Sunday, July 19, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 7/13/2009+

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

•••• Update 9/18 – 9/19/2009: A few additions
Update 9/16 – 9/17/2009: Additions and clarifications, two more WPC session videos 
Update 9/15/2009: New content from #WPC09 and elsewhere
• Update 9/14/2009: Live from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

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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Steve Nagy’s Azure Worker Role Management – A WorkSharing Framework post of 7/13/2009 suggests Azure developers consider parallel processing with WorkerRoles:

I’ve seen a few demos of Windows Azure and one of the common themes I see around the worker role is that people want to demonstrate scalability through increasing the number of instances in their service definition. That’s fine but we need to also remember that we are scaling up an entire virtual machine each time we increase our instance count, and maybe that just isn’t necessary when we consider parallelization instead. …

Steve then goes on to provide detailed code examples for what he calls WorkSharing. Full code is available for Steve’s WorkSharing framework.

SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

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•••• Jeff Currier was Coming up for air.. on 7/17/2009:

This week has been a week of relief for the team.  We're rounding out the release that will be available for early access to a limited set of early access customers.  We've got the bits running in the cluster, we're passing our load/stress tests on the system as well as our security tests.  It's one of those quiet moments where you reflect back on the hard work you've done before the storm kicks up again next week as we make the final engineering push for the PDC.

And notes that the abbreviation for SQL Azure Database is SADB, not SAD.

The Data Platform Insider blog’s SQL Azure Database is on its way; new pricing and licensing information announced at WPC post of 7/14/2009 offers additional SAD details from these links:

    • The business model and pricing for Windows Azure, .NET Services, and SQL Azure
    • The partner channel model and pricing for Azure services
    • The Windows Azure QuickStart program for partners

John Treadway’s Databases and Cloud Computing Roundup post of 7/13/2009:

[D]ivide[s] cloud DBMS offerings into four categories based on whether or not they are “relational” and the degree to which they are “native” to the cloud (e.g. integrated part of a cloud service).  Note that I specifically exclude SaaS platforms with their underlying databases because often it’s not possible to tell what’s under the covers.  Here’s the general breakdown:

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

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Lori MacVittie asks “Is ESB just an expensive integration hub or is there more to the story than we heard? …” in her Use The Source, Luke! post of 7/17/2009, which begins:

[I]t was somewhat surprising to see the CTO of an organization that offers an (open-source) ESB essentially quoted as discouraging the use of ESBs unless it’s for use as an integration hub. Dana Gardner, in To ESB, or Not to ESB?, analyzes MuleSource CTO Ross Mason’s recent blog that actively discourages architects from leveraging an ESB unless it’s necessary.

Matias Woloski explains how get a token from ADFS (Geneva Server) using Windows Identity Foundation and WSTrustClient in his Getting a token from ADFS (ex Geneva Server) using WCF post of 7/17/2009, which provides a link to downloadable code.

Brent Stineman shows you how to .NET Services’ Service Bus in his .NET Service Bus – Hands On with Relays (Part 1) post of 7/16/2009. Brent begins:

Today we’re going to start diving into the first of three features of .NET Services, the Service Bus. I’m running the July CTP bits on a Windows 7 VPC with Visual Studio 2008. This article series has taken longer to come together than I would have liked because just like when I was working with Azure storage and REST calls, I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to WCF. And while WCF isn’t required for working with the Service Bus, its the easiest way to work with it when using .NET (there are Java, PHP, and Ruby SDK’s either already ready or in the works).

Vittorio Bertocci’s The “Geneva” suite of products get official names post of 7/13/2009 announces the following changes from code to official names for the Geneva identity suite:

Code name Official Name
Geneva Server Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)
Geneva Framework Windows Identity Foundation
Windows Cardspace Geneva Windows CardSpace

I’m surprised to see official names assigned while the products are still in beta test (Beta 2).

I asked Vibro in a comment how the change of names affects his previous observation of Geneva Framework’s incompatibility with Azure WebRoles in his Claims and Cloud: Pardon our Dust post of 4/1/2009? So far, I haven’t seen an answer.

Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

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•••• Mario Gandasegui posted two Azure-hosted applications, AzureBright Blog & Forum, to CodePlex on 7/9/2009 as entries in the NewCloudApp contest. Mario says the apps goals were:

    1. To have a fast, clean (html), scalable, Web 2.0 look and feel, and SEO Friendly, Blog and Forum ( functionality) for the .Net community.
    2. To share development knowledge and experiences, of new challenges encountered with Windows Azure Service’s Platform.

•••• BlueThread TechnologiesStoragePoint 2.0 cloud storage adapters enable storing SharePoint documents on Windows Azure, EMS Atmos Online, and Amazon S3. This 10-minute video posted on 7/16/2009 shows how it works:

••• Cliff Saran reports on 7/14/2009 for easyJet to use Microsoft Azure for mobile passenger services:

Budget airline easyJet is planning to use Microsoft Azure to allow its ground staff to upgrade customers' seats or pay for excess baggage from mobile terminals.

The airline aims to reduce the number of fixed airport desks it needs to operate.

Airport operators charge airlines for each desk, such as the ticketing desk and the check-in desk, each of which requires a separate mainframe terminal. Each desk means a new queue.

The programme, dubbed Halo, will use a virtual private network based on 3G or Wi-Fi to plug mobile devices into the Azure cloud on the internet.

John Udell describes the migration of his Elm City Calendar Aggregator Azure application from one to two WorkerRole instances in his More fun than herding servers post of 7/14/2009.

Sharon Pian Chan’s Microsoft Cloud Computing Gets Down to Earth story of 7/13/2009 for the Seattle Times is decked out with “As U.S. companies begin exploring cloud computing this year, a school system on the other side of the globe has already leapt into the cloud. Ethiopia is rolling out 250,000 laptops to schoolteachers all over the country, all running on Microsoft's platform called Azure.”

The story describes FullArmor’s participation in the Azure-based project:

As U.S. companies start exploring doing some of this computing this year, a school system on the other side of the globe has already leapt into the cloud. Ethiopia is rolling out 250,000 laptops to its schoolteachers nationwide, all running on Microsoft's cloud platform, called Azure.

The laptops will allow teachers to download curriculum, keep track of academic records and securely transfer student data throughout the education system, without having to build a support system of hardware and software to connect them.

"They're going to be able to leapfrog ahead of most companies in the U.S.," said Danny Kim, chief technology officer of FullArmor, a Boston company working on the software deployment in the Ethiopian project.

Microsoft is expected to announce more details about Azure at its Worldwide Partners Conference, which begins today in New Orleans. Kim is scheduled to present a demonstration during a keynote presentation Tuesday with Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools business.

Learn more in a video about Full Armor’s work from the Azure Partner Quickstart (see below.)

Andrea DiMaio reports Conservatives Push For Google And Microsoft To Take Over Patient Records in this 7/13/2009 post:

Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault received their first blessing in Europe by the Conservative party in the UK. The Centre for Policy Studies published a report  with an intriguing title “It’s Ours - Why we, not government, must own our data.

According to Mary Jo Foley’s Microsoft links HealthVault service with Amalga software post of 4/6/2009:

HealthVault is Microsoft’s consumer-focused health-records-management Software+Service platform, which the company unveiled officially in 2007. (The service component of HealthVault is one of a handful of Microsoft services that already is hosted on top of Azure.) Amalga UIS, (one of the products formerly under the Azyxxi brand), is one of the main elements of Microsoft’s enterprise health-information-system platform.

Azure Infrastructure

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•••• David Deans claims “The anticipated benefits from adopting managed cloud services have reached the executives suites of many corporations” in his Cloud Services Interest Erupts in Groundswell of 7/19/2009:

The anticipated benefits from adopting managed cloud services have reached the executives suites of many corporations. Proactive CEOs and CFOs are pushing their IT leadership team to seek out actionable information and guidance.

There's also a constant stream of service providers announcing new offerings -- and the momentum is becoming a global phenomenon. As a result, Forrester Research has witnessed an expanding number of client inquiries around cloud computing. …

David is a co-author and moderator of the Business Technology Roundtable and is a member of the Service Provider marketing team at Cisco Systems, Inc.

•••• Don MacVittie says “By the time your application knows it should be doing something, it’s too late” in his Advanced Load Balancers for Developers post of 7/17/2009:

For me, as a developer, the big differentiator between a Load Balancer and an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) is the ability to use code to help manage how my application and the network interact. Some things you just can’t do from your application because by the time your application knows it should be doing something, it’s too late, some things are just easier done on a network device (yeah, or a VM pretending to be a network device if your name is Izzy ;-)).

Don is a Strategic Architect at F5 Networks working on the DevCentral Team and probably is related to Lori MacVittie, who also works at F5 (?).

••• Alan Murphy says “Now if only they’d franchise Azure we’d really be cookin’” in his Choosing Between Azure and VMM Private Clouds post to the Virtual Data Center blog of 7/17/2009. He concludes the post with these questions:

Does Microsoft have it right in keeping Azure and private clouds completely separate for enterprise customers because they are in fact two different beasts, yet saying they’ll work together? Or is Microsoft comparing the two because it’s not yet sure how customers will use and embrace Azure?

According to earlier Azure team explanations, the reason for separate system is that the Windows Azure fabric requires non-standard hardware configurations.

••• Mary Jo Foley finds “it interesting who Turner failed to mention when talking up Microsoft’s competition. Amazon sure has a hefty head start in the rent-a-cloud space” in her Microsoft's fiscal 2010 battle cry: Growing our share post of 7/16/2009.

James Urquhart asks Will Microsoft Azure promote efficient software development? in this 7/16/2009 post and implies the answer is “yes” because Microsoft’s charges for resources will promote application efficiency.

The VAR Guy’s Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Meets MySQL post of 7/16/2009 claims Azure can run My SQL:

Now, Microsoft is seeking to repeat that success with Windows Azure, the company’s newly launched cloud computing environment. On the one hand, Azure is a platform that allows traditional ISVs (independent software vendors) to re-write their on-premise server applications for cloud computing. On the other hand, Windows Azure could open the door to a range of new, innovative cloud apps.

Along the way, some big-name open source applications could land in the Azure cloud. For example, “we’ve enabled MySQL on top of Windows Azure,” said Microsoft’s Prashant Ketkar, director of product marketing for Windows Azure. Ketkar made the statement during a July 15 meeting with The VAR Guy at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09) in New Orleans.

My A Comparison of Azure and Google App Engine Pricing post of 7/15/2009 (updated 7/16/2009) concludes:

If there is a “cloud price war,” Azure has lost it to Google.

However, it appears that the Azure team is considering a countermove.

The Azure Team has posted an official, comprehensive Pricing & Licensing Overview for CTP (no-charge) and the Release to Web (RTW) versions of Windows Azure, Azure Storage Services, .NET Services, and SQL Azure Database (SAD, formerly SQL Data Services, SDS). Partner and MSDN discounts aren’t mentioned.

The page contains SLA availability guarantees for dual Windows Azure instances, storage, .NET Services and SAD. See Tobe Zope’s article below for non-conformance penalties.

The Azure Team is Confirming Commercial Availability and Announcing Business Model with this 7/14/2009 post:

Today, during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 we announced the business and partner model for the Windows Azure platform including service level agreements and support programs.

Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .NET Services will be commercially available at the Professional Developer Conference 2009 and we hope you will continue building on the Community Technology Preview (CTP) at no cost today.

Upon commercial availability we will offer Windows Azure through a consumption-based pricing model, allowing partners and customers to pay only for the services that they consume.

Windows Azure SQL Azure .NET Services
Compute @ $0.12 / hour Web Edition – Up to 1 GB relational database @ $9.99 / month Messages @ $0.15/100K message operations, including Service Bus messages and Access Control tokens
Storage @ $0.15 / GB stored Business Edition – Up to 10 GB relational database @ $99.99 / month  
Storage Transactions @ $0.01 / 10K    

Partners receive a 5% discount from the above pricing. Microsoft will announce subscription pricing on commercial release and volume licensing discounts at an undisclosed interval after release. Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensees will receive EA discounts.

SLA: For compute, we guarantee that when you deploy two or more role instances in different fault and upgrade domains your Internet facing roles will have external connectivity at least 99.95% of the time. Additionally, we will monitor all of your individual role instances and detect within two minutes when a role instance’s process is not running and initiate corrective action. For storage, we guarantee that at least 99.9% of the time we will successfully process correctly formatted requests that we receive to add, update, read and delete data. We also guarantee that your storage accounts will have connectivity to our Internet gateway.

99.95% (3-1/2 nines) availability allows a maximum of 21.6 minutes per month of downtime. The post doesn’t include details of the penalty payments if Azure doesn’t conform to the SLA terms and conditions.

However, Tobe Zolpe quotes Mark Taylor, Microsoft director of developer and platform evangelism, in his Microsoft sets Azure pricing and service levels post of 9/14/2009 for ZDNet UK:

Microsoft will provide a 10 percent credit if compute connectivity falls below 99.95 percent uptime; a 10 percent credit if role-instance uptime or storage falls below 99.9 percent uptime.

Commercial availability will coincide with the Professional Developer’s Conference, to be held 11/17 to 11/19/2009 in Los Angeles.

Ina Fried reports a “development accelerator” discount for CNetNews in her Microsoft announces Azure pricing, details article of 7/14/2009:

The discount plan, dubbed the "development accelerator" comes in two forms and offers a 15 percent to 30 percent discount off the consumption charges. It requires a six-month commitment, with overage charges billed at the regular rates. After six months, the pricing reverts to the standard Azure rates.

You can find out more about the “development accelerator” discount in the Microsoft Unveils Windows Azure Platform Business Model, Bringing New Revenue Opportunities to Partners Worldwide press release of 7/14/2009.

The OakLeaf Blog hit Techmeme’s Discussion list for Ina Fried’s Microsoft announces Azure pricing, details article (see above):

John Foley writes in his Microsoft Beats Amazon By A Whisker In Cloud Pricing post to InformationWeek’s Plug Into the Cloud blog of 7/14/2009:

Microsoft has disclosed pricing on its forthcoming Windows Azure services, and in one small but significant way, Microsoft has undercut rival Amazon on pay-per-use fees. Amazon charges 12.5 cents per hour for a bare bones Windows Server instance; Microsoft's list price is 12 cents.

Microsoft officials had previously indicated that Windows Azure pricing would be competitive, but the price differential may be more symbolic than material. At their published rates, if you ran a Window server in the cloud every hour of the day for an entire year, you'd save a mere $43.80 going with Microsoft. Indeed, if penny pinching is important, Amazon Web Services actually has a cheaper alternative, though it's not Windows. Amazon charges 10 cents per hour for "small" virtualized Linux and Unix servers.

Microsoft promised to price Azure competitively with other Platform as a Service (PaaS, e.g. Google App Engine, GAE) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS, e.g. Amazon Web Services, AWS). Google offers free quotas for GAE; Microsoft has made no mention of free quotas that I’ve heard or seen. Here’s the “Will Azure Pricing be Competitive with Google App Engine?” question I posted to on 7/14/2009.


Microsoft promised Azure pricing would be competitive with other PaaS/IaaS providers. Google App Engine has a free threshold for development/demonstration apps. Here are the details from Google (

“On June 22nd, 2009, the free quota levels for the billable quotas were reduced. App Engine will always remain free to get started. We believe these new levels will continue to serve a reasonably efficient application around 5 million page views per month, completely free.

The new free quota levels are as follows:

  • CPU Time: 6.5 hours of CPU time per day
  • Bandwidth: 1 gigabyte of data transferred in and out of the application per day
  • Stored Data & Email Recipients: unchanged

Fixed quotas for applications with billing enabled were not affected.”

I have three demo apps running on Azure: (Azure tables), (Azure blobs), and (Azure queues). I won’t be able to maintain these demo apps after Azure goes live.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

If I receive a reply, I’ll post it here and to the current issue of this post when received.

Mary Jo Foley’s Microsoft announces its Azure cloud computing pricing post of 7/14/2009 summarizes the pricing and SLA data.

• Gavin Clark reports in his Microsoft's Azure cloud price pipped by Amazon's Linux 7/14/2009 Register article:

Microsoft has announced pricing for Azure that marginally undercuts Amazon on raw computing for Windows-based clouds but remains more expensive than the mega book warehouse's Linux option.

The company has said it will charge $0.12 per compute hour for its Windows Azure Compute. Amazon's price for an ondemand Windows instance starts at $0.125.

Amazon's Linux-based service undercuts Windows, with pricing starting at $0.10 per computing hour. Add in storage, and Azure's price will creep up further against Amazon: Azure will charge $0.15 per gigabyte stored versus $0.10 per gigabyte each month from Amazon.

Clark continues:

But initially, Azure will undercut Amazon's Linux with a free service: Microsoft threw open Azure to early adopters on Tuesday at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Windows Azure has been free for development since its initial appearance as a Community Technical Preview (CTP) of SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) at MIX 08. The free ride is over as of mid-November 2009 (not October).

David Chappel’s Windows Azure an dISVs: A Guide for Decision Makers is a 12-page *.pdf file that concludes:

Like all new platforms, Windows Azure will succeed only if ISVs choose to build applications on it. Microsoft clearly understands this, and so making their new cloud platform attractive to this audience is a priority. The core attractions are these:

  • Because Windows Azure lets ISVs run applications and store data in a very large data center while paying only for the resources used, it can provide appealing economics.
  • By providing a ready-made platform designed to support scalable and reliable cloud applications, Windows Azure reduces the time and money required to create and run SaaS applications and other cloud-based code.

Cloud computing looks like the next great wave in our industry. Just as ISVs have had to adapt to the changes brought by PCs, mobile devices, and other new platforms, they now need to decide how to exploit cloud platforms. And just as Windows played a significant part in those earlier shifts, Windows Azure is poised to take an important role in this new world. If you’re responsible for charting your firm’s path, understanding and evaluating the Azure environment makes good sense.

Thanks to @WadeWegner for the heads-up.

Microsoft announced the Azure Partner Quickstart on 7/13/2009 at the Worldwide Partner’s conference:

This community portal provides Microsoft partners with a single destination to start driving their business with Windows Azure. We update this page regularly as new content, whitepapers and presentations become available, provide you with the latest training resources and toolkits to help you get started with your Windows Azure projects, and connect you to the Microsoft partner community and the Microsoft sales, marketing and product management community around Windows Azure.

Doug Tidwell announced in his A New Era in Cloud Standards post of 7/13/2009:

[T]oday the Object Management Group announced, a site for coordinating the cloud standards work of various organizations. The announcement was made at the OMG's Cloud Standards Summit. The groups involved are:

The site is a Wiki maintained by representatives of the five groups above. Some of the relevant activities include the DMTF's Open Cloud Standards Incubator, the OGF's Open Cloud Computing Interface and SNIA's Cloud Data Management Interface.

Thanks to John Willis (a.k.a. @Botchagalupe) for the heads up.

Peter Loh claims “Cloud computing will change the processes and tools that IT organizations currently use” in his Managing Cloud Applications post of 7/13/2009:

As enterprises evaluate if and how cloud computing fits into their core IT services, they must consider how they will manage cloud services as part of their day-to-day operations. This article examines how operational management of cloud computing differs from traditional methods, and examine techniques for addressing these needs. …

David Bernstein, Erik Ludvigson, Krishna Sankar, Steve Diamond, and Monique Morrow are the authors of Blueprint for the Intercloud - Protocols and Formats for Cloud Computing Interoperability presented at the IEEE Computer Society’s 2009 Fourth International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services. Here’s the abstract:

Cloud Computing is a term applied to large, hosted datacenters, usually geographically distributed, which offer various computational services on a “utility” basis. Most typically the configuration and provisioning of these datacenters, as far as the services for the subscribers go, is highly automated, to the point of the service being delivered within seconds of the subscriber request. Additionally, the datacenters typically use hypervisor based virtualization as a technique to deliver these services. The concept of a cloud operated by one service provider or enterprise interoperating with a clouds operated by another is a powerful idea. So far that is limited to use cases where code running on one cloud explicitly references a service on another cloud. There is no implicit and transparent interoperability. Use cases for interoperability, as well as work-in-progress around inter-cloud protocols and formats for enabling those use cases, are discussed in this paper.

You can purchase a full-text copy for US$ 19.

Cloud Security and Governance

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•••• Chris Hoff (@Beaker) reports that he updated his CSA “Cloud Architectural Framework” in his Cloud Computing [Security] Architectural Framework post of 7/19/2009:

For those of you who are not in the security space and may not have read the Cloud Security Alliance’s “Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus,” you may have missed the “Cloud Architectural Framework” section I wrote as a contribution.

We are working on improving the entire guide, but I thought I would re-publish the Cloud Architectural Framework section and solicit comments here as well as “set it free” as a stand-alone reference document.

Please keep in mind, I wrote this before many of the other papers such as NIST’s were officially published, so the normal churn in the blogosphere and general Cloud space may mean that  some of the terms and definitions have settled down.

•••• Wyatt Kash’s Standards groups form alliance to set cloud-computing standards article of 7/17/2009 reports:

A group of leading standards development organizations are working jointly to foster common standards for cloud computing and storage, beginning with the launch this week of a new wiki resource site called

“We brought together a large number of players so we don’t get an enormous mess of standards,” said Richard Soley, chairman and chief executive officer of Object Management Group, one of the organizations participating in the effort. Soley announced the formation of the group at a cloud-computing symposium held by National Defense University’s Information Resource Management College July 15.

The organizations joining in the collaborative effort include the Cloud Security Alliance, the Distributed Management Task Force, the Open Grid Forum, the Storage Networking Industry Association and the Open Cloud Consortium, with other groups expected to participate, Soley said. …

•••• David Linthicum claims “Those doing SOA and cloud computing are stubbing [their toe on]” in his 7/16/2009 Three critical -- and avoidable -- cloud computing mistakes InfoWorld article. The mistakes are:

  1. Looking at cloud computing as a mere platform change and not architecture.
  2. Ignoring performance.
  3. Asking "when" instead of "why."

••• Ron Schmelzer continues the “Cloud governance: something old, something new, something borrowed …” theme in his Cloud Governance Awakens post of 7/17/2009:

Perhaps the reason why usage of the Cloud is still nascent in the enterprise is because of an increasing chorus of concerns being voiced about the usage of Cloud resources:

Cloud availability. Cloud security. Erosion of data integrity. Data replication and consistency issues. Potential loss of privacy. Lack of auditing and logging visibility. Potential for regulatory violations. Application sprawl & dependencies. Inappropriate usage of Services. Difficulty in managing intra-Cloud, inter-Cloud, and Cloud and non-Cloud interactions and resources. And that’s just the short list.

Ron Schmelzer is founder and senior analyst of ZapThink.

••• Gray Hall’s Cloud Computing and ITIL: Service Delivery and Cloud SLAs post of 7/16/2009 begins:

One of the interesting side effects of the rapid adoption of Cloud Computing by the enterprise is the impact this adoption will have on the design and delivery of IT service processes.

In his article Assessing cloud providers, Frank Ohlhorst reminds us that "moving to the cloud is primarily a business decision" dependent on the metrics of ROI (Return On Investment), performance, sustainability and suitability to task.

If you're familiar with IT [Iinfrastructure Llibrary] ITIL V.3, you'll recognize this service model overview:

Chris Hoff (a.k.a. @Beaker) takes a Beckett tack in Cloud Security: Waiting For Godot & His Silver Bullet post of 7/16/2009:

Referencing my prior post about the state of Cloud security, I’m reminded of the fact that as a community of providers and consumers, we continue to wait for the security equivalent of Godot to arrive and solve all of our attendant Cloud security challenges with the offer of some mythical silver bullet.  We wait and wait for our security Godot as I mix metaphors and butcher Beckett’s opus to pass the time.

Mala Ramakrishnan, Sriram Chakravarthy, Srini Vinnakota, and Chris Nguyen contend that “Governance is the key for enterprises to successfully deliver applications in the cloud” in this 7/16/2009 post:

The advantages of an enterprise application leveraging the public cloud sound like utopia - lowered total cost of ownership and overhead costs, ease of maintenance, inherent high availability and scalability that is built into the infrastructure. Yet when the theory of moving to the cloud is put into practice, the biggest hurdle that stalls the success of the transition is governance. This article analyzes its importance and the various aspects of governance in the realm of cloud computing.

James Urquhart’s Lawyers shine light on real cloud concerns post of 7/14/2009 begins:

Like moths to a porch light (or trial lawyers to ambulances), many lawyers are finding the uncertain legal and regulatory terrain of cloud computing fertile ground for new legal analysis--and new legal business.

The effect of cloud computing on our legislative and regulatory world has long been a sub-interest of sorts for me. I have long been fascinated by the ways in which a truly dynamic, multiparty compute environment will challenge laws that assume that electronic assets behave the same as their paper or celluloid brethren--static, not easily duplicated and stored on the owner's premises.

The gap between the cloud and the current state of legislation is serious.

James continues with a recent history of articles about cloud computing’s legal issues.

William Hurley asks Do dark terms of service signal storm clouds? in this 7/13/2009 post decked “Some IT pros are taking advantage of cloud computing, but without reading the terms of service agreement.” Hurley writes:

[M]any IT pros are jumping onto the cloud bandwagon feet first without gauging the risk to their company. I believe this is widespread, although I haven't read about any major snafus yet. It's all too easy to click through an agreement that may bind you, your company, or worse, your company's data to deplorable terms you would never have thought a provider would have the audacity to stipulate.

And goes on to analyze Blizzard Entertainment’s vicious Terms of Service for their new “cloud service.”

Jason Bloomberg asks “How do you apply SOA Governance best practices to Cloud Governance?” in his Cloud Governance: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed… post of 7/13/2009:

As we predicted earlier in the year, Cloud computing is starting to take hold, especially if you believe the marketing literature of vendors and consulting firms. Yet, we are seeing an increasing number of Cloud success stories, ranging from simplistic consumption of utility Services and offloading of compute resources to the sort of application and process clouds we discussed in a previous ZapFlash. Perhaps the reason why usage of the Cloud is still nascent in the enterprise is because of an increasing chorus of concerns being voiced about the usage of Cloud resources. …

Cloud Computing Events

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•••• O’Reilly Media’s Open Source Convention (OSCON) runs from 7/20 to 7/24/2009 at the San Jose Convention Center. OSCON features 13 sessions in the Cloud Computing track.

When: 7/20/2009 to 7/24/2009 
Where: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA, USA 

•••• David Pallman reports OC Azure User Group Meeting Thursday 7/23/09 on Azure MEBAs and Multi-Tenant SaaS:

The topic for this month's Azure User Group meeting is Multi-Enterprise Business Applications (MEBAs), a new class of applications the cloud is ideally suited for. We'll also look at SaaS considerations and weigh single-tenant vs. multi-tenant approaches.

In addition we'll share the recent Azure announcements, including rates.

When: 7/23/2009 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM PDT
Where: Quickstart Intelligence, 16815 Von Karman Ave. Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92606

My A Comparison of Azure and Google App Engine Pricing post of 7/15/2009 (updated 7/16/2009) concludes:

If there is a “cloud price war,” Azure has lost it to Google.

However, it appears that the Azure team is considering a countermove. (Repeated from the Azure Infrastructure section.)

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) Slides, Video 
  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) Slides (earlier slides by Dave Bost) Video
  4. AP002 Partnering with the Azure Services (Tue 7/14 | 2:00 PM-3:00 PM | 220-222) Slides Video
  5. SS006 The Azure Services Platform Partner Model and Pricing (Tue 7/14 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | 220-222) Video
  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 Embracing 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) Video (Accompanying text for SS006 is incorrect)
  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 (Tue 7/14 | 3:30 PM-4:30 PM | No Room Data)
  10. Dynamic Datacenter: Enabling the Hosted Cloud and Managed Services Video 

Slides linked from the “The Latest Resources” section of the Azure Partner Quickstart portal. This section will be updated as other slide decks appear.

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.

The preceding was copied from last week’s OakLeaf post.

Update 7/13/2009: Mary Jo Foley says Microsoft to flesh out further its private cloud strategy on 7/14/2009:

Microsoft is crystalizing its “private cloud” positioning and plans to run it by the 6,000 or so partners attending its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this week.

Microsoft officials previously have said that they won’t allow customers to run the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system on customers’ on-premise servers, but that they will make available to users many of the advances in Windows Server, System Center, Hyper-V and other Microsoft technologies so users can create their own “private clouds.”

Microsoft is expected to tout its Dynamic Data Center Toolkit for Enterprises at the show. The product, originally expected to ship by the end of 2009 — according to a private cloud fact sheet that was on Microsoft’s site earlier today but is gone — is now slated for the first half of 2010. It is a “free, partner-extensible toolkit that will enable datacenters to dynamically pool, allocate, and manage resources to enable IT as a service.” Microsoft already offers a version of the Dynamic Data Center Toolkit for its hosting partners. …

In related news, Microsoft is expected to unveil Azure pricing and licensing on Tuesday, July 14, at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

The Azure Team announced Seattle Lunch 2.0 @ Windows Azure to be held on 7/31/2009 in Bellevue.

You've seen all the latest press this week about Windows Azure - but two cloud services out of Seattle (three if you count EMC Decho (link) What's the best choice as a startup in the area? The Windows Azure team is going to host a Seattle Lunch 2.0 for you and will answer ANY questions you can come up with.

When: 7/31/2009 11:30 AM to 1 PM PDT
Where: Microsoft Windows, 700 Bellevue Way NE 15th Floor, Bellevue, WA 98004

Kevin Jackson is the Technical Chair for the 1st Annual Government IT Conference & Expo
to be held on 10/6/2009 in Washington, DC. Kevin writes in his Letter from the Technical Chair post of 7/13/2009:

To highlight the importance of this conference, I only need to repeat the guiding principles driving President Obama’s technology agenda:

  • Innovation in the Economy: Drive Economic Growth and Solve National Problems By Deploying a 21st Century Information Infrastructure 
  • Innovation in Science: Invest in Science and Science Education
  • Innovation in Public Administration: Creating an Open and Secure Government
  • Restoring a Culture of Accountability through Openness and Transparency of Government Operations and Information
  • When: 10/6/2009 
    Where: Washington, DC (venue TBD)

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    Charles Babcock reports BMC Software Sees Hybrid Clouds On Horizon in this article of 7/17/2009 for InformationWeek:

    BMC (NYSE: BMC) Software is working to give IT managers the power to provision their internal users with virtual machines, regardless of whether those VMs are hosted on company servers or in the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) EC2 cloud.

    It's another step toward what observers call the hybrid cloud, or an internal data center working hand-in-glove with an external set of resources in a public cloud. Such a linkage would allow data centers to carry the bulk of a company's computing workload, but rely on a cloud to handle load spikes or non-critical, variable tasks, such as software testing. It may sound like BMC is just climbing aboard a hot button issue, but Herb Van Hook, VP of business planning, said BMC "has been led to the cloud by our customers. We had a joint customer with Amazon who was building out a hybrid cloud." …

    •••• Maureen O’Gara casts a more jaundiced eye on BMC’s offering in her BMC Latest Cloud Me-Too post of 7/17/2009: “BMC is leveraging Amazon’s EC2 to get a piece of the cloud action.” …

    •••• Alex Hadley reported The end of Sun in his 7/16/2009 post for Software Development Times:

    At 10:05 a.m. Pacific time today, Sun Microsystems' fate was sealed. At that exact moment, shareholder voting closed, and the motion to accept the acquisition offer from Oracle was approved. There was little fanfare. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, and Scott McNealy, its chairman, were both absent. Schwartz was said to be sick. I can't help but think it was psychosomatic. …

    Truly an ignominious end.

    Sun Microsystems Systems News interviews Sun VP Hal Stern in Change Is in the Wind for Sysadmins Says Sun VP of 7/17/2009:

    The cloud, whether private or public, says Sun VP Hal Stern, will change the nature of the system administrator's job, demanding a shift of emphasis from hardware and reliability to software. He shared his views with Alex Goldman in an interview for "With services, we are leaving the hardware world," Stern said.

    William Vambenepe's REST in practice for IT and Cloud management (part 1: Cloud APIs) post of 7/16/2009 “compare[s] four public Cloud APIs (AWS EC2, GoGrid, Rackspace and Sun Cloud) to see what practical benefits REST provides for resource management protocols.”

    Rackspace announced its Public API for Cloud Computing Servers in this 7/14/2009 post to Cloudonomics Journal:

    Rackspace Hosting has announced the availability of the public beta of its Cloud Servers® API. Cloud Servers, part of the company’s portfolio of cloud services, is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering that provides inexpensive compute capacity that can be instantly sized allowing businesses to pay only for what it uses—as needed. Through the open, standards-based API, Rackspace Cloud customers can now manage their cloud infrastructure with greater control and flexibility. The API, for example, enables elastic scenarios as users can write code that programmatically detects load and scales the number of server instances up and down

    You also can read An Interview With The Architects of The [Rackspace] Cloud Servers API posted 7/14/2009.

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