Monday, July 13, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 7/6/2009+

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

Update 7/11/2009 and 7/12/2009: Additions, IsMyServerUp Azure app, WPC09 updates 
• Update 7/9/2009: Additions, Azure pricing forecast, Google outage explanation; 7/10/2009: SQL Azure Database CTP in August, SocketShifter App 
• Update 7/7 and 7/8/2009: Additions, Microsoft SQL Azure Database, Google Chrome OS

(Off-topic, but couldn't resist linking this Oakland Travel Video --rj)

Note: This post is updated daily or more frequently, depending on the availability of new articles in the following sections:

To use these links, click the post title to display the single article you want to navigate.

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

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• Simon Munro announces the availability on CodePlex of his CatFax demo Azure app for moving SQL data to and from the cloud using SQL CLR, Azure WCF and Azure Storage. Simon offers a detailed description of the app in his Catfax – SQL CLR, WCF and Windows Azure post of 7/8/2009.

Jamie Thomson’s illustrated LINQPad and Azure post of 7/6/2009 shows you how to use LINQPad to query Azure tables using LINQ.

My Direct Access to Windows Live SkyDrive Files Has Weird Inconsistencies post of 7/5/2009 described problems I encountered when using SkyDrive as a data source for the Azure Blob Test Harness described here and in Targeting Azure Storage, my cover story for Visual Studio Magazine’s July 2009 issue.

SQL Azure Database (SAD)

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•• David Robinson’s SQL Azure - Same great platform, just a better aligned name post of 7/9/2009 to the SQL Azure Team blog confirms my statement in Jeff Schwartz’s The Latest Name for SQL Services Is a Cosmetic Change post of the same date that the new name for SDS is only rebranding.

The real news is in Dave’s last paragraph:

The next few months are going to be exciting. On the technology front, we are getting ready for our next CTP in August. You can, however, get started today with SQL Express. The team has been working closely with some early adopters and the feedback has been overwhelming positive. Thank you for being so patient, the wait is almost over. Over the next day or two, we will be pushing additional details regarding SQL Azure, including posting our first round of SQL Azure Database documentation to MSDN (once it’s posted, I will post a link to it here). [Emphasis added.]

I’ve asked in a comment to Dave’s post what "get started today with SQL Express” means. I’ll update this item when I get an answer.

SunnyJC leaked to the Data Platform Insider blog that Microsoft SQL Services is now Microsoft SQL Azure and and SQL Data Services will become Microsoft SQL Azure Database. The link appeared on 7/8/2009 at about 9:30 AM PDT in the blog’s Atom feed but the post wasn’t accessible at 10:30 AM, so here’s the full text:

You are hearing it here first: Microsoft is updating the branding for SQL Services and SQL Data Services. Effective immediately, SQL Services will be called Microsoft SQL Azure, and SQL Data Services will be Microsoft SQL Azure Database. This name change doesn’t reflect a change in the products themselves; we will still be providing a powerful relational database foundation to the Azure Services Platform. By standardizing our naming conventions, we’re demonstrating the tight integration between the components of the services platform. More intuitive names also help to reinforce the relationships between our on-premises and cloud solutions. Ultimately, the goal is to drive simplicity and clarity for customers as they consider on-premises and cloud computing approaches for solving their IT needs.

There will be more news and updates related to our Software + Services strategy next week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. For those of you not attending in person, all the news and information can be found at: Check back often starting next Monday, July 13, for daily updates.

Mary Jo Foley seems to have scooped the trade press with her Microsoft updates more of its hosted services infrastructure post of 10:35 a.m. PDT.

The SQL Data Services team’s TSQL Support in SQL Data Services post of 7/8/2009 describes the T-SQL restrictions imposed by SQL Server 2008’s implementation for Windows Azure as a hosted multi-tenant system. The post covers restrictions to DDL, DML and manageability features. (The team apparently didn’t have the word or the authority to use the new name.)

Jason Massie (a.k.a. @StatisticsIO) reports on 7/6/2009 that this New SQL Server on Vsphere Whitepaper demonstates: 

SQL runs good on Vsphere and does so mostly out of the box with little SQL Server specific tweaking. I hope to see some production apps running on Vsphere soon and will compare the real world results with the lab results. I am pretty hopeful a Vsphere\SQL Server combination is a good one. The ESX 3.5\SQL Server whitepaper did not show physical vs. virtual numbers so one would assume that they were not stellar.

The whitepaper should be of interest to potential SDS users.

Hany Michael’s vSphere in a Box: A “Virtual Private Cloud” Blueprint post to 7/6/2009 might interest folks who read the preceding whitepaper.

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

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Wictor Wilén’s Use Windows Azure as your SharePoint Records Center post of 7/10/2009 describes how to create a Web Cloud Service called AzureRecordsCenter, generate an IRecordsRepositorySoap.cs file containing the correct interface for the records management web service, and add a new Web Service named OfficialFile.asmx that implements four methods:

Wictor provides detailed instructions for deploying and using the AzureRecordsCenter project.

Matias Woloski shows how to use SocketShifter (see below) to connect via RDP to a remote SQL Server instance in his .NET Service Bus – Remote Desktop over Firewalls! post of 7/10/2009:

• Dana Gardner’s Don’t use an ESB unless you absolutely, positively need one, Mule CTO warns post of 7/8/2009 begins:

“To ESB or not to ESB,” that is the question Ross Mason, MuleSource CTO, raises in a his blog this week.

It would be heresy among marketers at many vendors, but the Mule CTO is actively discouraging architects and developers from using an enterprise service bus (ESB), including his company’s open-source version, unless they are sure they really need one. It would be heresy among marketers at many vendors, but the Mule CTO is actively discouraging architects and developers from using an enterprise service bus (ESB), including his company’s open-source version, unless they are sure they really need one. …

• Nuno Filipe Godinho posted Windows Azure Service Platform: July CTP Breaking Changes Announcement on 7/6/2009:

“(…)Queues and Routers data will NOT be persisted and restored after the maintenance. Users will need to back up their data if they wish to restore them after the July 2009 CTP release. Please see below for detail.

As previously announced, the existing Workflow Service will be removed from .NET Services in the July 2009 CTP release. Any solutions that currently rely on the Workflow Services will have to be modified on or before 7/7/2009 9am PST in order to continue functioning smoothly. Existing solution Workflow Service metadata such as Workflow Type will also be deleted and cannot be retrieved after the July 2009 CTP release. (…)”

Here’s the .NET Services Team’s full post 7/7/2009: Microsoft .NET Services July 2009 CTP Release.

Clemens VastersSocketShifter - Network virtualization over the .NET Service Bus post of 7/6/2009 suggests:

Anyone using the .NET Service Bus should take a good look at the SocketShifter project started by Rob Blackwell and Richard Prodger from AWS in the UK. AWS stands for Active Web Solutions, not for the "other" AWS. The full project is up on Codeplex.

What makes SocketShifter significant is that it takes the network abstraction of SOAP, WS-Addressing, and the Service Bus full circle and layers the very bottom of that stack - plain TCP connections - as a virtualization on top of the the stack. In other words: SocketShifter allows you to create full-fidelity, bi-directional socket connections through the .NET Service Bus.

We've created something very similar to SocketShifter last year (we're using it for a few internal purposes), but haven't made it public so far. I'm glad that the AWS folks built this, so that you get to play with it.

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

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Burak Sarica’s Is My Server Up Azure Web site monitoring application tests a list of  server names and URLS every 15 minutes to determine if they are live. Burak’s account DMs your Twitter account if the account is down, so you must follow ismyserverup to receive alarms.

Jim Nakashima’s The Windows Azure CGI Web Role Template Explained post of 7/11/2009 explains why you should be interested in using Visual Studio when building a FastCGI application that runs on Windows Azure and then shows you how to use the template to configure, run in the Development Fabric, and prepare for deploying WebRoles written in PHP, IronPython or IronRuby.

Wally B. McClure (a.k.a. @wbm) offers TimedTweet, an Azure-hosted service at It lets you create a user account, then write Tweets to be sent to Twitter at the time you specify, I think.

Right, Wally?

Update: By email, Wally says:

I’ve been working on some features that will allow companies to better manage their twitter interactions. You’ll probably see some new features over the next couple of weeks.

Microsoft announced that the beta version of its Hohm home-energy SaaS, which runs on Windows Azure, is available for user signup today. I was surprised to find that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (a.k.a. PG&E Corp), the northern California utility (monopoly) wasn’t an electricity or natural gas provider for Hohm. In fact, the manual entry form rejected my attempt to enter its name.

David Lemphers shows you how “to run commands in the VM environment, kind of like a remote console, so [you can] see what [is] happening” by running diagnostics in the VM in his Looking Inside Windows Azure! post of 7/6/2009.

Jamie Thomson’s illustrated LINQPad and Azure post of 7/6/2009 shows you how to use LINQPad to query Azure tables using LINQ (copied from the Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services section.)

Azure Infrastructure

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Michael Stiefel “is back to talk about the realities of Cloud Computing including offerings from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure” in .NET Rocks Show #459, Michael Stiefel on Cloud Computing, of 6/30/2009.

According to Carl and Richard:

Michael Stiefel, principal of Reliable Software, Inc., is a consultant on software architecture and development and the alignment of information technology with business goals. He is currently a member of the OASIS Technical Committee developing a core SOA Reference Model. He is a Visiting Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Science, Technology and Society Program where his research and teaching focus is the teaching of engineering to high school and undergraduate students. …

•• Barbara Darrow works the Ouija board in her Microsoft Azure to undercut Amazon Web Services pricing post of 7/9/2009 with a forecast of a 10% discount on AWS pricing. Barbara writes:

If Microsoft Azure services cost 10% less than comparable Amazon Web Services, the company could win converts to its camp despite its late start.

Microsoft has told some big customers that the 10% differential is part of a broad pricing plan for the services. Another source said Microsoft used both AWS and services like Go Daddy as reference points for price comparisons on the business and consumer side. "They talked about coming in at 5% or 10% below what's already out there," he said.

According to one corporate IT manager, Microsoft, for purposes of the price comparison, used the less expensive AWS Linux compute and storage services as the baseline. …

I believe it will take more than a 10% price break for Microsoft to entice AWS users to move to Azure. What’s missing is a competitive pricing analysis for the Google App Engine. Another open issue is how Azure’s SLA terms compare with AWS and GAE.

•• John Willis offers “Cloud Wars,” A love letter to the cloud computing community, in this 7/10/2009 video (0:03:36) which targets the usual suspects [a.k.a. “thought leaders”] in the cloud computing community.

David Lemphers explains Azure’s ship room, which essentially is a regular meeting (we hold ours twice a week for an hour) where everyone involved in shipping the next release (in our case, billing) attends to triage bugs from the previous release, and discuss blocking issues for the upcoming release, in his Windows Azure Project Attire! (as in clothes) post of 7/9/2009.

David is a Senior Program Manager on the Windows Azure team

•• Randy Bias’ Cloud Futures Pt. 4: The Culling post of 7/9/2009 likens the coming natural selection of cloud-computing keepers with the “smoking crater” implosion of Internet startup ISPs and data centers (e.g., Exodus Communications). Randy writes:

… We’ve barely come out of the initial hype cycle (or perhaps we’re still deep in it) and there are quite a few small players in the space.  More importantly, there are many small players looking to enter.  At some point forcing functions will cause a major culling of the hosting and cloud computing industries, at least at the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) layer, which is most susceptible to commodity pricing pressure.

I suspect the forcing functions will be twofold:

  1. The telcos and large players will ‘wake up’ and use commercial products like VMware’s vCloud, Citrix Cloud Center (C3), VMops, or EUCALYPTUS to drive wide adoption
  2. Serious consolidation will take place

Fights for market share will drive pricing pressure which will drive consolidation.  During the consolidation process large and small businesses alike will see both opportunity and failure.  If it’s anything like the original commercial Internet consolidation there will be a ‘great culling’ of all of the current and new players.  Only the strong or savvy will survive.

Following are Randy’s earlier members of this series:

My bet is on the Azure Services Platform as a keeper if the team gets its SLA(s) and pricing right and doesn’t have significant downtime between now and Azure’s release to Web (RTW).

Joe McKendrick’s Services that scale: the 'intercloud' emerges post of 7/7/2009 begins:

When clouds go global and services are shared across multiple time zones, perhaps that heralds the emergence of a new structure. Some have taken to calling this global confederation of services the “intercloud.”

Shades of the Internet, the network of networks. In a new post, Lori MacVittie provides a description of the intercloud:

“The intercloud is the natural evolution of global application delivery. The intercloud is about delivering applications (services) from one of many locations based on a variety of parameters that will be, one assumes, user/organization defined. Some of those parameters could be traditional ones: application availability, performance, or user-location. Others could be more business-focused and based on such tangibles as cost of processing.” …

• Greg Ness questions whether there are Storms Ahead for Cloud Computing Start-Ups, Well-Entrenched Players? in this 7/7/2009 post to, which begins:

I moderated a Cisco panel last week at Cisco Live! and it was readily apparent that enterprise cloud still required plenty of work from vendors and enterprise IT. No one was ready to endorse either a centralized or decentralized architecture (a move to the powerful intercloud); perhaps it’s because the network isn’t ready for infrastructure 2.0 demands.

• David Linthicum’s The Five Basic Characteristics of SOA post of 7/7/2009 contrasts Gartner’s "9 ways to measure SOA success” with his five “that are more specific to SOA.”

    1. The ability to alter schemas without affecting services and/or processes.
    2. The ability to alter services and/or processes, without altering schemas.
    3. The ability to create and alter core business processes using a configuration rather than a programming approach.
    4. The ability to leverage processes and services from outside of the enterprise, such as from a cloud computing provider.
    5. The ability to expose processes and services from inside of the enterprise.

• Nuno Filipe Godinho Notes from the Windows Azure by David Chappell in ArCast.TV post of 7/7/2009 outlines David Chappell’s video presentation, Channel9’s ARCast.TV - Windows Azure, A conversation with David Chappell video (00:14:08) posted 6/29/2009 and listed in last week’s post.

• James Urquhart’s Three debates that will benefit cloud computing post of 7/7/2009:

These are probably the three most important examples of how disagreement is driving technology road maps industrywide. Some of these disagreements are clearly self-serving--established systems vendors protecting their markets while enthusiastic entrepreneurs attempt to redefine the markets outright. Some are just different ways of seeing the same subject, but with profound effects on the choices made by vendors and individuals on each side of the debate:

  1. Consumer and small/midsize business versus enterprise
  2. Public cloud versus private cloud
  3. Open source versus proprietary

His post expands on the three debates and says this (inter alia) about #3:

Folks like Microsoft and VMWare, however, would beg to differ and are working furiously to prove to the market that their value add is worth the cost of their software. The argument is that these companies can pay for innovation and for a partner ecosystem that drives new business and have the customer relationships to work through long-term cloud deployment issues.

• Mary Jo Foley adds some background to the PHP for Azure story (see below) in her Microsoft's Azure interoperability pieces start to fall into place post of 7/7/2009. Her update of 7/8/2009 includes links to an update to the Java SDK for Azure and a July update for the Ruby SDK, both of 7/7/2009.

• Rob Bagby’s Hosting a PHP Application in Windows Azure post of 7/7/2009 begins:

At MIX ‘09 we (Microsoft) announced support for FastCGI in Windows Azure.  FastCGI allows us to host applications like PHP both safely and performantly (warning – performantly is not a real word).  In this post, I will begin with a very brief overview of what Windows Azure is and why you might consider hosting your PHP apps on Windows Azure.  I will then provide you with a couple of resources that you can use to easily publish your PHP application to Windows Azure, including a link to a screencast I created that illustrates just how to publish a PHP application to Windows Azure.

• Maarten Balliauw announces the PHP SDK for Windows Azure - Milestone 2 release on 7/6/2009:

I’m proud to announce our second milestone for the PHP SDK for Windows Azure project that Microsoft and RealDolmen started back in May. Next to our regular releases on CodePlex, we’ll also be shipping a Zend Framework version of the PHP SDK for Windows Azure. Announcements on this will be made later.

The current milestone is focused on Windows Azure Table Storage, enabling you to use all features this service offers from any PHP application, be it hosted in-premise or on Windows Azure.

Get it while it’s hot: PHP SDK for Windows Azure CTP2 - PHPAzure CTP2 (0.2.0)

Detailed API documentation is provided in the download package, while more descriptive guidance is available on the project site.

His post continues with “a small example on the new Table Storage support in the PHP SDK for Windows Azure.”

Mary Jo Foley asks Azure pricing: How low will Microsoft go? in this 7/6/2009 post to “All About Microsoft.” Mary Jo writes:

Microsoft is planning to share details about its pricing and licensing plans for its Azure cloud environment at its Worldwide Partner Conference in mid-July. That’s what we know.

What we don’t know about its Azure pricing and licensing plans would fill a book. But there are a few hints and some educated speculation circulating regarding Microsoft’s expected directions here.

She goes on to discuss Azure’s role in the upcoming Windows Partners Conference and passes on a couple of quotes from me.

Chris Hay echoes Mary Jo’s comments about Azure pricing in his Azure Pricing post of 7/4/2009 and announces that he’s writing an Azure in Action book for Manning (with Brian Prince.) Chris also speculates about a possible Azure “Developer’s Edition.”

Kevin McLaughlin targets Five Burning Questions About Windows Azure in his 7/6/2009 post related to the forthcoming Worldwide Partner Conference:

Following are five questions about Windows Azure around which Microsoft channel partners are looking for Microsoft to provide some long-awaited clarity:

  1. How Much Will Azure Cost?
  2. What Will The Azure Service Level Agreement Look Like?
  3. How Will Microsoft Guarantee Adoption?
  4. Will Microsoft Allow Private Azure Clouds?
  5. Will Ray Ozzie Make A Surprise Appearance At WPC?

I chimed in with a comment for #2.

Magnus Mårtensson says Class Libraries do not work in Windows Azure using Visual Studio 2010 and suggests a workaround in his 6/24/2009 post:

If you create a class library and add a reference to it from an Azure Web Role or Azure Worker Role you get an error. Here’s how to get around it.

The problem is that the class library template for Visual Studio 2010 creates a .csproj file with too few configuration settings. In Visual Studio 2008 the default target platform is AnyCPU. In Visual Studio 2010 it’s x86 and the configuration for AnyCPU is not included. It seems to me this is an error in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1.

Merle K. Evans’ 3-page Cloud Computing: The 'Next Big Thing' in IT; But is it right for your organization? whitepaper for Intel’s ConnectedDigest begins:

Research firm IDC predicts that the worldwide cloud services market segment will be worth about US$43 billion by 2012. Respected Fortune 500 companies are already taking advantage of this compelling trend. Eye-popping cost savings are a driving force, but not the only issue IT execs need to consider.

"Cloud computing is emerging as 'the next big thing' in both enterprise and consumer computing," says Jake Smith, who spearheads Intel's enterprise cloud computing team. "It's exciting because it represents a convergence of proven technologies that have existed for many years. We've all been looking forward to this, because everything is coming together at just the right time."

And includes a link to a 16-page January 2009 Developing an Enterprise Cloud Computing Strategy whitepaper by Intel’s Hong Li, Jeff Sedayao, Jay Hahn-Steichen, Ed Jimison, Catherine Spence, and Sudip Chahal.

Cloud Security and Governance

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••• Elinor Mills reports Prosecutor: Cloud computing is security's frontier in this 7/10/2009 post for CNet News. The prosecutor in question is Matthew Parrella, an assistant U.S. attorney based in San Jose, Calif. who spoke at Symantec's Norton Cyber Crime Day:

… Looking ahead five years, "I'm thinking the attack is going to be on cloud computing centers," said Parrella, chief of the computer hacking and intellectual property unit at the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The immediate threat will be attacks to steal data from the servers they are stored on, either remotely or by an insider or someone who gains access to the data center, he said. Later on it's likely any stolen data could be pirated, he said. …

Eric Chabrow’s Sophisticated Cyber Assault Confused Network Managers post of 7/10/2009 reports:

… Starting over the Independence Day weekend and continuing into the week, hackers targeted government and business websites in the United States and South Korea, causing varying degrees of disruption of service. Among federal government websites reportedly assaulted: the White House, National Security Agency, Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Transportation and Treasury; Federal Trade Commission and the Secret Service. Among business sites said to have been attacked: the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and The Washington Post. …

Reuven Cohen claims A Federal CloudBursting & Cyber Defense Contingency Plan is needed in this 7/10/2009 post based on the cyber assault believed by many to have been instigated by the North Korean government (see above.)

• Nick Shelness writes in his Microsoft Online: Security Concerns post of 7/8/2009 to the Ferris Research Blog:

Ferris recently had a briefing from Microsoft on the security of its Business Process Online Services (BPOS) — e.g., Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc. This presentation turned out to be of more interest to Ferris for its subtext than for the specifics it contained.

The subtext was that Microsoft was encountering concern (pushback?) from organizations about both the security of data held in Microsoft Online services, and the security of the services themselves. Stated another way, organizations appear to want to apply the same analysis to cloud-delivered services that they apply to on-premise-delivered services. We cannot believe that these concerns are unique to Microsoft, and are therefore an issue that will have to be addressed by all providers of cloud-based services and associated cloud-based data storage. …

Chris Hoff (a.k.a. @Beaker) claims These Apocalyptic Assessments Of Cloud Security Readiness Are Irrelevant… on 7/7/2009:

Is the Cloud Secure?  That’s  a silly question.  Is the Cloud “secure enough” is really the question that should be asked, and of course,  the answer is entirely contextual.

And cites James Urquhart’s Three debates that will benefit cloud computing post of 7/7/2009 (see the Azure Infrastructure section.) He follows with another irrelevant assessments:

Cloud will reach a critical mass wherein the technology and operational models mature to a good-enough point, enough time passes without a significant number of material breaches or outages that disrupt confidence and then it becomes “accepted.”  Security, based upon how, where, why and when we invest will always play catch-up.  How much depends on how good a job we do to push the agenda.

Satyajit Grover, Xiaozhu Kang, Michael Kounavis and Frank Berry describe “New technologies that show the economy of using general-purpose hardware for high-volume HTTPS traffic” in this Intel white paper, Encrypting the Internet, of 7/1/2009 for Dr. Dobbs Journal. Section 2 The Advanced Encryption Standard and the RSA Algorithm, describes in detail how AES and RSA work in the SSL/TLS environment.

Steven Wallin asks Terabytes Missing From The National Archives: Would the Cloud Be Safer? in this 7/6/2009 post to ReadWriteWeb. Steve concludes:

At this point, it might be ludicrous for anyone to put their most sensitve data in the cloud as a security measure. But the dire straits at the National Archives should stand as a warning for those who think traditional data security measures are without vulnerability.

Not as ludicrous as letting employees walk out with hard drives and servers.

Philip Richardson of Microsoft chimes in on the same topic with his It’s Hard to Steal a Cloud post of 7/6/2009:

As this short article on ReadWriteWeb puts it: “It’s Hard to Steal A Cloud”. The US National Archives has lost some hard drives and would like them back. It’s important to remember a couple of things: a) lost != stolen and b) stolen usually == copied.

Sure the Cloud takes away the need for worrying about a lot of physical devices (physical security, transport, power, storage conditions etc). However it does place additional focus on Authorization to the Cloud Data. This set of apocryphal credentials are now the ‘keys to the kingdom’ – as opposed to root domain access and/or physical data center access. At lot of organizations as they move to the Cloud and going to have to get very serious about how they store and distribute these credentials.

It’s important for enterprises to look at the Cloud from an ‘emotionless’ position. The ridiculous superstition of ‘on premise is more secure’ needs to be replaced with more mature analysis of short, medium and long term threats (and cost modeling).

Cloud Computing Events

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••• Moved for emphasis: Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference features 16 Azure-tagged sessions, including:

  1. AP005 Extend Your Application to the Azure Cloud with S+S SQL Data Services Azure Database (Mon 7/13 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | 220-222)
  2. SS001 Software-Plus-Services: Bringing it all together across MS Online Services, Partner Hosted and Windows Azure. (Mon 7/13 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | 217)
  3. SS003 Lap around Windows Azure, Business Edition (Mon 7/13 | 5:00 PM-6:00 PM | 220-222)
  4. AP002 Partnering with the Azure Services (Tue 7/14 | 2:00 PM-3:00 PM | 220-222)
  5. SS006 The Azure Services Platform Partner Model and Pricing (Tue 7/14 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | 220-222)
  6. SS001R Software-Plus-Services: Bringing it all together across MS Online Services, Partner Hosted and Windows Azure (Tue 7/14 | 5:00 PM-6:00 PM | 220-222)
  7. SS008 Leveraging the Cloud: How ISVs Can Use New Microsoft Programs to Move into the Software-Plus-Services World (Tue 7/14 | 5:00 PM-6:00 PM | 215-216)
  8. US007 US Public Sector: Cloud Computing - the Government Perspective (Thu 7/16 | 3:00 PM-4:00 PM | 277)
  9. CI011 Building the Foundation for a Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Also of note:

Microsoft To Announce Cloud Infrastructure Program at WPC:

On July 13, Microsoft will announce the Cloud Computing Infrastructure Initiative’s Hosted Partner Network Program and outline further details on the Enterprise Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit (DDTK). 

On July 14, be sure to attend the “Building the Foundation for a Cloud Computing Infrastructure” breakout session to get an overview of Microsoft’s end-to-end cloud strategy and the business opportunities involving the private cloud infrastructure:

Get an overview of Microsoft's cloud computing infrastructure strategy and how it can help customers lower costs while improving agility within their datacenters. We share the architecture and demo both the Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit for Hosters (available now!) that enables hosting Partners to offer managed servers in a hosted environment, and the Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit for Enterprises (available Q4 CY 2009) that enables building the foundation for a Private cloud.

Update 7/8/2009: Follow the action at the WPC09 Press Room and @WPC09 on Twitter.

••• Kevin Jackson’s GovIT Expo Highlights Cloud Computing post of 7/11/2009 announces his appointment by SYS-CON to be the Technical Chair of the 1st Annual Government IT Conference & Expo. Kevin writes:

This event is a 1-day deep dive into how cloud computing is changing the way that Federal agencies leverage, procure and utilize IT. GovITExpo, which is being held October 6, 2009 in Washington, DC, builds on the success of SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Expo.


When: 10/6/2009 
Where: Washington, DC (venue TBD) 

Ruv Cohen reports that registration is open for the CloudCamp Toronto July 22nd, 2009:

CloudCamp is an unconference where attendees can exchange ideas, knowledge and information in a creative and supporting environment, advancing the current state of cloud computing and related technologies. As an informal, member-supported gathering, we rely entirely on volunteers to help with meeting content, speakers, meeting locations, equipment and membership recruitment. We also have corporate sponsors that provide financial assistance with venues, food, drink, software, services and other valuable donations.

When: 7/22/2009, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT 
Where: Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre, 525 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2L2

The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society announces that the IEEE-NATEA Joint Conference Handheld Devices - New Technology Challenges - New Promises at the 10th IEEE/NATEA Annual Conference on New Frontiers in Computing Technology to be held 7/18/2009 at Stanford University will cover the following topics:

  • Handheld system and display hardware evolution
  • Increased use of Cloud Computing resources due to handheld devices
  • Secure handheld communications
  • Infrastructure developments important to handheld growth
  • Understanding the psychological and social elements of the handheld revolution
  • Killer applications for handhelds

Click here to register with the North America Taiwanese Engineers Association (NATEA).

When: 7/18/2009, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM PDT 
Where: Braun Auditorium of the Mudd (Seeley G) Chemistry Building at Stanford University, 333 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA.

• Stephanie Balaouras of Forrester Research will present a "Transforming IT Infrastructure And Operations In 2010" Webinar on Thursday, July 16 at 11 a.m. EDT. During this 1-hour session, Principal Analyst Stephanie Balaouras will address topics such as:

  • How consolidation of data centers, servers, and storage networks will continue to drive down costs
  • How virtualization is changing IT management, processes, and roles in IT operations
  • How ITIL process adoption and IT automation will improve the quality of IT service delivery
  • How Web services, cloud services, and outsourcing will eliminate costs completely

Click to Register now for this session.

When: 7/16/2009, 9:00 AM PDT 
Where: The Internet (WebEx registration)

• Joe McKendrick and Jeff Papows will conduct on 7/13/2009:

A semi-informal, interactive discussion on capitalizing on the SOA-Web Oriented Architecture (WOA)-Cloud phenomenon. The Webcast, titled “Floating Governance to the Cloud through Web Oriented Architectures and ‘As a Service’ Environments,” will commence at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

According to this 7/7/2009 post: Webcast: SOAs, WOAs, and the clouds they create.

When: 7/13/2009, 11:00 AM PDT 
Where: The Internet (WebEx registration)

Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

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••• Anil Dash delivers a lengthy essay on Google’s metamorphosis in his Google's Microsoft Moment post of 7/9/2009, which begins:

I'm not sure Google's new Chrome OS announcement is that big a deal, or that the eventual product that gets released will actually have that much impact, but it's a useful milestone in marking Google's evolution towards becoming an older company with a distinctly different culture than they used to have.

This is, for lack of a better term, Google's "Microsoft Moment". This is the point when the difference between their internal conception of the company starts to diverge just a bit too far from the public perception of the company, and even starts to diverge from reality. At this inflection point, the reasons for doing new things at Google start to change. [Anil’s emphasis.] …

••• Gregor Hohpe’s Hooking Stuff Together - Programming the Cloud InfoQ presentation of 7/8/2009 explains Google’s approach to connected systems:

This talk describes the constraints of connected systems design and presents common design patterns to address some of the challenges developers will face as they spend more time connecting services and components instead of developing new ones. Along the way he asks: Is coupling really so bad? Why is REST popular? Do we need distributed transactions?

Gregor is a software architect with Google, Inc.

••• Padmasree Warrior recapped the Cisco Point of View on Cloud Computing in this 7/8/2009 post to The Platform blog that summarizes her keynote address to the Cisco Live conference. The post includes links to a video archive and a private cloud demo.

Padmasree is CTO of Cisco Systems.

•• John Treadway reports he was struck with the “coherence and clarity of their cloud computing vision as compared to HP or IBM” in his Unisys – A Clear Vision for the Cloud post of 7/10/2009:

Unisys’ strategy bridges public, private and hybrid cloud models, and includes well-differentiated infrastructure, platform and software as a service offerings (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS). Further, they wrap this all in a set of comprehensive service offerings that they can deliver globally. It’s a big vision, and if they can pull it off it should make them one of the more interesting providers out there. One of their key differentiators is Unisys Stealth (described [in John’s post]).

•• Chris Beckman’s Information regarding 2 July 2009 outage post of 7/8/2009 post to the Google App Engine Forum seeks to explain the circumstances of the 12-hour (6:45 AM to 12:35 PM) GAE outage on 7/2/2009:

The App Engine outage was due to complete unavailability of the
datacenter's persistence layer, GFS, for approximately three hours.
The GFS failure was abrupt for reasons described below, and as a
consequence the data belonging to App Engine applications remained
resident on GFS servers and was unreachable during this period. Since
needed application data was completely unreachable for a longer than
expected time period, we could not follow the usual procedure of
serving of App Engine applications from an alternate datacenter,
because doing so would have resulted in inconsistent or unavailable
data for applications.

The root cause of the outage was a bug in the GFS Master server caused
by another client in the datacenter sending it an improperly formed
filehandle which had not been safely sanitized on the server side, and
thus caused a stack overflow on the Master when processed.

The inability to “follow the usual procedure of serving of App Engine applications from an alternate datacenter, because doing so would have resulted in inconsistent or unavailable
data for applications” is an inexcusable single point of failure. Inability to autorecover from what sounds like a readily anticipated stack overflow is another indication of a serious engineering oversight.

•• Anthony Ha reports Microsoft VP says Google’s playing defense with Chrome OS in this 7/10/2009 post to the Deals&More blog:

… I spoke to [Microsoft Vice President of Developer and Platform Evangelism] Abu-Hadba at a dinner in San Francisco to promote tomorrow’s launch of Silverlight 3, the latest version of Microsoft’s platform for web media and applications. Some of his remarks about Chrome consisted of entertaining bluster: “I love competition.” But he also had thoughts about why Google is trying to muscle into the operating system business. And no, he said, it’s not because Google wants to make computing simpler and faster (as Google executives claim), nor is it part of a grand plan to undo Microsoft’s dominance (as VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi speculated). …

“Most of what Google does is defensive,” Abu-Hadba said.

•• M. Koenig and C. Burns authored Google Chrome OS: Opening a New Front in the Browser Wars on 7/9/2009 as a Saugatuck Research Alert (free site registration required). Their dispassionate and detailed analysis of Chrome OS is a welcome relief from the breathless reportage of some “social sites.”

What surprises me is the missing Google App Engine in this Saugatuck table that compares the Microsoft and Google Stacks [color emphasis added]:




Office Productivity & Collaboration

Office, Office Live and Sharepoint

Google Apps, Gmail, Google Wave


Internet Explorer

Google Chrome

Desktop OS

WindowsVista and Windows &

Google Chrome OS

Mobile OS

Windows Mobile

Google Android

Server OS

Windows Server

Google ???

Cloud OS

Microsoft Azure

Google ???

If the Saugatuck authors include Gmail in the Googstack, certainly Microsoft Exchange belongs in the MsftStack. I assume that Windows & = Windows 7 (as the result of a spurious Caps key press.)

I agree wholeheartedly with the authors’ Market Impact conclusion.

•• Rob Enderle’s ITBusinessEdge blog entry of 7/9/2009 says it all: Google's Tarnished Chrome: The Making of a Disaster. Rob concludes:

Google has caught Microsoft napping in this new battleground but now that it has awakened the Redmond Giant to the threat, it has to execute sharply or this Giant and other competitors will feast on its dying carcass. It isn’t looking good. Google appears unfocused, uncoordinated, it has no apparent marketing or PR skills, and it will likely be over a year before the finished product can even enter the market. All this time it will probably be bleeding search market share as Microsoft and others take advantage of Google’s lack of focus and Microsoft prepares its second strike response.

I continue to see this related to an education system that seems to teach that going through the motions is the same thing as accomplishing the task, and the historic problem of managers being better at setting expectations than they are at setting appropriate goals and achieving them. There is a way to do this right. Google is not currently on that path.

The San Francisco Business Times reported on 7/8/2009 Oracle stops $300M Utah project:

Database giant Oracle Corp. has stopped work on a $313 million data center in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) quietly stopped construction on the center, in West Jordan, near the Salt Lake City Municipal Airport, three months ago. The halt is linked to Oracle’s planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA), the paper said.

Oracle sold $4.5 billion in debt this week to raise cash for that acquisition.

Construction started last summer on what Oracle called “Project Sequoia.” It was meant as a showcase “green data center” with “dramatically lower energy consumption,” Oracle said at the time.

• Reuven Cohen writes in his CloudNet & The Case for Enterprise-Ready Virtual Private Clouds post of 7/8/2009:

AT&T Labs and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published a paper called "The Case for Enterprise-Ready Virtual Private Clouds" that continues on my vision for a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). And they even gave me some credit in the paper [see reference 5] -- sort of.

To recap, over a year ago I described the opportunity for what I called a Virtual Private Cloud or a method for partitioning a public computing utility such as EC2 into quarantined virtual infrastructure. A VPC may encapsulate multiple local and remote resources to appear as a single homogeneous computing environment bridging the ability to securely utilize remote resources as part of an seamless global compute infrastructure.

• Sundar Pichai’s Introducing the Google Chrome OS vaporware post of 7/7/2009 describes a forthcoming “new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.”

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

My question, which many others share, is why not Android Heavy, despite the lack of Android’s success as a phone OS so far? My reaction is similar to Dennis Howlett’s in his Google ChromeOS: have people given leave of their senses? post of 7/8/2009. Dennis mentions that Krishnan Subramanian at Cloud Ave lends a more level headed view:

Instead of doing their own OS, they could have rallied behind one of the Linux distros, say Damn Small Linux, and helped them get traction among the hardware vendors. This is a move by Google to deflect the high handed tactics by Microsoft in the netbook market but it appears to me like a redundant one. I feel that they should have supported one of the existing distros. However, if they had taken that route, there is no way they could have pushed the Google Chrome browser (and their services) tightly integrated with the Linux distro. In short, it is a desperate attempt by Google to stop Microsoft in the netbook game and, also, push the Google Chrome browser to the masses at a point in time when IE’s market share is going downhill.

Mary Jo Foley expresses her doubts in Will Google's Chrome OS look rusty by late 2010?and Bob Warfield says Google Chrome OS is an Obvious Response to Bing on 7/8/2009. I agree.

• Geva Perry praises Twilio in his What's Really Exciting About Cloud Computing post of 7/7/2009:

Twilio is a remarkably simple concept, but very difficult to implement in an elegant way, as the Twilio folks have done. It is a cloud platform that enables developers with basic web programming skills to develop complex voice applications.

Under the hood -- but completely transparent to the developer or the end user -- Twilio is hosted on Amazon EC2, uses a multi-tenant architecture and has implemented a fully functional telephony infrastructure based on the open source framework Asterisk.

• Dan Woods asks “Will the company need to clean up its applications to change the face of cloud computing?” in his Questioning Oracle's Cloud article of 7/7/2009 for

When Larry Ellison announced last month that Oracle was going to embrace cloud computing, he put forth ideas that expand on the current models. With the Sun acquisition and the rest of its formidable portfolio, Oracle has all the pieces of the puzzle to do something revolutionary. The key question: Will Oracle have to clean up its fragmented collection of applications to achieve its vision?

• Krishnan Subramanian recommends Rethinking The Cloud: From Client/Server To P2P in this 7/7/2009 post:

A way to minimize the downtimes is to do a complete reboot of the way we think about Cloud Computing and architect it using P2P technologies.

I’m not sanguine about the prospects of a P2P enterprise cloud offering.

Glen Brunette updated his original Sun Microsystems presentation with Immutable Service Container Technical on 6/26/2009. His Immutable Service Containers Updates post of 7/7/2009 lists these three updates:

    • A new Immutable Service Container presentation (ODP, PDF) that provides a technical overview of the ISC approach, design goals, and the OpenSolaris implementation available today.
    • An updated Private Virtual Network architecture page highlighting additional network topologies that implement different network isolation strategies. These are a few of the models that are being considered for future ISC Construction Kit updates.
    • An updated Autonomic security architecture page that provides a number of use cases showing ISCs as an essential building block for these kinds of architectures.

Rob Lemos explains Why my company [ShareThis] uses Amazon’s EC2 cloud in this detailed post to the site of 7/6/2009, which begins:

Running an Internet startup remains a tricky business, says link -- sharing service ShareThis. During the past two years, more than 110,000 sites have added the ShareThis embedded link, allowing readers to forward articles or videos to their friends. The popularity has made the company's data requirements enormous: it handles up to 12,000 requests a second and 130 million page views every day.

Dana Gardner interviews John Bennett, worldwide solution manager for Data Center Transformation Solutions at Hewlett-Packard (HP) in his HP Combines Consolidation, Modernization, and Virtualization post of 7/6/2009.

Jay Kuri writes in his Cloud servers for your Perl app - Amazon's EC2 vs Mosso post of 7/6/2009:

There is very little in the way of direct comparison between EC2 and Mosso's Cloud servers and while the information about each is available, it takes some digging to get the real scoop.

In todays article, we will dig into both Amazon's EC2 and Mosso's Cloud-Servers with an eye toward the differences that will really matter to you as you try to decide which virtual server cluster upon which to deploy your Perl or Catalyst application.

His discussion of how IO allocation differences between EC2 and Mosso affect My SQL query performance and Elastic Block Storage should be of interest of potential SQL Data Services users.

Stephen Lawson reports for IDG News Service on 6/30/2009 that Cisco won't take on Amazon in cloud:

Cisco's CTO says the company will set itself apart by helping enterprises move resources among internal and external clouds instead of becoming a pay-as-you-go cloud provider.

The company sees virtualization as the next major computing model and its own Unified Computing System (UCS) as the first step toward a fully virtualized data center, CTO Padmasree Warrior said in a briefing Monday during the Cisco Live user conference in San Francisco. The company's presence in both enterprise and service provider networks makes it the ideal partner for companies adopting cloud computing, because they want to gain cloud benefits like scalability and disaster recovery without pushing out control of all their infrastructure, she said.

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