Sunday, March 08, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 3/1/2009+

Windows Azure, Azure Data Services, SQL Data Services 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.

• Updated 3/4/2009 5:00 PM PST
• Updated 3/5/2009 9:00 AM PST
• Updated 3/6/2009 2:00 PM PST through 3/8/2009

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

My SAS 70 Audits for Windows Azure and SQL Data Services? post of 3/9/2009 asks Microsoft to state their intentions regarding recurring AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70: Service Organizations, Type II SAS 70 audits for the Azure Services Platform and SDS without further delay.

Andrew Conrad’s “VT20, Building Data Service Applications Part 2: Applications for the Real World” session at VS Live! San Francisco provided more details about Astoria v1.5 and Windows Azure/SDS. Andy provides a link to his slide decks and source code for two Astoria sessions in his VSlive Presentations and demos post of 3/4/2009. Here’s a shortcut.

Espen Antonsen asserts the need for Data Standards for Web Applications in his 3/3/2009 Cloud Avenue post. Espen recently went to hear Richard Stallman speak about copyright issues and wrote:

HÃ¥kon Wium Lie, the creator of CSS and CTO at Opera Software, had an interesting statement in his question to Stallman: "I believe that the need for open source in software is of lesser importance. What really matters is the data people produce and that we have proper standards to ensure portability between services and platforms."

This is especially true for cloud computing because it’s likely that moving data from the data center to the cloud or from one cloud to that of another cloud vendor will require more energy and cost more than creating scalable cloud applications to deliver it to the owners’ customers.

Azure Data Services’ adoption of the RESTful AtomPub standard for create, retrieve, update and delete (CRUD) operations is a step in the right direction for data portability.

Speaking of the AtomPub standard, Matt Asay reports on 3/4/2009 that Open-source guru [Sam] Ruby [is] leaving IBM for Microsoft. Sam is a prominent Apache Software Foundation director and Atom developer. Sam’s original version of the story is on his Intertwingly blog.

Ian Davis makes the same case in his Why Open Data Is More Important than Open Source post of 3/4/2009.

Dave Graham’s Hybridizing DR for the Cloud: Concerns post of 3/2/2009 analyzes issues that arise in disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) plans for data stored in public clouds. Referring to Steve Todd’s Replication and The Private Cloud post of 2/3/2009, Dave contends:

What works on terrestrial [i.e., private] DR/BC plans may not translate all that well to the cloud, however.

and recommends local and cloud-based virtual storage appliances (VSAs) that can split writes to multiple private clouds or cloud providers for storage and processing” to overcome problems with multi-hop routes from local premises to the cloud data center.

Tracert counts 8 hops between my PacBell DSL connection in Oakland and [207.46.45 in San Jose, plus three more within until timeouts occur.

SQL Data Services (SDS)

My SAS 70 Audits for Windows Azure and SQL Data Services? post of 3/9/2009 asks Microsoft to state their intentions regarding recurring AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70: Service Organizations, Type II SAS 70 audits for the Azure Services Platform and SDS without further delay. (Repeated from the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services section).

Andrew Conrad’s “VT20, Building Data Service Applications Part 2: Applications for the Real World” session at VS Live! San Francisco provided more details about Astoria v1.5 and Windows Azure/SDS. Andy provides a link to his slide decks and source code for two Astoria sessions in his VSlive Presentations and demos post of 3/4/2009. Here’s a shortcut. [Copied from Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services.]

David Robinson reports an Interview posted of Nigel Ellis and Niraj Nagrani from PDC 08 on 2/25/2009 that you can catch at Deep Fired Bytes: Episode 26: Discovering Azure SQL Services. The description reads:

Keith and Woody were grateful to get a chance at PDC 2008 to sit down with two experts on Azure SQL Services, Niraj Nagrani and Nigel Ellis. They discussed how this new Microsoft Cloud computing initiative can help developers have better reliability and scalability to store and retrieve their data.

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

• John Foley reveals in his Enterprise Computing In The Cloud InformationWeek article of 3/4/2009 that:

Microsoft says that one of the early adopters of its Azure Services Platform is using the Azure service bus to move data between an AS/400 computer and a mainframe. Microsoft hasn't publicly announced that customer case study -- it came up in my conversation with Steven Martin, Microsoft's senior director of developer platform product management -- but it's another example of how the cloud can be used for the types of data workloads that IT departments have been managing internally for years.

That example involves a company in the oil and gas industry. Martin says he's also been talking to insurance companies about using Azure cloud services for on-demand computing capacity for temporary, seasonal data processing.

Henry Story clearly explains how Foaf+SSL (Foaf = Friend of a friend) RESTful authentication works with the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) in his The foaf+ssl paradigm shift post of 3/3/2009. Henry’s analogies make a complex topic understandable. (Thanks to Mike Amundsen for the heads up.)

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

••• Jim Nakashima’s Updates to Windows Azure MVC Cloud Service for MVC RC2 post of 3/8/2009 describes “a hotfix that will solve stability issues when using MVC with the Windows Azure Tools.” He’s also “added more detail to the original MVC on Windows Azure post by making it a walkthrough.” Here are the links:

••• Brian Lambert shows you how to run an Azure Worker Role outside the Development Fabric in his detailed blambert/azure – Windows Azure Worker Roles – Thinking Outside The Box post of 3/7/2009. Brian writes:

While testing an Azure Worker Role in the Development Fabric is an important part of the development process, having to deploy an Azure Service on every development cycle is costly.  Especially if it is a Web and Worker Cloud Service, and you are only working on the Worker Role.

Fortunately, an Azure Worker Role is simply an assembly containing a class derived from RoleEntryPoint, and what we need from RoleManager isn’t that complicated.

His earlier Creating an Azure ASP.NET MVC Project post of 2/13/2009 brings MVC goodness to Azure Web Roles.

••• David LemphersWindows Azure: Settings Are Settings Are Settings..? Maybe Not!post of 3/5/2009 recommends using the ConfigurationSettings element within your Service Configuration and Service Definition files, and use the RoleManager.GetConfigurationSetting() method to read the setting, rather than store your configuration settings using the App.config file for your project, then use the standard libraries from .NET to read them. David’s reason for this recommendation is:

Well, when you store your settings in your Service Configuration and Definition files, you are able to change those settings without having to redeploy your application. If you use the App.config file, any change you make won’t be picked up until you redeploy your app.

Tom Lounibos promotes use of business intelligence applications in conjunction with cloud-based testing of primary sales and marketing Web sites in his CLOUD: Performance Intelligence Delivers Certainty post of 3/4/2009. Tom writes:

First, we definitely need a NEW affordable and scalable Test model that moves web performance analy[sis] away from being a simple math exercise.  In the past,  if we had done any Load Testing (cost) we perform it simulating only a fraction of the expected traffic to the site  (5%-10%).   Then we would calculate what the impact of the other 95% of load would have on the site and application.  A very inexact science, that has led to some pretty big and damaging headlines in the Wall Street [J]ournal for some, as sites crashed under stress and load.

Cristophilus’ RestPad is a simple Notepad-like, application, “which helps test/tinker with RESTful services by allowing users to edit the raw HTTP which is sent to the server and view the raw HTTP responses,” according to the author’s An Editor for Communicating with RESTful Services CodeProject post of 3/3/2009:

The application allows you to type raw HTTP into the request panel (the left panel). You can then POST, PUT, GET, or DELETE the HTTP to a given URI. By default, RESTPad will make minor corrections to your entry. It will substitute the URI in the address bar for whatever URI you might have entered into the request. It will also correct your content-length. If you do not want this auto-correction, you can turn it off by un-checking Options->Use Auto Correct.

Here’s a screen capture of RestPad displaying the headers for downloading a blob from an OakLeaf public blob container:

Separate downloads of binaries and source code are available. (Thanks to Sam Gentile for the heads-up.)

Paul van Brenk reports he is able to run dasBlog on Windows Azure (local for now) by following Jim Nakashima’s early Using an Existing ASP.Net Web Application as a Windows Azure Web Role tutorial. Paul writes:

It doesn’t let you save anything, Windows Azure doesn’t like it when you try to write to the filesystem, but it shows the posts & loads the theme. And with only minor changes!

Alin Imirie describes improving 404 Handling on Windows Azure with a custom error page in this 2/27/2009 post.

Azure Infrastructure

My SAS 70 Audits for Windows Azure and SQL Data Services? post of 3/9/2009 asks Microsoft to state their intentions regarding recurring AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70: Service Organizations, Type II SAS 70 audits for the Azure Services Platform and SDS without further delay. (Repeated from the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services section).

••• Eric Lai posits Microsoft: Enterprises will be able to self-host Windows Azure, someday in this ComputerWorld article of March 6, 2009. Quoting Steven Martin, who’s been a source for a bevy of reporters this week:

"The innovation in Azure and future versions of Windows Server will be shared, and that code base will continue to cross-pollinate," said Steven Martin, senior director for developer platform product management at Microsoft, in an interview. "The corporate data center at some point in time will look like a mini-cloud, partitioned by application workload."

I’ll stick with the party line from the majority of the Azure execs I’ve heard from so far: There’s no plan to support the Windows Azure Fabric’s hypervisor outside of Microsoft Data Centers.

••• Patrick Thibodeau wrote ComputerWorld’s New federal CIO Vivek Kundra wants a Web 2.0 government story of 3/5/2009, which carries this subtitle: “Mini-profile: He likes Facebook's approach, cloud computing, dislikes proprietary tech, big IT contracts.” Patrick writes:

Kundra also wants to use technology such as cloud computing to attack the government's culture of big-contract boondoggles and its hiring of contractors who end up "on the payroll indefinitely."

Kundra, in conference call today with reporters shortly after President Barack Obama named him as federal CIO said one of his first projects is to create a Web site to "democratize" the federal government's vast information treasures by making them accessible in open formats and in feeds that can be used by application developers.

The Azure team’s Moving to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) starting this Sunday post of 3/6/2009 announces the start of the change from PDT to UTC on the day after the change to daylight time, 3/8/2009. More details are in their earlier post, "Moving to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)", of 2/26/2009.

Wonder why they didn’t start today (3/7/2009)?

••• Richard Waters’ How many computers does the world need? article of 3/6/2009 for the Financial Times quotes Rick Rashid, head of Microsoft Research: “[A]round 20 per cent of all the servers sold around the world each year are now being bought by a small handful of internet companies.” Waters goes on to say, “[H]e named Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Amazon. That is an amazing statistic, and certainly not one I’d heard before. And this is before cloud computing has really caught on in a big way.” Waters’ article concludes:

Rashid says it’s too soon to speculate on all the ways the handful of globally distributed mega-computers will change the world. But he adds this: every time there’s a transition to a new computer architecture, there’s a tendency simply to assume that existing applications will be carried over (ie, word processors in the cloud). But the new architecture actually makes possible many new applications that had never been thought of, and these are the ones that go on to define the next stage of computing.

Alan Patrick observes in his The re-emergence of Asimov's Multivac? post of 3/6/2009:

Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov imagined a global, omnipresent supercomputer accessed by multimedia tablets - Multivac. When mainframes fell out of favour this vision was neglected. Cometh the cloud, returneth the Multivac dream?

Nicholas Carr’s closing keynote at the IDC Directions '09 conference in San Jose on 3/4/2009 claimed Why Cloud Computing Is the New Electrical Grid, according to’s Andy Patrizio, who added: “Author Nicholas Carr sees parallels between the power grid and cloud computing that presage big changes for IT.” Patrizio writes:

Cloud services will be what the electrical grid was a century ago: the basis for a whole new set of services, markets and possibilities that can change the way we live and operate, but also threaten the dominant computing hierarchy.

That was the general theme of the closing keynote speech by Nicholas Carr, former executive editor of Harvard Business Review and author of the book "Does IT Matter?" He capped off a day of lectures and sessions here this week at the IDC Directions '09 conference, sticking with the popular theme of the day, cloud computing.

Carr's 2008 book "The Big Switch" compared cloud computing with how electricity was generated a century ago, and his speech built on that. Back in the 1800s, individual businesses built their own power generators. Sitting next to a company, whether it was a steel mill or a factory, was its own power plant. …

"I don't think companies have realized what this is going to mean," said Carr. "Not only what they can do quickly and cheaply without having to make a big investment, but the IT department won't be the bottleneck for big computing jobs within the company."

••• Thomas Hoffman interviewed Nicholas Carr in mid-December 2008 and wrote Nicholas Carr on 'The Big Switch' to cloud computing for ComputerWorld, which carried the subtitle: “Nicholas Carr touts reliability but fears vendor lock-in.” Carr acknowledges that cloud computing facilities of reliable vendors will become as secure as on-premises data centers, if it’s not already more secure.

••• John Foley also quotes Steven Martin, Microsoft's senior director of developer platform product management, in his Microsoft Vs. Amazon: A Battle Is Brewing post of 3/6/2009. Foley cites Martin’s comments about Amazon Web Service’s hosting of Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005, which competes with Windows Azure and SQL Data Services.

Eric Knorr explains Why Microsoft will rule the cloud ... someday in his InfoWorld Editor’s Blog post of 3/5/2009. Here’s the deck:

Windows Azure isn't ready for prime time, but it has the potential to be the biggest, baddest cloud of them all.

Later in the article, Eric writes:

What really got me going … is that Microsoft is actively cultivating .Net partners to take up residence on Azure. Epicor, an ERP software provider, is creating a software-as-a-service .Net version for Azure. MicroFocus, which specializes in tools to migrate Cobol apps off mainframes, will soon let you deploy on Azure. OpenText, a content management company, is also taking the Azure route. The list goes on. Plus, along with .Net Services, why not throw in the entire stack of Microsoft servers? Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, and Dynamics CRM are there now (although not necessarily ready for prime time). Already, says [Steven] Martin, [Microsoft’s senior director of developer platform product management,] an "industry leader in oil and gas" is using BizTalk and Windows Workflow hosted on Azure for process integration. [Links added.]

Plus, remember those dozens of Web services protocols we've heard about for years that so few developers actually use? Those will be baked into Azure, too. So will Active Directory services. In other words, you can imagine a day when Azure will contain everything Microsoft makes, plus an ecosystem of third-party .Net services and applications. No customer datacenter would ever have that much Microsoft stuff.

The result would be an incredibly rich environment for developing composite applications in the cloud. And as Martin points out, "in the cloud, we have opportunities for a higher degree of componentization." By stringing together components in this ultra-rich environment, VARs could create vertical, cloud-based applications tailored to all manner of small and medium-size businesses. Enterprise IT will stay away, of course, but it may not be able to stop certain departments or lines of business from giving it a whirl. …

It seems more likely that there will be multiple clouds -- more and bigger platforms still only marginally interconnected. One day, Azure seems certain to be one of the largest

See also David Worthington’s Microsoft clears the path for Azure article of 3/4/2009 for Software Development Times. David adds S3Edge to the early adopters, quoting Steven Martin:

S3Edge is building an RFID-based inventory recall system.

To assist more customers onto the Azure platform, the company's patterns and practices group will deliver recommended best practices on cloud utilization and data storage concepts later this year, according to Martin.

Likewise, enterprise governance is also on the radar. Microsoft has begun talking to customers about how application portability will affect compliance with regulation and privacy policies, said Martin. Visual Studio will let developers decide whether to deploy applications on premises, in the cloud or as a combination of the two.

•• John Foley performs a Cloud Computing Reality Check on 3/5/2009 by providing a “snapshot of user attitudes in this fast-moving market.” Following is a list of his snapshots from surveys conducted in January and February 2009, most of which are publicly available:

  1. Who's using cloud services?
  2. What are your top concerns about cloud services?
  3. What are the top obstacles cloud computing providers must overcome?
  4. How would you prefer to pay for cloud services?
  5. Who's using pay-per-use hosted virtual servers?
  6. Who's using software as a service?
  7. The benefits of cloud computing are?

There are no real surprises in John’s report, which is more timely than most.

•’s 2009 Cloud Computing Trends Report states that “larger companies and small businesses will utilize Cloud Computing. Adoption Rates are not impacted by company size – larger companies, 33% in the next 12 months; small companies, 34% in next 12 months.”

You can register to download the eBook report at A brief summary of the report is available to read (without registering) at the releases Cloud Computing Report post of 3/4/2009.

• Frank Gillett analyzed The State Of Emerging Enterprise Hardware Trends: 2008 To 2009 for Forrester, who offered the report for US$ 1,999. Gillett says “5% of enterprises reported using cloud computing.” Here’s the Executive Summary:

This report provides sample highlights of an extensive data set collected across North American and European enterprises via our Enterprise And SMB Hardware Survey, North America And Europe, Q3 2008. Hot topics include server virtualization, green IT, cloud computing, business continuity, client virtualization, and sources of information that influence purchasing decisions. Adoption of x86 server virtualization neared 50%, while 5% of enterprises reported using cloud computing. Eighty-one percent of enterprises have some level of interest in increasing the electrical efficiency of the data center, although only 18% are very interested. And 70% of enterprises hope that they can lower PC costs with alternative technologies such as desktop virtualization.

Update 3/5/2009: According to John Foley’s  Cloud Computing Reality Check post of 3/5/2009, InformationWeek “Analytics' Cloud Computing Survey of 547 business technology pros”, February 2009 reports:

Who's using cloud services?

18% Using cloud services today
  9% Planning to use cloud services with 12 months
25% Considering cloud services
48% No plans

The full survey hasn’t been published yet.

• Gina Bianchini and Amitabh Srivastava give their ideas about How start-ups can hit the ground running with cloud computing in last week’s video clip:

At the TechCrunch Cloud Computing Roundtable in Mountain View, Calif., Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning, says that cloud computing can give start-ups an edge by allowing them to focus on the application their business is producing, and then gives them far wider distribution--through sites like Facebook--than was available just a few years ago. Amitabh Srivastava, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows Azure group, adds that the cloud eliminates hardware headaches, an important consideration for start-ups that may not even have funding yet. Moderator: Erick Schonfeld, co-editor TechCrunch.

• Larry Dignan asks Will economic downturn push companies into the cloud? [video] in this 3/4/2009 00:01:48 video excerpt:

At the TechCrunch Cloud Computing Roundtable in Mountain View, Calif., Marc Benioff, CEO of, explains why he thinks Microsoft’s entry into the business will bring validation to the cloud. Many CTOs, he says, still need to be convinced that using software as a service will save them money and move their companies toward the future. Moderator: Steve Gillmor, editor of TechCrunchIT

David Linthicum’s Cloud Computing Shifts the Risk post of 3/4/2008 describes how cloud computing shifts the risk of running out of capacity to serve customers from your datacenter to the cloud provider. However, it doesn’t mention that you, not necessarily the cloud provider, run the risk of going out of business if your application stops running in the cloud.

Craig Stedman reports Cloud computing not fully enterprise-ready, IT execs say on 3/2/2009 at Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference in Orlando. Craig leads off with:

Educational Testing Service, developer of the SAT and other standardized tests, runs applications on software-as-a-service platforms such as And CIO Daniel Wakeman said he's interested in using cloud computing services that could enable ETS, which has a highly cyclical business and an average server utilization rate of just 8%, to modulate its processing capacity as needed.

Wakeman has gone so far as to benchmark internal servers against Inc.'s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. But even though the costs were similar and EC2 could be an answer to Wakeman's server utilization issues, he's currently limiting his use of cloud services to pilot projects and development testing — "things that don't require full levels of security."

David Linthicum presents the audio from his latest Interoperability, Portability, and Cloud Computing Webinar here and The value of the clouds defined! podcast of 3/1/2009 here.

The Cloud Computing Tools Team’s Hotfix for VS Crash with ASP.Net MVC in a Windows Azure Cloud Service Project post of 2/27/2009 reports on the availability of a Microsoft Connect hotfix for the VS crash while using the MVC RC in a Windows Azure Cloud Service project.

Following are links to Mary Jo Foley’s five daily articles of 2/23/2009 to 2/27/2009 about Microsoft’s “Red Dog” cloud operating system that became Windows Azure:

Steve Lasker reports in his New year, new gig, new blog. Moving to the cloud… post of 2/26/2009 that he’ll be moving from the SQL Server Compact team to join the Azure Billing group. I’ve known Steve during many of the years of Microsoft beta programs that I’ve endured.

Steve Marx’s The Time Zones, They Are A-Changin’ in Windows Azure post of 2/25/2009 points to his post about time zones over on the Windows Azure blog.  The upshot is that a change from PST to UCT might be a breaking change for some users.

Cloud Computing Events

••• James Urquhart will be one of the judges at the Under the Radar: Clarity in the Cloud conference to be held 4/24/2009 at the Microsoft Conference Center, Building 1, 1065 La Avenida Street, Mountain View, CA, 94043.

His “Has 'cloud-computing' lost its VC luster?” post of 3/7/2009 posits:

I've had a few discussions with venture capitalists of late regarding the assignment of the "cloud" label to start-ups pitching everything from hardware to--believe it or not--downloadable software clients. It seems that just about every pitch these days is for "cloud computing", and the folks with the money are getting a little weary of it.

Hopefully, that won’t affect Under the Radar’s atmosphere, about which James says (parenthetically):

Previous Under the Radar events have contributed to over 1.3 billion dollars in funding raised for participating companies in the last three years alone. Companies like Flickr, Animoto and iLike have benefited from past events.

The Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference, being held 7/27 to 7/31/2009 in San Diego, will include a Cloud Computing’s Business Advantage track. Topics include:

  • Defining the Cloud: Architecture, Infrastructure, and Economics Cloud computing is a new IT service model that organizations must comprehend. Putting the cloud to work for your business will require changes to your architecture, new choices of infrastructure services, and a strong understanding of internal and external cloud economics. Topic Details
  • Using the Cloud: Rewards, Risks, and Practices Cloud computing, for all of its hype, is inevitable. Savvy organizations will understand cloud computing, its benefits and pitfalls, and how to use it to their advantage. Topic Details
  • Server Virtualization: The Foundation for Cloud Infrastructure Server virtualization evolution has changed from a consolidation focus to maximizing your virtualization investment to building an internal cloud-based infrastructure, optimizing management, ease troubleshooting, and employing accounting practices. Topic Details

Nicholas Carr’s closing keynote at the IDC Directions '09 conference in San Jose on 3/4/2009 claimed Why Cloud Computing Is the New Electrical Grid, according to’s Andy Patrizio, who added: “Author Nicholas Carr sees parallels between the power grid and cloud computing that presage big changes for IT.” Get the details in the Azure Infrastructure section above.

EnergizeIT - From the Client to the Cloud (Vancouver) will be held April 8, 2009 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM PST (Welcome Time: April 8, 2009 6:00 PM) at the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver Grand Ballroom & Passage, 1088 Burrard Street Vancouver British Columbia V6Z 2R9

This session will allow you to understand Microsoft’s Software+Services vision through a combination of presentation, demonstration, and discussion.   Learn how you can collaborate more effectively and take your small and mid-sized business to the next level and accessible from virtually anywhere using the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite.  You will see Windows 7 in action and gain insight into how you can harness it in your environment.  We will demonstrate how Windows 7 and Windows Live allow you to connect and collaborate with friends and family in ways you may not have thought of before.  Find out how to develop applications that take advantage of Windows Azure Services providing new levels of scalability.  Finally, discover how bringing together the power the Desktop with the flexibility of the Cloud will provide amazing opportunities for you to solve some difficult challenges ahead.

EnergizeIT - From the Client to the Cloud (Calgary) will be held April 1, 2009 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM MST (Welcome Time: April 1, 2009 6:00 PM) at Hotel Arts, Room Spectrum 45, 119 - 12th Avenue SW, Calgary Alberta T2R 0G8 Canada.

Catch dates for other Canadian cities here.

MIX 09: My Azure-Related Sessions at MIX 09 post was updated with four new sessions, session codes, and time/location on 3/5/2009.

•• SaaS Summit 2009 will be held Wednesday, March 11, 2009 6:30 PM - Friday, March 13, 2009 3:15 PM at The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, California 94102,(415) 397-7000.

Special Keynote- Don Tapscott, Author of Grown Up Digital and Chairman, nGenera

Keynotes Include

  • Rob Tarkoff, SVP and GM, Business Productivity Business Unit, Adobe
  • Greg Urquhart, General Manager US ISV & NSI Partner Group, Microsoft
  • Treb Ryan, CEO, OpSource

Feature Presentations Include

  • Maynard Webb, Chairman and CEO, LiveOps
  • Willie Tejada, Vice President of Application Acceleration, Akamai Technologies
  • Michael Braun, President and CEO, Intacct Corporation
  • James Palmer, Vice President of Strategy, Symantec

    OpSource SaaS Summit 2009 topics will include:

        • Thriving, Not Just Surviving
        • SaaS Marketing in a Downturn
        • Cloud Confusion
        • Selling SaaS to the Enterprise
        • Funding the Cloud
        • Minimal Cost, Maximum Gain with Social Networking
        • SaaS Channels: Money Maker or Money Waster

    Reuven Cohen argues that The cloud IS NOT the new dotcom in his 2/1/2009 post about George Zachary’s proclamation at TechCrunch’s "Whose Cloud is It Anyway?" roundtable. (See my update of 3/2/2009 at the end of my Astoria Team Preannounces Forthcoming ADO.NET Data Services 1.5 CTP 1 post.)

    Reuven favors Louis Gray’s take in his Web Two Dot Oh DotCom Dot Cloud Colon Slash Slash post of 2/27/2009:

    All names aside, there is as much fact as there was fad in the cloud. The cloud's benefits are clear as data can be stored independent of physical disks, and doesn't require dedicated storage and server administration. Code developers want anytime access to infinite bandwidth and storage, and consumers want instant response times. As the panel debated the genesis of enterprise apps absorbing consumer application features, it was clear that each was facing challenges impossible just a decade ago, and the cloud's availability changed everything.

    The comments to Reuven’s post are especially interesting.

    Tom Lounibos’s TechCRUNCH: The Gorillas are NOW in the Room post of 2/27/2009 provides another overview of the event with a hat tip to Reuven Cohen.

    Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

    ••• Jon Collins reports that “Cloud Computing” ranks with “Web 2.0” as today’s most irritating buzzword in slide 4 of his Cloud Computing – from myth to reality deck:

    Click image to display full-screen 1024 x 768 capture.

    Jon’s Freeform Dynamics Cloud Computing presentation has much more detail than any other I’ve seen. Be sure to view the presentation in full-screen mode.

    ••• Monitis Announces Amazon EC2 Cloud Edition of its performance monitoring and management service, according to this press release of 3/7/2009:

    Monitis Enterprise Edition will be available as Amazon Machine Image (AMI), but also as VMWare image and Citrix XEN image. It will make deployment quick and seamless. The price per server will depends on maximum number of monitoring nodes requires and will start from $499. Unlimited version will cost $9,999. A significant discount will be provided for education, healthcare and government organizations.

    •• Reuven Cohen proposes The Universal Amazon EC2 API Adapter (UEC2) in a 3/5/2009 post to his Elastic Vapor blog. Reuven writes:

    [M]ost users who have deployed to the cloud have written their applications specifically for the Amazon Web Service API, making it currently the De facto standard. So it occurred to me, that a potentially big opportunity might be to create an open universal EC2 API adapter / abstraction layer (UEC2). Unlike EUCALYPTUS, the EC2 API adapter can work with your existing infrastructure tools and is completely platform agnostic.

    At the heart of this concept would be a universal EC2 abstraction, similar to ODBC, a platform-independent database abstraction layer. Like ODBC a user could install the specific EC2 api-implementation, through which a cloned EC2 API is able to communicate with traditional virtual infrastructure platforms such as VMware using the standardized EC2 API. The user then has the ability to have their EC2 specific applications communicate directly with any infrastructure using this EC2 Adapter. The adapter then relays the results back and forth between the the other various infrastructure platforms & API's.

    •• Judith Myerson describes the differences of Cloud computing versus grid computing using Amazon EC2 as an example in this IBM whitepaper of 3/3/2009. Here’s the deck:

    Want to know more about cloud and grid computing? Learn how you can use Infrastructure as a Service to get a full computer infrastructure using Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). See the similarities, differences, and issues to consider in grid and cloud computing. Explore some of the security issues and choices for Web development in the cloud, and see how you can be environmentally friendly using cloud computing.

    Geva Perry’s Cloud Computing Jobs: A Leading Indicator post of 3/4/2009 includes a relative trend graph from of the growth of cloud computing jobs from 9/2007 through 12/2008. Click here for a graph of the absolute percentage of cloud computing to all job listings, which has increased from about 0% in 9/2007 to more than 0.02% in 12/2008. On 3/4/2009, there were 643 cloud computing jobs listed.

    The job descriptions give important insight into what cloud-related vendors, such as Yahoo, Dell, Supermicro, Intuit, Elastra, and users, such as SearchAmerica, are up to.

    Krishnan Subramanian’s VPNCubed Available For EC2 Including A Free Version post of 3/4/2009 announdes that CohesiveFT’s VPN-Cubed for EC2 cloud networking security system has emerged from beta with free and paid EC2 AMIs. Here’s how CohesiveFT describes their product:

    VPN-Cubed provides an overlay network that allows YOU control of addressing, topology, protocols, and encrypted communications for YOUR devices deployed to virtual infrastructure or cloud computing centers.  When using public clouds your corporate assets are going into 3rd party controlled infrastructure.  This could be public clouds like Amazon EC2.  It could be “gated community” clouds from Telcos like BT, ATT and more.  In both cases you are deploying to 3rd party control, yet Enterprise checks and balances require you to exhibit control over your computing infrastructure.  VPN-Cubed gives you flexibility with control in 3rd party environments.

    Jake Sorofman explains How to Achieve the Strategic Value of Cloud while Delivering Real ROI in this eWeek Knowledge Center white paper of 3/3/2009 with the following TOC:

    1. How to Achieve the Strategic Value of Cloud while Delivering Real ROI
    2. Level No. 1: Virtualization
    3. Level No. 3: Cloud Foundations
    4. Level No. 5: Cloud Actualization: Hypercloud

    Jake begins Chapter 1:

    Cloud computing will soon play a major role in application delivery. Enterprises are starting to see cloud computing as a natural extension of virtualization and are exploring what cloud computing will mean for existing IT infrastructure. While large-scale adoption of cloud computing is still on a future horizon, it is not too soon to begin planning for its entry into the fabric of enterprise IT. Knowledge Center contributor Jake Sorofman explores a five-step framework for cloud computing adoption that begins at virtualization and ends with true cloud actualization:

    Jake is VP of Marketing for rPath, which offers rBuilder and the rPath Lifecycle Management Platform to automate the creation, configuration, management and maintenance of application images for virtualized and [Amazon] cloud computing environments.

    Kevin Jackson delivers 2nd Government Cloud Computing Survey - A Sneak Peek on 3/3/2009 with preliminary comparisons of 10/2008 and 2/2009 for the percentage of Government Customer Familiar[iarity] with Cloud Computing (Not at All, Somewhat Familiar, and Very Familiar) and Government Customer Main Issues/Challenges [with adopting cloud computing]. Kevin’s post goes on to say:

    Finally, the data shows that security remains the dominant barrier to adoption, with 71% of respondents naming that as the top customer concern.

    If you haven't completed the survey, please go to and complete the short survey. Complete results will be presented at the 2nd International Cloud Computing Conference and Expo in New York City, March 30th - April 1, 2009.

    Jeffrey Burt’s Elastra Looks to Bridge Public, Private Clouds eWeek article of 2/26/2009 leads with:

    Elastra is rolling out the public beta of its Elastra Server Cloud 2.0, which company officials see as the broker between public compute clouds, such as those created using Amazon’s EC2 platform, and private cloud environments built on virtualization technology from vendors such as VMware. Elastra officials say such hybrid clouds will give enterprises the agility offered in cloud computing with in-house policies and controls.

    and continues:

    The company is expected to announce the general availability of its technology in the spring. Elastra already has attracted the attention of some big players in the cloud computing field, including Amazon, which was among a group of companies that invested $12 million in Elastra last year.

    In addition, it is working closely with VMware in the development of its strategy. Elastra officials said VMware technology is its platform of choice for creating in-house private compute clouds

    Geva Perry asks What are Amazon EC2 Compute Units? in his 3/3/2009 post and complains about lack of detailed information about the exact capacity you receive for your EC2 Compute Unit payments and Amazon’s suggestion that you benchmark the services you purchase. Wes Felter responds in a comment:

    Small: 50% time-share of 1 core at ~2.4GHz (effectively ~1.2GHz)
    Large: 2 cores at ~2.4GHz
    XLarge: 4 cores at ~2.4GHz
    High Med: 2 cores at ~3GHz
    High XL: 8 cores at ~3GHz

    Reuven Cohen claims VMware's vCloud API Still Hazy, Ambitions Are Clear in this 3/1/2009 post for Cloud Interoperability Magazine. Reuven writes:

    Actually what I found most was the quote VMware's Dan Chu, vice president of emerging products and markets made in the Network World website. In the post he outlines "that one of the drivers for the API was the lack of standardisation for cloud computing interoperability." He goes on to say that the company was looking to build on its work with Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) on the open virtualisation format (OVF). "The industry needs to take a big step towards interoperability. We hope to work with the appropriate bodies to move forward to establish a common standard."

    As for being interoperable, VMware is saying that its various management tools will only work on top of the VMware hypervisor. In other words, physical servers and servers virtualised by Microsoft, Citrix or any other vendor will not be compatible with the vCloud initiative. Summarized, we're interoperable as long as it's VMware. [Emphasis added.]

    Dare Obasanjo’s Is Google App Engine the wrong product for the market? post of 3/1/2009 analyzes whether GAE meets the requirements of either of these two groups of potential readers of a cloud computing book:

      • Enterprise developers looking to cut costs of running their own IT infrastructure by porting existing apps or writing new apps. 
      • Web developers looking to build new applications who are interested in leveraging a high performance infrastructure without having to build their own.

    Dare concludes that enterprise developers want to “reuse their existing skills and technology expertise,” which means Java or .NET development. GAE supports Python and a subset of the Python libraries only.

    He then determines that Web developers “who are considering … Web hosting but have concerns about scaling up if their service gets successful.” Dare writes:

    The fact that Google App Engine is limited to only Python meaning that it is unavailable to developers using WISC platforms and only a subset of developers using LAMP can participate on the platform.” …

    That said, Google App Engine does address the long tail of developers which I guess is nothing to sneeze at. Maybe it will see some success from targeting the low end in the same way that AdSense targeted the long tail of advertisers and is now the powerhouse of search advertising. Maybe. I doubt it though.

    John Foley describes how A Cloud User Switches Clouds from Coghead, who’s going out of business, to PaaS vendor Caspio in a few days. Foley writes:

    Quality Behavior Outcomes, a behavior health agency in Hawaii and Northern California, has moved several Web applications originally developed on Coghead over to Caspio Bridge, the vendor's app-hosting service.


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