) and interrupts the blog’s loading.

• Update 3/26/2010: Amazon Web Services aggregates Data Transfer Out charges with first 1 GB/month free and versus Windows Azure video shoot-out (see the Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services section), as well as a comparison of PowerPivot for Excel and Tableau (see the SQL Azure Database (SADB) section.)

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 March 2010. 

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Taylor Cowan explains Mounting a CloudDrive on Azure v1.1 in this illustrated 3/25/2010 tutorial:

Windows Azure now supports an NTFS abstraction on top of it’s already useful BLOB storage api.  This makes it possible to run applications which need filesystem storage in the cloud.  To be sure, if you are writtng an application from scratch it’s best to avoid any interaction with a filesystem.  Modern applications of the web should deal primarily with URLs or local resources behind some abstraction.  As it is, we have apps already written that depend upon a filesystem, and Azure is ready and willing to provide that for us.

  1. Create an Azure storage account.
  2. Add a local storage entry to serve as a cache.
  3. Add an account connection string making your credentials an aspect of configuration and not part of the service deployment.
  4. Mount the drive on the worker role’s run event.

Taylor continues with the details of preceding steps 1 through 4.

Mike Amundsen’s Not all Web APIs are the same post of 3/25/2010 begins:

[R]ecently i've been seeing quite a bit of talk about "RESTful APIs" and getting annoyed (again). annoyed because these APIs are not at all adhering to the REST constraints but, instead, are merely RPC over HTTP using pre-published URI conventions. Not that there's anything wrong with that. it's gotten so bad that i finally had to run out onto the porch brandishing my shotgun and kick all the kids off my lawn.

[L]ly, some friends have talked me down of the ledge, but i'm still pretty annoyed. so here's my point:

Not all Web APIs are the same:

There are lots of ways to expose services on the Web. @algermissen has done some great work in exploring and categorizing Web services in his Classification of HTTP-based APIs posting.

[M]uch of this API categorization can be traced to the work of Leonard Richardson and his Maturity Heuristic (2008) . more recently, @MartinFowler posted his Richardson Maturity Model article and this has gotten quite a few more folks interested in the idea of differentiating Web API models. all good stuff.

[M]y ideas [abbreviated] on these differences is a bit simpler:

The Web API scale - To my way of thinking there are essentially three basic API models for exposing services on the web:

    1. Classic RPC Tunneling over HTTP …
    2. Modifed RPC over HTTP …
    3. Hypermedia Interfaces …

[I]t ain't REST, my friend. [B]oiling it all down, the key point here is that there are very few APIs that are really RESTful. most are really Modified RPC over HTTP. and that's fine. that works for many cases. these APIs do not need to change how they work. but they do need to change how they are named.

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

Moe Khosravy posted The Data Grail: Find –>  Explore -> Publish Online to the Microsoft Codename Dallas blog on 3/24/2010:

That’s the holy grail of data. Easy to find and consume, a pleasure to explore, and dead simple to publish on the web. We demoed the birth of that scenario at MIX 10 last week in Las Vegas by publishing  interactive visualization live during the session:


This took only a few minutes to create using “Dallas” and Tableau Public [See post below]. Breaking it down:

Find data

Microsoft Codename “ Dallas” and OData are working on making data easy to find and consume. The vision is to be able to post and access any data set, including rich metadata, using a common format. Dallas took a big step toward this vision with its release of CTP2 at MIX.

Explore and visualize data

Data by itself is cold and uninspiring. Using Tableau and “Dallas” together means you can explore any data set simply by dragging and dropping fields to visualize it. This is a very powerful idea: anyone can easily explore and understand data without doing any programming.

Publish online

Once you’ve found a story in your data you want to share it. Using Tableau Public you can embed a live visualization in your blog, just like the one above.

The Data Grail is to focus on answering questions, not integrating to data and stumbling blindly towards answers. By using “Dallas” with Tableau you can easily find data and build stunning mash-ups and visualizations. Then you can publish them to the web in seconds to start a conversation.

“Dallas” creates a lot of opportunities for a company like Tableau. It makes it possible for bloggers, interested citizens and journalists to more easily find public data and tell important stories, creating a true information democracy. “Dallas” also makes it easier for Tableau’s corporate customers to find relevant data to mash up with their own company data, making Tableau’s corporate tools that much more compelling.

Moe is Group Manager, Microsoft Codename "Dallas"

Derek Comingore’s Microsoft PowerPivot Vs. Tableau article of 3/26/2010 for SQL Server Magazine begins:

I wrote a recent article providing an overview of the Tableau Self-Service BI (SSBI) suite and a brief comparison with that of Microsoft PowerPivot ( ). However, since that time even more people in the community are asking me about how the two products stack up against one another. In this extended blog post I will take you on a pound-for-pound comparison of the two SSBI products while explicitly excluding the price factor.

Note: To keep the comparison fair I am not comparing any of the Microsoft BI platform’s features beyond those found in PowerPivot.

Derek’s article is a very detailed comparison of the two BI products.

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AppFabric: Access Control and Service Bus

The Windows Server AppFabric team’s Windows Server AppFabric Architecture post of 3/24/2010 begins with a history of Windows Server as an app server and IIS, and then goes on with a architectural overview of Windows Server AppFabric:

The diagram below provides a high-level overview of the AppFabric system.


  • Apps are deployed into a farm of AppFabric servers that share Workflow Instance Stores and Monitoring Stores (Databases).
  • Distributed Cache provides unified data cache view to Apps while distributing and replicating data across multiple machines. …

The post continues with more details of how “Dublin,” “Velocity” and Workflow ended up as Windows Server AppFabric.

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Live Windows Azure Apps, APIs, Tools and Test Harnesses

Corey Roth asserts “Windows Azure is not the silver bullet for all applications going forward” in his Windows Azure for Noobs post of 3/25/2010:

Ok, so I admit I’ve been busy on projects and of course I’ve been focusing a ton on SharePoint 2010.

In the meantime, I hadn’t been paying much attention to what’s been developing with cloud computing and more specifically in this case Windows Azure.  I was, in fact, a noob. :-)

This week I had the opportunity to attend a Windows Azure Boot Camp, so that now makes me an expert. At least that is what my boss will claim. :-)

So this post today is for those of you who haven’t been keeping up and want to know about some of the basics.  It’s not to teach you the ins and outs of developing with Windows Azure.  Although, getting started isn’t too difficult and the boot camp site has all the materials you need to get you started quickly.

If you’re not familiar yet, Windows Azure is part of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.  Specifically, it is built for developing ASP.NET applications and WCF services in a cloud environment.  It shouldn’t be confused with Microsoft’s other online product offerings such as BPOS (which includes things like Exchange Online , SharePoint Online, and OCS Online).

I’ll try and start out by clarifying some of the basics that I was wondering about when I first started.  The first thing to know is that you need to get a handle on pricing.  I’m not going to attempt to explain it all, but the gist is you pay for the number of instances you have of a given application (this sort of equates to a VM – but not necessarily), the number of transactions you make to online storage, the amount of storage you use, and the amount of bandwidth you use.  This may sounds like it’s going to cost a lot, but keep in mind most of these costs are measure in cents (although they can add up).

One important thing to note about pricing is that you are paying for “compute time” as they call it whether your application is being used or not.  Even if it is suspended, you are paying for that application until you go and delete it. …

He continues with explanations of Development, Roles, Staging, Additional Development Information, Storage, Tables, Queues, BLOBs, and SQL Azure, and concludes:

If you are interested more in Windows Azure, I have to recommend finding a boot camp.  The one I attended was great and very informative.  There are still many more being scheduled.  What’s cool is that if there is not one in your area, they will help you throw one.  I’m seriously considering this for Oklahoma as I think there would be plenty of people interested.

Corey is a consultant at Stonebridge specializing in SharePoint for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

James Urquhart’s Understanding the cloud and 'devops'--Part 1 post of 3/25/2010 to CNet News’ The Wisdom of Clouds blog begins:

Cloud computing has brought many changes to IT operations, and there are new organizations and technologies that operations professionals need to understand to embrace those changes. 

During a "cloud operations boot camp" prior to the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara, Calif., last week, I spoke about theses changes and challenges. If you are interested in reviewing the slides from that presentation, titled "The New DevOps Designers: Cloud and The Big Rethink," they are available at Slideshare.

This is the first of a three-part series intended to explore the concepts that I covered in that boot camp.

"Devops" is a term introduced to me by Jesse Robbins, now CEO of Opscode, the company behind the open-source operations platform Chef. It is intended to represent the shift from reactionary, process-centric operations, such as traditional systems administration and procurement (including ITIL), to a more strategic, agile, and automated approach.

The term is a combination of the words "developer" and "operations," so as you might expect the trend is toward operations being "programmed" using tools like Chef or Puppet (or a variety of others). What I wanted to explore was why this was so? What drives the need for automation expertise in cloud operations?

Image Credit: Flickr/John Menard

Jeff Corwine quotes Isaac Asimov “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny…" to introduce his Wecome to Next blog post recently ported to Windows Azure at

Given how often new technologies seem to emerge into our lives fully formed, we often miss the fact that many great advances come through serendipity or incidental discovery, or from the accumulated effect of many smaller accomplishments, or from work on tough challenges that spans many years – or many decades.

The fact that you’re looking at this site proves the point. No committee sat down in a room in the 1960’s and planned out a network of networks that would form the fundamental knowledge infrastructure for our society. The Internet was designed as a set of networking protocols that were resistant to disruption. E-mail, Gopher, Usenet and other communications and search technologies evolved atop this infrastructure as researchers, academics, college students and extreme early adopters found their way online. Tim Berners-Lee designed the World Wide Web to help his fellow physicists share information. In the early 1990’s, all these technologies came together – at no-one’s behest – and began to seep into mainstream society. The Internet we know today is the product of everything from basic research, to tangential discovery, to weekend programming projects sparked on a whim. Its inventors are mad scientists, explorers, iconoclasts, obsessives and collectives.

And so it is with the leading edge of software today. Friendster was intended to facilitate dating, but it launched a wave of social networking tools that is now serious business. Twitter heralded the growth of the “real-time Web,” but it got its start as a project management tool – a side project. Fully designed systems – built and intended to be “perfect” from the very start – are often the exception rather than the rule. …

• Updated 3/30/2010: Removed image and link to Jeff Corwine’s Azure application, which now requires a username and password and interrupts the blog’s loading.

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

Ben Kepes and Krishnan Subramanian co-authored a Questions to Ask Your Cloud Vendor whitepaper dated March 2010 PDF:

This report articulates a number of questions to ask when evaluating cloud applications. These questions fall into several distinct groupings, including: Business Requirements; Reliability; Availability; Upgrades, Maintenance and Outages; Security; Privacy; Data Ownership; Integration; and Customization questions.

The same pair wrote 10 Questions You Need to Ask a Collaboration Vendor of January 2010:

In just the last few years, the enterprise collaboration software market has become one of the most crowded areas in IT. It seems as though new vendors are appearing on a weekly basis while traditional software vendors are working feverishly to retrofit their legacy offerings by introducing new collaboration add-ons. Further clouding the issue are the various delivery models available to customers today - on-premise, on-demand and cloud-based options are available. This combination of a multitude of vendors and delivery models has created a confusing landscape, where messaging collision has become the rule, not the exception. This primer is intended to help those organizations researching enterprise collaboration by arming them with the most important questions to ask the collaboration vendors they are evaluating, in hopes of helping them make buying decisions based on empirical evidence, rather than flashy positioning and messaging.

David Linthicum claims “The bad news is that you forgot about the data integration. The good news is that cloud computing is on your résumé” in his The data-integration buzzkill for cloud computing post of 3/25/2010 for InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing blog:

It's 3 p.m. on a Thursday, and you're in a meeting, discussing your recent cloud deployment. A major enterprise system is now cloud-borne, and you couldn't be happier. Your operational costs are reduced. Your risk has been shifted to the cloud computing provider. You now have access to on-demand capacity. Best of all, you can now put "cloud computing" on your résumé.

But your euphoric feeling is soon broken by a voice from the back of the room, uttering these awful words: "What about integrating the data back in the enterprise? How is our data in the cloud going to sync up with our other core enterprise systems?"

You have a few options at this point: You can ignore this rabble-rouser and have him or her fired at the next possible opportunity. You can talk fast for the next 10 minutes, sprinkling in as many buzzwords as possible (I like "cloud-enablement" and "cloudonomics") and hoping that you can hypnotize the others into forgetting the question. Or you can fess up that you have no data-integration strategy, and it never occurred to you that one is needed.

I suspect most people will go for options 1 and 2, and almost never option 3. …

Another vote for Windows Azure Data Sync.

Reuven Cohen posits an equality in his VAPOR = Virtualized Automated Provisioning Of Resources post of 3/25/2010:

I wanted to let everyone know about an interesting acronym created by AT&T's Cloud Guru @JoeWeinman which does a great job of decribing what a private cloud is. (V)irtualized (A)utomated (P)rovisioning (O)f (R)esources or VAPOR. Just add an elastic and I think we may be on to something here. So next time someone asks whether private clouds are real, tell'em they're just Vapor, or if you prefer ElasticVapor.

Weinman has also come up with an interesting acyonmy for CLOUD > (C)ommon, (L)ocation-independent, (O)nline, (U)tility, on-(D)emand; Basically saying Clouds are ubiquitous.

I'd also highly recommend following Weinman's Blog at >

The VAR Guy announced Dell Launches Cloud Partner Program in this 3/24/2010 post:

Dell’s Cloud Computing Evangelist, Barton George, says the company is launching a Cloud Partner Program. At first glance that’s hardly surprising, considering all the cloud hype — and opportunity — in the market. But take a closer look at Dell’s strategy and you might be surprised by Dell’s first three Cloud Partner Program members. They aren’t household names — yet. And in a related move, there are signs Dell will work more closely with Microsoft on Windows Azure. Here’s the story.

According to George:

“Working with cloud ISVs we will be offering easy-to-buy and deploy cloud solutions and blueprints optimized for and validated on Dell platforms. The first three partners we are announcing are Aster Data (providing web analytics), Canonical (offering an open source Infrastructure as a Service private cloud) and Greenplum (self-service data warehousing).   (On the Evolutionary cloud side we will continue to work with VMware and Microsoft and stay tuned for news on what’s happening on the Windows Azure front. [Emphasis added.]

Leave it to George: He’s good at teasing us with a sequel before we’re done with the current story.

The VAR Guy continues with an analysis of Dell’s first three Cloud Partner Program members: Aster Data, Canonical, and Greenplum.

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Cloud Security and Governance

Lori MacVittie recommends “Never never trust content from a user, even if that user is another application” as she asks Are You Scrubbing the Twitter Stream on Your Web Site? on 3/25/2010:

image Web 2.0 is as much about integration as it is interactivity. Thus it’s no surprise that an increasing number of organizations are including a feed of their recent Twitter activity on their site. But like any user generated content, and it is user generated after all, there’s a potential risk to the organization and its visitors from integrating such content without validation.

A recent political effort in the UK included launching a web site that integrated a live Twitter stream based on a particular hashtag. That’s a fairly common practice, nothing to get excited about. What happened, however, is something we should get excited about and pay close attention to because as Twitter streams continue to flow into more and more web sites it is likely to happen again.

Essentially the Twitter stream was corrupted. Folks figured out that if they tweeted JavaScript instead of plain old messages that the web site would interpret the script as legitimate and execute the code. You can imagine where that led – Rickrolling and redirecting visitors to political opponents sites were the least obnoxious of the results. …

Lori continues with a link to Conservative effort at social media experiment leaves open source Cash Gordon site directing to adult and Labour Party websites by SC Magazine UK and additional recommendations re reposting user-generated content.

Brian Sommer’s A lesson CA could teach other vendors post of 3/25/2010 gives props to CA for substantive governance knowhow:

CA and GRC – CA can prove their competency

Listen in to a typical exchange I have almost weekly with a software vendor or services firm:

Vendor: “But Brian, we are thought leaders, we are innovators, we deliver value to clients, we hire the best and brightest!”

Me: “You say that and I’m sure you believe it. But, show me that these statements are true. Where’s the proof?”

Vendor: “well….. uh….. we have over 41,000 employees and $6 billion in revenue. So, we must be doing something right. Right?”

What too many tech and service firms don’t get when it comes to marketing themselves is that their messages are the same as everyone else’s. They’re undifferentiated and worse, they’re unproven. Can your firm prove it is innovative, value driven, perfect in its execution, etc.? It’s one thing to claim a core competency; it’s an entirely different matter to prove it.

I particularly loathe firms that claim to be innovative when they’re at best a fast follower. These firms let someone else develop a new market concept, product or service. Then, with lightening speed, they copy the solution and deliver it themselves. That’s not innovation, it’s mimicry.

During briefings with vendors and service firms, I ask to see the proof. The other day, I got some.

CA, the Islandia-based software firm, sent me a book their executives wrote. It’s called “under control – Goverance Across the Enterprise”. I was expecting this thing to be really light and full of informercial material. You know what? It was pretty good and was only 1% self-promoting. If you didn’t understand governance well, you ought to get this. Each chapter was written by a different CA executive and covers a separate topic. Surprisingly, there’s no overlap in the subjects covered (kudos to their editor) and subjects range from definition aspects of GRC (governance, risk, compliance), role of boards, IT and GRC, IT and PPM, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised that CA had the courage to show their own risk charter and governance principles at the back of the book. A lot of service firms are great at giving advice but often fail to take their own medicine.

My earliest dealings with Computer Associates (now CA) were during the Charles Wang days. After Sanjay and the revenue recognition matters ended, the company re-named itself, got new management, new governance and new business strategies. The DOJ kind of helped those process and personnel changes occur. The new firm doesn’t resemble the old one and I have to remind myself that periodically.

But I digress, the book CA produced is proof that their executives understand governance. In fact, CA may get the concepts in it better than most because of the events that reshaped that company earlier this decade. Customers can take comfort that CA’s people ‘get it’ and know the subject matter. I certainly do now that I can hold a physical manifestation of that knowledge…

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Cloud Computing Events

John Mullinax suggests that you Get FREE Windows Azure training at the Azure Boot Camp! to be held on 3/30 to 3/31/2010 at Microsoft’s office in Southfield, MI:


Windows Azure Boot Camp is a two day deep dive class to get you up to speed on developing for Windows Azure. The class includes a trainer with deep real world experience with Azure, as well as a series of labs so you can practice what you just learned. ABC is more than just a class, it is also an event in a box. If you don't see a class near you, then throw your own. We provide all of the materials and training you need to host your own class. This can be for your company, your customers, your friends, or even your family. Please let us know so we can give you all of the details.”

For more information and complete city list, please visit, or email us at

Next Azure Bootcamp Location:

Microsoft Office – Southfield

Southfield Town Center
1000 Town Center Suite 1930 Southfield Michigan 48075

Next Date and Time:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 8:00 AM - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 5:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Direct link to register for next Azure Bootcamp:

Guerilla Programmer JakeW reviews a recent Azure Boot Camp in his Azure Boot Camp Day 2 Notes post of 3/24/2010 and offers links to slide decks and lab materials. His Azure Boot Camp Day 1 Notes (3/23/2010) and Expiring Azure Queue Message (3/23/2010) review the previous day’s events.

Steve Marx wants you to attend the Get cloud ready with The Windows Azure Firestarter on 4/6/2010 at 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM PDT in Microsoft Commons - The Mixer Building, 15255 NE 40th St., Redmond, WA 98052 or watch it on line.

The cloud is everywhere and here at Microsoft we’re flying high with our cloud computing release, Windows Azure. As most of you saw at the Professional Developers Conference, the reaction to Windows Azure has been nothing short of “wow” – and based on your feedback, we’ve organized this special, all-day Windows Azure Firestarter event to help you take full advantage of the cloud.

Maybe you've already watched a webcast, attended a recent MSDN Event on the topic, or done your own digging on Azure. Well, here's your chance to go even deeper. This one-of-a-kind event will focus on helping developers get ‘cloud ready’ with concrete details and hands-on tactics. We’ll start by revealing Microsoft’s strategic vision for the cloud, and then offer an end-to-end view of the Windows Azure platform from a developer’s perspective. We’ll also talk about migrating your data and existing applications (regardless of platform) onto the cloud. We’ll finish up with an open panel and lots of time to ask questions.


Oracle Corp. announces its Oracle Cloud Computing Forum, 4/13/2010 at 8:00 AM
Hilton Woburn Hotel, 2 Forbes Road, Woburn, MA:

Oracle Cloud Computing Forum

Take Advantage of Cloud Computing Today
Ready to break through the haze around cloud computing? In this full-day event for IT professionals, Oracle experts clarify how organizations can take advantage of enterprise cloud computing. You'll learn the what, why, and how of cloud computing, so you can develop your organization's own cloud strategy and roadmap.
You'll see real-world solutions in action and learn how Oracle is helping enterprises achieve breakthrough agility, quality of service, and efficiency, while controlling security, compliance, and cost.
Attend the Cloud Computing Forum to learn:

  • How IT can become a private cloud service provider for your users
  • How to evolve existing enterprise architectures to a cloud model
  • How to leverage public clouds from providers such as Amazon Web Services

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how your organization can break through with cloud computing. Register today for the Cloud Computing Forum.

Free Cloud Services for Attendees

Attend the Cloud Computing Forum and you will receive a guide to help you get started and a free code good for US$35 of Amazon Web Services usage.

Register online now for this premier event. Or call 1.800.820.5592 ext. 7375.

The irony is that Larry Ellison was bad-mouthing cloud computing just a few months before acquiring Sun Microsystems.

Allison Watson says “WPC 2010 Registration is Open! Can’t wait to see you all there!” on 3/25/2010 when announcing the Welcome to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 post:

image The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference will be held on July 11-15, 2010, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C., USA. This five-day event of the year offers you the opportunity to learn about Microsoft's roadmap and best practices for the year. You will, gain exclusive access to networking with Microsoft executives, and other partners. You can explore the infinite opportunities with Microsoft's cloud computing strategy to take your business to the next level and gain an edge on the competition. This conference will be invaluable to your business. [Emphasis added.]

A search on “cloud” returns eight sessions on cloud computing:

Cloud Services Partner Panel Session Type: Panel Session; Track: Cloud Services:

Cloud computing offers many new opportunities to offer new products and gain new revenue. This session features a panel of partners, who are successfully buildings solutions, practices and business portfolios based on Microsoft’s cloud services. This lively interactive discussion is moderated by a Microsoft executive and features a variety of partner types and business models.

Data as a Service: Getting in on the Ground Floor with Microsoft Codename "Dallas" Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: Cloud Services:

Data as a Service is just beginning to emerge as one of the hottest new areas for opportunity in the cloud. The cloud model is enabling a new generation of publishers to offer data to a wide variety of customers and those customers becoming more and more interested in new ways to use and consume this data. Come learn how you can leverage Microsoft Codename "Dallas" to enable business intelligence, mash-ups and analysis through rich third-party datasets and build an entirely new business with your customers.

Everything You Need to Know about Microsoft and the Cloud; Session Type: Breakout Session ; Track: Cloud Services:

Microsoft is “all in” when it comes to the cloud. In this session, come get an end-to-end view of our cloud services strategy and learn how the cloud pervades everything we’re doing. Hear how Microsoft positions itself relative to other offerings in the industry, and how Microsoft’s products and services provide opportunity for your business to win along with us. A must-attend session for all partners.

Influence of the Cloud on the Channel: How Can Partners Prepare Themselves? Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: Cloud Services:

Interest in cloud computing and SaaS continues to grow as customers continue to scrutinize the value proposition of the cloud. Yet how do you determine what are the hotspots for company investments and how the business model changes of cloud computing will affect the channel today and in the future. During this session, hear first-hand from Gartner Research Vice President Tiffani Bova the expected customer adoption rates, customer cloud investment hotspots and business model changes cloud computing will deliver to the channel in 2010.

New Partner Business Opportunities with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 and Microsoft Exchange Online Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: Business Productivity:

Learn about the new partner business opportunities with Exchange Server on-premise and in the cloud. We discuss the big changes coming to Exchange Online this year as part of the “wave 14” upgrade of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS). This session discusses the new product features available in Exchange Server 2010 Online. In addition, we discuss how the new OWA, Mobility, Archiving and Calendaring features in Exchange Server 2010 SP1 can better serve your customers’ administrators and end users.

Partner Business Transformation: How to Ready Your Business for Cloud Services Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: US Partner:

Get an overview of Cloud Services and understand what’s hype and what’s reality with the cloud. After attending this session you will be better prepared to close customer engagements and bring in new revenue streams, as well as help your company better understand what your next steps should be to identify and close cloud opportunities. Also learn how to take advantage of an array of Microsoft partner readiness and training resources to successfully embrace the cloud services opportunity ahead for your organization.

Streamlining Business Processes with the Microsoft Application Platform Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: Application Platform:

With the release of Windows Server AppFabric and its enhanced ability for hosting applications, partners now have the ability to build composite applications which span both line-of-business systems inside the firewall and external Web services anywhere on the Internet. The release of Windows Azure AppFabric has provided a new capability to securely and reliably build applications which enable processes spanning organizational boundaries, while Microsoft BizTalk Server continues to provide easy access to complex line-of-business systems within enterprises. Combined with the enhanced workflow capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint Server for human-centric processes and display of process results, the Microsoft Application Platform provides a set of capabilities which make building service-oriented composite applications much more efficient. This session demonstrates how partners can build enterprise-class composite applications for their customers which span both cloud and on-premise processes while fully orchestrating the integration of existing people and systems.

Successful Selling in the Cloud Session Type: Breakout Session; Track: Cloud Services:

[No abstract available. ]

Submit your Windows Azure solution for the Windows Azure Platform Partner of the Year Award:

The Windows Azure Platform Partner of the Year Award recognizes ISVs and custom software developers who have developed solutions that together or independently incorporate Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and the Windows Azure Platform AppFabric. Packaged applications and one-time development projects will be considered equally for this award. The winning nomination will demonstrate innovation, competitive differentiation, and customer value while showcasing the benefits of using the Windows Azure Platform.

To be eligible for this award, you must:

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

Amazon Web Services AWS turns up the competitive heat on Windows Azure with aggregated Data Transfer Out charges and first 1 GB free in an e-mail message to AWS users of 3/26/2010:

Starting April 1, 2010, your Data Transfer Out pricing tier for a given Region will be based on your total Data Transfer Out usage within that Region for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS). Until now, usage tiers have been calculated individually for each service, based on data transfer related to that service. Because AWS is now aggregating your total Data Transfer Out usage across multiple services, you can reach higher usage tiers and lower pricing more quickly. In addition, you'll benefit from a complimentary tier which provides your first GB of outbound transfer in each Region each month at no charge.

The tiered pricing for Data Transfer Out is as follows for each Region:

  • First 1 GB of data transferred out per month is free
  • Remainder of first 10 TB per Month: $0.15 per GB
  • Next 40 TB per Month: $0.11 per GB
  • Next 100 TB per Month: $0.09 per GB
  • Over 150 TB per Month: $0.08 per GB

As you may know, all inbound data transfer is free of charge until June 30, 2010. All data transfer usage (both inbound and outbound) for participating Amazon Web Services now appears in aggregate in its own section of your AWS account activity page and monthly bill. As a bonus, you'll notice that your first GB of outbound data transfer in each Region is now included free of charge.

Waiting for Microsoft’s response with changes to Windows Azure pricing. presents a 00:03:59 video comparison, vs Windows Azure that shows creating a “Hello World” project takes 72 minutes with Windows Azure and 2 minutes with

It appears that most of the 72 minutes was consumed by software installation and waiting for the project to deploy to the Azure production fabric, because the video is only ~4 minutes long.

Jeremy Geelan interviews President & CEO of Virtual Ark, Marty Gauvin, in his Virtual Ark: Leveraging Public Clouds to SaaS-Enable Enterprise Applications post of 3/25/2010:

In this Exclusive Q&A with the Founder, President & CEO of Virtual Ark, Marty Gauvin (pictured), the visionary serial entrepreneur speaks with Jeremy Geelan, Cloud Expo Conference Chair, about a variety of issues around Cloud computing including the all-important security aspects. "Security in the Cloud isn’t bad, it’s just different," Gauvin at one point notes, adding: "It is essential to take a measured, careful approach to security issues." Here i[s] the interview in full.

Mike Kirkwood recommends Act Now. Amazon and Microsoft Launch Windows Server License Mobility Pilot in this 3/25/2010 post:

amazon ec2Early this morning, we received an announcement from Amazon the company is launching a pilot for EC2 customers to allow your enterprise organizations to move existing Microsoft Windows Server licenses to Amazon and receive a proper discount for the new EC2 instance.

The offer is open until September and is being called a pilot by the companies to test the waters and pattern for hosting Windows within Amazon.

win_logo.pngThe note from Amazon is on the Windows Server license mobility prompts immediate action:

"Dear Amazon EC2 Customer,

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of the Microsoft Windows Server® License Mobility Pilot, which enables customers with Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA) to migrate their existing Windows Server licenses to Amazon EC2. By moving existing licenses to the cloud, you can leverage licenses that you have already purchased to reduce your cost of running Windows On-Demand or Reserved Instances by up to 41%. Microsoft will stop accepting new enrollments for the pilot on September 23, 2010 so it is important to act quickly.

To participate in this pilot, Microsoft requires that your company meet the following criteria:

* Your company must be based (or have a legal entity) in the United States
* Your company must have an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) that is valid for a minimum of 12 months after your entry into the pilot
* You must already have purchased Software Assurance from Microsoft for your EA Windows Server Enterprise, Datacenter, and Standard licenses
* You must be an Enterprise customer (Academic and Government institutions are not covered by this pilot)

Once you have enrolled in the pilot, you will be eligible to run your Windows Server licenses in Amazon EC2 for the next 12 months following your sign-up. You will still be responsible for maintaining the appropriate number of Client Access licenses and External Connector licenses needed to operate your EA Windows Server licenses.

To learn more about this pilot or sign-up, please visit We hope that you take advantage of this new pilot!"

By clicking that link, you are one form away from that hardware in your closet moving to Amazon. Make sure your license administrator is handy, it asks for the basics, and of course the company agreement numbers with Microsoft.

Microsoft is Going Big into Cloud. And Amazon, Deep

For the right license holders, this is could be a big opportunity to jump to Amazon's cloud. This could cause organizations look at old hardware with a new rigor. If this program grows, we could see whole blocks of infrastructure move to Amazon and new Windows servers materialize.

Even if this license mobility is a low or no-revenue event to Microsoft in year one, the company will win to see those servers in action. Each one, no matter where it is hosted, represents value for the company and the ecosystem.

We think that Amazon wins with Windows Server license mobility. We can see system admins de-provisioning hardware adding a step to the script "fire up new instance at EC2" and feeling even better about tidying up your data center.

License mobility seems to be another sign of how the cloud may just be more portable in its nature. And faster tha[n] FedEx.

Are your windows servers licenses ready for EC2?

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