Sunday, November 01, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 10/26/2009+

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

••• Update 10/31/2009 and 11/1/2009: .NET Services Team: Prepare for November .NET Serves CTP; Soyatec: Windows Azure SDK for Java; Gunnar Peterson: Thinking Person’s Guide to the Cloud (Parts 1 – 4); Chris Hoff: A letter to Werner Vogels (a.k.a., Santa Claus for Nerds) about AWS security; David Pallman: Updated Azure ROI Calculator and Storage Explorer; and Kevin Hoffman: Using LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework with SQL Azure.

Update 10/29 and 10/30/2009: Microsoft’s Online Services Security and Compliance (OSSC) team: Microsoft compliance framework for online services; Stephanie Selin: A preview of PDC 2009’s Windows Azure Updates; Lori MacVittie: Three essays on cloud-computing architecture; Kevin Hoffman: Creating your first SQL Azure database; Tom Bittman: 1,000+ cloud computing inquiries classified; T. Stridhar: “Cloud Computing—A Primer: Part 1—Models and Technologies”; Windows Azure Team and Mary Jo Foley: Windows Azure Platform Launch Update; Steve Marx: Windows Azure sessions at PDC 2009; Chris Hoff: The cloud vs. cloud computing redux; and more.

• Update 10/28/2009: Me: Deploying projects to the Azure cloud; Windows Azure Blog: New Eclipse, PHP and Java tools; John Treadway: A comparison of AWS RDS and SQL Azure; Sam Johnston: The NoSQL moniker; Steve Marx: The importance of continuation tokens; and others.

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

To use the above links, first click the post’s title to display the single article you want to navigate.

Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform published 9/21/2009. Order today from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (in stock.)

Read the detailed TOC here (PDF) and download the sample code here.

Discuss the book on its WROX P2P Forum.

See a short-form TOC, get links to live Azure sample projects, and read a detailed TOC of electronic-only chapters 12 and 13 here.

Wrox’s Web site manager posted on 9/29/2009 a lengthy excerpt from Chapter 4, “Scaling Azure Table and Blob Storage” here.

You can now download and save the following two online-only chapters in Microsoft Office Word 2003 *.doc format by FTP:

  • Chapter 12: “Managing SQL Azure Accounts, Databases, and DataHubs*”
  • Chapter 13: “Exploiting SQL Azure Database's Relational Features”

HTTP downloads of the two chapters are available from the book's Code Download page.
* Content for managing DataHubs will be added when Microsoft releases a CTP of the technology

Off-Topic: OakLeaf Blog Joins Technorati’s “Top 100 InfoTech” List on 10/24/2009

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Steve Marx’ Windows Azure Tables: Expect Continuation Tokens, Seriously! post of 10/28/2009 discusses the importance of continuation tokens in paging Azure tables:

A few weeks ago, my blog appeared suddenly empty. More recently, a customer reported that all of his data had seemingly disappeared.  In his case and in mine, we were forgetting an important part of using Windows Azure Tables: continuation tokens.  Read on to understand why continuation tokens are so important to handle properly in your application.

My OakLeaf Systems Azure Table Services Sample Project demonstrates the use (and strange format) of continuation tokens for paging an Azure table created from the Northwind sample database’s Customers table.

Bill Lodin announced a New seminar on Azure Worker roles and queue storage on 10/26/2009:

It’s Monday, and these days that means we posted another Web seminar! This is actually the last Web seminar I’ll be posting until after the PDC, and this one covers Windows Azure Worker roles and Windows Azure queue storage. Here’s the link to the session itself:

If you are interested in the sample code, there are actually two Visual Studio projects you’ll need… The first is a little WPF app that hosts a WCF service. This acts as the SMS “server”, and as the name (PsuedoSMS) suggests, there is no actual SMS involved… I just needed to be able to simulate a service I could invoke from the Worker role.

The second is the cloud service that contains the actual demonstration code from the session. This is a Visual Studio 2008 solution, but you should be able to easily convert it if you want to use it with Visual Studio 2010.

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

••• Kevin Hoffman explains how to use LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework on top of SQL Azure in this 10/31/2009 post: “All you need to do is replace the connection string that it adds to your app.Config file with the connection string:”

As mentioned in my previous blog post, you don't get full designer support on SQL Azure within SQL Server Management Studio. In addition, you don't get designer support for LINQ to SQL or Entity Framework, either. So what do you do if you want to take advantage of these awesome object mapping tools but the designers don't work directly against the cloud?

Conveniently enough, if you follow the tips in the previous blog post, you would have already created a local copy of your SQL Azure database. The "trick" (not really a trick at all, just not immediately obvious) is to point your EF or LINQ to SQL Visual Studio projects at your local database. This will give these mappers the schema and relationship information they need in order to create the appropriate conceptual<->relational mappings. …

Kevin Hoffman’s Creating and Manipulating Your SQL Azure Database post of 10/29/2009 offers a detailed introduction to creating your first SQL Azure database, including tips on how to avoid firewall and schema issues.

• John Treadway compares Amazon Web Services Relational Database Services (AWS RDS) with SQL Azure in his Amazon RDS vs. SQL Azure: The birth of the DBMS Utility post of 10/27/2009. His “The DBMS Market Dynamic” section is particularly interesting:

By providing MySQL, Amazon is catering to the Web and SaaS crowd, and less so to the enterprise.  Conversely, Microsoft is well-positioned to compete in the far larger and more lucrative enterprise RDBMS market.  Yes, there is MySQL in the enterprise, but it’s a side-show to Oracle, SQL Server and IBM’s DB2 (with a sprinkling of Sybase and others).

Speaking of which, how will Oracle, IBM and Sybase respond?  IBM has their cloud offerings and will support DB2 fully – but will they be as innovative?  Oracle’s stalled acquisition of Sun may eventually lead to an Oracle cloud where they would be able to offer a similar service.  And frankly, out of all of the DBMSs out there, Oracle’s users have the most to gain from not having to hassle with that big and hard to manage system.  Sybase?  They seem to be dateless at this point.  They don’t offer a cloud (and likely won’t), can’t get a leading cloud to back them with their small market share, and tend to only be used in really intense applications like trading and risk analytics on Wall Street – which are less likely to migrate to the cloud soon.

I don’t see a scenario where MySQL-based DBaaS offerings aren’t dominating the Web/SaaS market (MySQL the software dominates it today).  Nor do I see a market for enterprise DBaaS that doesn’t have SQL Azure in the lead.   There will be crossover (more with MySQL in the enterprise than SQL Azure in the Web/SaaS environment).  Oracle may be able to craft a solution that enterprise-focused cloud providers (Terremark, Unisys, etc.) can use, but I wouldn’t bet on it soon.

John continues with a detailed “Amazon RDS and Microsoft SQL Azure Compared” section.

Sam Johnston’s An open letter to the NoSQL community post of 10/27/2009 takes exception to the “NoSQL moniker”:

Following some discussion on Twitter today I posted this thread to the nosql-discussion group. You can see the outcome for yourself (essentially, and unsurprisingly I might add, "please feel free to take your software and call it whatever you want").

While I don't want to mess with their momentum (it's a good cause, if branded with an unfortunate name) this isn't the first time the issue's been raised and I doubt it will be the last. I do however think that "no SQL" is completely missing the point and that the core concern is trading consistency for scalability. At the end of the day developers and users will deploy what is most appropriate for the task at hand.

My Amazon Attempts to Preempt PDC 2009 Release of SQL Azure with MySQL 5.1 Relational Database Service post of 10/27/2009 quotes Amazon’s Werner Vogels, Jeff Barr and James Hamilton, as well as posts by independent observers Alan Williamson and Jeffrey Schwartz about Amazon Web Services new Relational Database Services (RDS). Amazon also reduced the price of EC2 instances by 15%.

Rich Miller’s Amazon Offers MySQL in the Cloud post of 10/27/2009 offers similar excerpts from the usual suspects above and more.

Alin Irimie adds his comments about Amazon’s Answer To SQL Azure - Amazon Relational Database Service on 10/27/2009.

Krishnan Subramanian posted his Amazon Releases Relational Database As A Service - My Initial Thoughts article of 10/26/2009 before Amazon released its AWS RDS press release:

After resisting the demands for a relational database for a long time, Amazon has suddenly jumped into the game. I am suspecting that this is an attempt to preempt Microsoft's announcement about the public release of Azure SQL relational database cloud later this month at PDC '09. I see a pattern here. For a long time, Amazon was not keen on releasing Windows based instances as a part of their EC2 offering. Last year, at about the same time, when it became clear that Microsoft will announce a Windows cloud at PDC '08, Amazon preempted the announcement with their own Windows based EC2 instances. I like this competition as I strongly believe that such a competition is good for the Cloud marketplace.

This announcement will also crush the Y-Combinator startup FathomDB that offers database as a service that is run on top of Amazon EC2. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this announcement. Probably, this announcement should also serve as a warning bell for the companies that build their entire business on Amazon ecosystem. They are just one announcement away from complete destruction. It is not unique to Amazon ecosystem alone. It can happen to any company whose business relies entirely on one vendor's ecosystem.

The Sync Services Team reports about New Sync Framework Samples available from the MSDN Code Gallery, including Database Sync: SQL Server and SQL Server Compact, “which shows how to use database synchronization providers to configure and execute peer-to-peer synchronization between a SQL Server database and one or more SQL Server Compact databases.”

Still no word on Sync Services and SQL Azure or the erstwhile Data Hub.

Steven Forte’s SQL Azure on Production Servers post of 10/23/2009 discusses use of SQL Azure Explorer with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2:

If you are working with Visual Studio 2010 beta2 that shipped this week, you can use a refreshed version of the SQL Azure Explorer. The 0.2.2 version is built specifically for VS 2010 b2 and is very stable, the author on codeplex marked it now as a beta. After you download and install SQL Azure Explorer, you have to go into Visual Studio and enable extensions. You can do this via Tools|Extension Manager. You will see that SQL Azure Explorer is disabled and extensions are not available. You have to click on the hyperlink and then check the allow button in the dialog that follows. After you close and reopen Visual Studio, you will see SQL Azure Manager as the first item in the Tools menu.


There have been some major speed improvements to the login and object view process. Also the ability to create and drop databases, users, etc. A nice feature (that was also in the last version but I did not see it) is that you can parse your query and even format your TSQL. Pretty cool.

.NET Services: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

The .NET Services Team’s Scheduled Maintenance Notification - .NET Services and Portal (Nov 5th, 2009) post of 10/30/2009 announces:

The .NET Services (ServiceBus and Access Control Service) will be undergoing planned maintenance on November 5th, 2009, starting at 9AM PST, and ending at 12PM PST due to a major software upgrade. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

.NET Services and the .NET Services Portal will be unavailable during this period.

The The .NET Services November 2009 CTP Breaking Changes Announcement and Scheduled Maintenance post of the same date announces the following changes:

  1. NET Services Portal address
  2. Subscription migration
  3. Solution migration
  4. Solution region migration

Services Bus will undergo the following changes (a.k.a., a complete transmogrification):

  1. Queues changes
  2. Routers removal
  3. RelayBinding Security Default
  4. Service Namespace replaces Solution name
  5. TransportClientCredentialType update
  6. EndToEndWebHttpSecurityMode.
  7. TransportCredentialOnly is removed
  8. HttpBufferClient is not public
  9. TcpRelayConnectionMode.Direct is removed
  10. Service publishing feed address aligns with service transport
  11. WSHttpRelayBinding is removed
  12. WS2007FederationHttpRelayBinding is removed

Access Control Service will undergo the following modifications:

  1. Solution credentials replaced with Issuer credentials
  2. WS-Trust STS replaced with Web Resource Authorization Protocol (WRAP) STS
  3. Access Control Service data will not be migrated
  4. Access Control Management Portal replaced with a SDK Command-line Tool (acm.exe)

In other words, it’s start over from ground zero. It will be interesting to hear the .NET Services team’s explanation for such a complete product makeover at this late date (about two weeks from the Azure Services Platform’s commercial release. Like Gregor Samsa, it might turn into a giant beetle. I left the following comment to the .NET Services Team blog’s empty The .NET Services November 2009 CTP Breaking Changes Announcement and Scheduled Maintenance post of 10/30/2009:

Will .NET Services be commercially available when the Azure Services Platform (including SQL Azure) is released at PDC 2009? A transmogrification of this scope within about two weeks of Platform CA seems to me to be premature (and perhaps ill-advised).

The justification for rearchitecting .NET Services would make an interesting read.


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Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

••• Soyatec announces the Windows Azure SDK for Java (Azure4j):

As part of Microsoft's commitment to Interoperability, this open source project is an effort bridge Java developers to Windows Azure. This is an open source project to provide software development kit for Windows Azure and Windows Azure Storage - Blobs, Tables & Queues

  • Overview
    • Enables Java developers to take advantage of the Microsoft Cloud Services Platform - Windows Azure.
    • Provides consistent programming model for Windows Azure Storage (Blobs, Tables & Queues)
  • Features
    • Java classes for Windows Azure Blobs, Tables & Queues (for CRUD operations)
    • Helper Classes for HTTP transport, AuthN/AuthZ, REST & Error Management
    • Manageability, Instrumentation & Logging support
    • Support for storing Java sessions in Azure Table Storage

Read the Getting Started guide for more info on developing with the Windows Azure SDK for Java.

From a deployment’s perspective, you can either deploy the SDK with a web application or with a desktop application[, or both]:


Graphics credit: Soyatec

••• Nadezhda Lukyanova’s Introducing CloudBerry Explorer for Azure Blob Storage post of 11/1/2009 describes CloudBerry Lab’s new version of its Explorer application for Windows Azure Blobs, which is now available in a beta version. (Previous Explorer versions work with Amazon S3 and Nirvanix blobs.)


CloudBerry Explorer for Azure is a freeware program, it is currently in beta and you can download it at

••• Bill Lodin’s Migrating Web Applications to Windows Azure post of 10/30/2009 begins:

With the release of Windows Azure only a few weeks away, it is likely that more and more developers are going to want to move their existing Web applications into the cloud. Fortunately, Microsoft has made it very easy to do so and a big part of that is the decision to make Azure Web Roles look (and behave) so much like ASP.NET Web Applications.

Really, a Web Role project and a Web Application project are identical, with one very minor exception: by default, Web Role projects contain a reference to the Microsoft.ServiceHosting.ServiceRuntime assembly and Web Application projects do not:

The ONLY difference between a Web Role project and a Web Application project

The ONLY difference between a Web Role project and a Web Application project

Because Web Roles and Web Applications are architecturally identical, you can easily add an existing Web application to a Windows Azure application… It’s a two step process; first, add the Web Application project to your cloud solution. …

••• David Pallman reports Azure ROI Calculator Updated With Better International Support on 10/31/2009:

Neudesic's popular Azure ROI Calculator has been updated to work better for users outside of the U.S. (that is, for those with regional settings besides English-US).

Even though the calculator only reflects the U.S. pricing announced in July, it turns out lots of people outside the U.S. still want to use the calculator. In this update the calculator will correctly format and compute charges regardless of your locale settings.

and Azure Storage Explorer 3.0 Beta Now Available on 10/30/2009:

I'm pleased to announce Azure Storage Explorer version 3.0 is now available as a beta release on CodePlex. Azure Storage Explorer is Neudesic's free tool for viewing and managing Windows Azure blobs, queues, and tables.

This third generation of Azure Storage Explorer has a fresh new user interface and many new features. Text blobs can be edited within the tool, and each of Windows Azure's storage types (blobs, queues, tables) can be imported/exported between the cloud and your local file system.

For tables, you can import or export records from spreadsheet CSV files, allowing you to conveniently use Excel to work with table data locally. …

David also announced on 10/31/2009 that he’s writing The Azure Handbook:

It's official, I'm writing an Azure book (isn't everybody?). The Azure Handbook is in progress and should become available not too long after the Azure 1.0 release. I'm expecting it will be available as both an e-book and a print book.

The Azure Handbook will cover the full Azure platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure, .NET Services) from both business and technical perspectives.

In the spirit of all good technical books these days, I want lots of feedback before it's published. There's a book site up at where I'll be posting chapters for feedback as I write them. (And yes, the site is of course hosted in Windows Azure).

Emmanuel Huna’s An easier way to access the Windows Azure local development fabric from another computer post of 10/28/2009 shows you how to run the Windows version of the UNIX rinetd redirection utility as a service to let you run the Development Fabric on a remote Windows client or server. He describes the original version in his Accessing the Windows Azure local development fabric from another computer post of 10/27/2009.

Bill Crounse, MD explains Why clinicians fear electronic medical records and what we can learn from Toyota and Disney in this 10/29/2009 post to the Microsoft HealthBlog:

Have you ever wondered why so many physicians resist going “electronic”?  Trust me, it is not because they fear technology.  It is not because doctors  and nurses are Luddites when it comes to using computers.  It is because they fear losing time.  It is because they resist using technology if it doesn’t, or they perceive it doesn’t, add value.  Even if “meaningful use” of electronic records translates to fewer errors, safer care, and higher quality; unless it also fits like a glove into clinical workflow, saving time and saving money, the trade-off just isn’t worth it in the minds of most clinicians. …

Next month, we launch a new monthly video program called Health Tech Today.  On our first program, you’ll meet one of my colleagues who works at a large, multispecialty clinic system based in Seattle.  The clinic is world renowned for modeling healthcare delivery after the Toyota production method.  If you think automobile manufacturing has nothing to do with healthcare, you’d be very wrong.  By taking some lessons from another industry, this clinic system not only embraces technology and electronic medical records, it is also extraordinarily efficient.

• My Deploying Production Projects to the Cloud with the New Windows Azure Portal post of 10/28/2009 is a lavishly illustrated tutorial for migrating projects from Microsoft’s North West US (Quincy, WA) to the South Central US (San Antonio, TX) data center with the recently renovated Windows Azure Developer Portal. The first two projects migrated are:

Chapter 4, “Scaling Azure Table and Blob Storage,” of Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform describes how to build and deploy these to projects. 

I believe my article rival’s Scott Guthrie’s (@ScottGu’s) tutorial posts for detailed coverage, number of screen captures (14) and overall length. What do you think?

The Windows Azure Team announced New Eclipse, PHP, and Java Tools for Windows Azure in this 10/28/2009 post:

Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse provides a series of wizards and utilities that allow developers to write, debug, and configure for and deploy PHP applications to Windows Azure. It is available for download at

The plug-in also bundles the existing Windows Azure SDK for PHP, which we introduced a few months ago.

The second project, Windows Azure SDK for Java, is a client library for accessing Windows Azure storage from Java.  This library was used in the creation of the “Storage Explorer” feature of the Eclipse extension.

Maarten Balliauw’s Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse for PHP developers post of 10/28 adds some details about and a screen capture of Azure’s new Eclipse tools:

Pfew! Finally I can spread the word on this! While working on the Windows Azure SDK for PHP, I had the opportunity to test-drive the development builds of the WIndows Azure Tools for Eclipse. Today, the project has been released officially at Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse provides a series of wizards and utilities that allow developers to write, debug, and configure for and deploy PHP applications to Windows Azure.


The plug-in also bundles the existing Windows Azure SDK for PHP, which was introduced a few months ago. This SDK provides a simple API for PHP developers who use the Windows Azure storage component, making it very easy to use the blob, queue and table data storage features. Just visit the project site at

Some labs are available to help you get started with PHP on the WIndows Azure platform:

Aaron Skonnard adds some details about his podcast in his My .NET Rocks interview on building a real cloud app post of 10/28/2009:

You can now download my latest .NET Rocks interview on building a real cloud app. During the interview we discussed how we used a cloud computing strategy here at Pluralsight to build out our Pluralsight On-Demand! online training system. We were able to touch on many of the interesting business issues around cloud computing, including the economics, what makes sense and what might not. We also spent some time talking about the differences between the Amazon and Microsoft cloud computing platforms and the key strengths of each company.

• Joannes Vermoral announced that Lokad plans to move its forecasting applications on Windows Azure on 11/17/2009 in his Roadmap for 2010 post of 10/27/2009:

Lately, we have invested significant efforts in migrating toward cloud computing to make our technology even more scalable, which will help us in the end to deliver even better forecasts.

November 17th, 2009: we will be running on top of Windows Azure.

Later on, we will keep on improving the quality of our forecasts.

November 17th, 2009: new pricing takes effect.

The detail of future pricing evolutions is not obvious:

  • lower hardware prices means that we will be able to process more forecasts spending less on computing resources;
  • more hardware resources mean potentially better forecasts through more intensive forecasting methods.

Bottom line: we will remain a very competitive forecasting solution, and we will keep on adjusting our pricing accordingly.

• Vaibhav Bhandari’s Understanding CCR post of 10/27/2009 analyzes support for the Continuity of Care Record standard by HealthVault and Google Health:

CCR or Continuity of Care Record is a standard meant to ease the exchange of clinical information with a relatively amenable and practical schema. There is tone of great information about CCR on its resource site. CCR document format is supported by majority of personal Health clouds, both – Microsoft HealthVault & Google Health.

To get familiar with CCR I would highly recommended this 13 minute video by Dr. Steve Waldren. The CCR standard comprises of an implementation guide, XML schema definition and a guidance spreadsheet for each data element that make up the standard. These resources can be bought from ASTM.

Google Health supports only a limited set of [CCR] entities …, while HealthVault support[s] the entire standard and also allows transformation of some of these entities to native HealthVault types. Here are some illustrative CCR figures from Dr. Waldren’s presentation.

image image

Following are earlier members of Vaibhav’s series on medical vocabularies:

• Robert Rowley, MD’s EHR Scalability post of 10/27/2009 analyzes the scalability of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems:

One of the questions that comes up when considering an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is "can this EHR scale up to my sized practice?" A presumption is that "smaller" EHRs, which cater to small group and solo practices, would not fare well when deployed in a group of, say, 20 physicians, or 100 physicians (plus the attendant additional users in the practice, like front-office staff and nursing). Larger groups frequently engage IT consultants, who may reinforce this kind of thinking. Is this a valid assumption?

To understand the scalability of a health IT system, it is important to understand the kind of technological platform it is build upon. Over the past several decades, technology has undergone a series of evolutionary stages, as hardware has gotten more powerful and cheaper, and software has leveraged these improvements - mainframes were replaced by client/server systems, which allowed distributed microprocessing environments; and the subsequent shift to web applications and web services opened networking through the Internet. The next phase, still in its infancy, is cloud computing, which leverages these prior waves of technology (computing and networking), but embraces deep innovations in storage/data management in order to tackle Big Data.

Most “big vendor” legacy EHRs were built as client/server systems, and rely on local networks in order to function. Though touted as “scalable,” these systems require larger and larger networks in order to function at larger scales – and it is the service and maintenance of these local networks that ramps up cost. The result is exponential cost inflation, and failure of the software to deliver on its promises – UCSF Medical Center, after investing over a billion in its GE Centricity EHR, has pulled the plug on its system. Kaiser invested over $4 billion in its system (a customization of Epic), and although robust, its EHR is local to the Kaiser system – no one outside Kaiser can access it.

Jim Nakashima’s Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 post of 10/26/2009 begins:

Recently, I updated a somewhat out of context (for this blog) post titled "Windows Azure Tools and Visual Studio 2010”. 

One of the things you’ll notice is that we let the cat out of the bag that we’ll be releasing something new and big in November!  (ok, maybe not a big surprise given that PDC 2009 is in November as well) 

It’s one of the reasons my blog has been quieter than usual over the last months, there’s a lot of stuff coming and I’ll have a lot of posts in November and December.

That said, the main reason for the post is to provide a landing page for a link we have from Visual Studio 2010.  In fact, we have a lot of cool Visual Studio 2010 integration features to talk about.

Let me elaborate.

When you first start up Visual Studio 2010 beta 2, you’ll see in the “Getting Started” tab that there is a section for “Cloud”.  Here you can get directed to a lot relevant content for developing for Windows Azure, notably a number of links to the newly redesigned

Ryan Dunn describes Windows Azure Service Management CmdLets in this 10/26/2009 post:

With the release of the Service Management API, this is now possible.  As of today, you can download some Powershell cmdlets that wrap this API and make managing your Windows Azure applications simple from script.  With these cmdlets, you can script your deploys, upgrades, and scaling operations very easily.


The cmdlets mirror the API quite closely, but since it is Powershell, we support piping which cuts down quite a bit on the things you need to type.

Ryan continues with an example that show how to “take an existing deployment, stop it, remove it, create a new deployment, and start it” with cmdlets.

David Pallman announces Voice 2.0 for Silverlight/Azure is Coming November 5, 2009 in his 10/26/2009 post:

Would you like to add voice and telephony capabilities to your Silverlight and Azure applications? Think of the extra dimension of user experience that could add to your Rich Internet Applications. Now you can, and the premier event to learn all about it (in person if you’re in the San Francisco area, else via webcast) is coming up on November 5, 2009.

For several months now I’ve been part of a Microsoft-Ribbit-Neudesic collaboration working to make Ribbit’s Voice 2.0 technology available to Silverlight developers in the form of customizable Silverlight controls integrated with Visual Studio and Expression Blend. Now that I’m allowed to start talking about it, I want to encourage Silverlight and Azure developers to attend the debut announcement and demo of Ribbit for Silverlight at Ribbit’s upcoming developer event, Spawn. After the event, I’ll be posting more about developing Voice 2.0 applications using Ribbit for Silverlight. …

Dave continues with the official announcement from Ribbit.

Wade Wegner’s Taste of Chicago benefits from Windows Azure and Silverlight post of 10/26/2009 offers a retrospective of this archetypical Windows Azure application:

As a native Illinoisan, I know that the Taste of Chicago is a big deal!  It is the largest outdoor food and music festival in the world, and is attended by more than 3 million people each year.  If you like food and music, this is a festival for you!

West Monroe PartnersThis past year, the City of Chicago needed to quickly build out an interactive map for the event – and when I say quickly, I mean it.  They needed an interactive mapping experience built and deployed in less than 10 days.  To help make this a reality, the City of Chicago turned to a very capable Microsoft partner, West Monroe Partners (WMP), for assistance. 

The challenges here were pretty clear:

  • Build an interactive and immersive website in less than 10 days.
  • The website needed to scale massively for the event, but once the event was over they wanted to scale the infrastructure down.
  • WMP wanted to leverage their existing skills and tools.

WMP proposed the following – an immersive Silverlight Deep Zoom experience running on Windows Azure (if you’re not familiar with Deep Zoom, take a look at the Hard Rock memorabilia site).  You can still visit the Taste of Chicago interactive map – check it out:

Taste of Chicago interactive map

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

••• Bill McNee, Mike West and Bruce Guptil’s SIIA On-Demand: Overcoming Concerns to SaaS and Cloud Adoption research report of 10/29/2009 for Saugatuck Research (site registration required) begins:

Security, performance, availability, integration: These are four key concerns that user IT and business executives alike cite when asked about challenges in adopting and deploying SaaS and Cloud Infrastructure solutions.

Such concerns are not by preventing enterprises, large or small, from adopting SaaS and Cloud. In fact, these two are growing rapidly enough that, by 2014, Cloud Computing in general will capture up to 40 percent of new IT spending growth, according to Saugatuck’s most recent research studies. But that growth drives rapidly-increasing needs for, and challenges in, securing, integrating, and managing disparate instances of SaaS and Cloud throughout enterprises [emphasis by the authors]. …

The research reports is based on two 10/29/2009 panel sessions from the the SIIA OnDemand conference held in San Jose, CA on 10/28 to 10/30/2009.

••• David Chappell explains the business benefits of the Azure Services Platform for independent software/services vendors in his Windows Azure and ISVs: A Guide for Decision Makers white paper (sponsored by Microsoft.) The paper appeared in July 2009 in conjunction with release of pricing for Azure services, but I missed it at the time.

••• James Hamilton’s The Cost of Latency post of 10/31/2009 concludes:

… I’ve always believed that speed was an undervalued and under-discussed asset on the web. Google appears to be one of the early high-traffic sites to focus on low latency as a feature but, until recently, the big players haven’t talked much about the impact of latency. The data from Steve [Souder]’s talk and his blog entry [Velocity and the Bottom Line] above is wonderful in that it underlines why low latency really is a feature rather than the result of less features. The rest of his presentation goes into detail into how to achieve low latency web pages. It’s a great talk. …

The Windows Azure Team released a Windows Azure Platform Launch Update on 10/29/2009. Following are the salient points:

  • At PDC 2009, on November 17th, 2009, a number of new features in Windows Azure will be made available for the first time.  The CTP will remain open through December 31st, allowing you to experiment with the full feature platform and to give us any final feedback.
  • Beginning January, 2010, new customers will have to sign up for an offer to access services on the Windows Azure platform. You’ll receive your first bill with a $0 balance, so you can see your exact usage while still enjoying free service.
  • On February 1, 2010, we will begin charging customers for using the Windows Azure platform.

The team sent the same message in an email to each Windows Azure SDK account holder.

Mary Jo Foley provides a more detailed report about the above in her Microsoft adds more choices for developers targeting its Azure cloud article for the All About Microsoft blog of 10/29/2009.

Lori MacVittie posted the following three thought-provoking articles this week:

WILS: Three Ways To Better Utilize Resources In Any Data Center (10/29/2009): WILS = Write It Like Seth. Seth Godin always gets his point across with brevity and wit. WILS is an attempt to be concise about application delivery topics and just get straight to the point. No dilly dallying around.

To Take Advantage of Cloud Computing You Must Unlearn, Luke (10/28/2009): “Carrying over the provisioning and capacity planning techniques used in a traditional data center to cloud computing negates the full power of the Force cloud computing.”

Vertical Scalability Cloud Computing Style (10/27/2009): “Vertical scalability used to require optimizations inside the application, at the code level. Cloud computing changes the nature of vertical scalability and, one hopes, will lead to a new model of scalability based on the capabilities of Infrastructure 2.0 and increasingly granular resource management capabilities.” 

Andre Yee asks Are All Applications Suitable For the Cloud? in his 10/29/2009 post, which reports that records management applications don’t appear to be suitable for cloud deployment:

Since I'm both a proponent for the cloud-based model and work for a leading SaaS company, I'm inclined to say yes. But Forrester released a new report indicating that at least for the Records Management industry, the SaaS model has not been the raving success that it's been for CRM, marketing automation and security. The big eye-catching statistic - 90% of respondents in a survey of 400 records management decision makers indicated that they were not planning to expand or implement new SaaS deployments. Reasons for the lack of uptake - unfamiliarity with SaaS was cited as a primary reason. There were also other concerns related to security, privacy and legal requirements.

Tom Bittman classified more than 1,000 Cloud Computing Inquiries at Gartner into 19 “end-use verticals” in this 10/29/2009 post to the Gartner blog. Following were the top five categories:

    1. Financial services (12%)
    2. Manufacturing (10%)
    3. Business and management services (10%)
    4. Telecommunications and equipment (9%)
    5. Government (7%)

Michael Hickins claims Innovation, Not Cost, New Cloud Battle Cry in this 10/28/2009 post to InformationWeek’s Digital Life Weblog:

Maybe folks are simply trying to talk themselves out of the recession (which would be a good thing in itself), but it seems like the conversation around cloud computing is shifting from cost-cutting to unleashing innovation.

•• T. Stridhar’s “Cloud Computing—A Primer: Part 1—Models and Technologies” is the lead article in Cisco System’s quarterly Internet Protocol Journal for Fall 2009. From the editor:

In this issue we examine another emerging technology, or perhaps “a new concept” would be a better term, because a collection of new and old technologies are coming together to form what is collectively known as Cloud Computing. In a two-part article on cloud computing, T. Sridhar gives an overview of the concepts underlying this area of development. Part 1 of the article is subtitled “Models and Technologies.” It will be followed by Part 2: “Infrastructure and Implementation Topics,” which will be published in our next issue.

Interestingly, it’s not written by Chris Hoff or James Urquhart.

Rich Miller’s ‘The Cloud’ Has Left The Building post of 10/28/2009 analyzes James Urquhart’s and Lori MacVittie’s position on the use of the cloud terminology and comes up with some interesting cloud-related survey results:

A survey released Tuesday by data center trade group AFCOM found that just 14.9 percent of its member companies have adopted cloud computing, although another 46 percent are considering it. AFCOM said that percentage was three times higher than the ”considering but not implementing” numbers for any other data center technology. [Emphasis added.]   

Jim Nakashima demonstrates Changing the Windows Azure Service Configuration when running on the DevFabric in this detailed 10/27/2009 post:

… To change the configuration while my apps is running, I open up the Windows Azure SDK command prompt (found in the start menu) and navigate to where I created my cloud service.  An easy way to get there is to right click on the Cloud Service node in Solution Explorer and select “Open Folder in Windows Explorer”.


In that directory will be a ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file.  This corresponds to the file in your cloud service project. Edit the value of your ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file (the one you edited before) and change the instance count to 3.

  <Role name="WebRole1">
    <Instances count="3" />

Now use the command line tools csrun to update the service configuration file. …

Alright, I admit – a bit of a party trick to impress your friends with (now I have you guessing what kind of parties I go to) and not terribly useful in the July CTP as the role instances restart when the service configuration file changes.  You may also see some cases where the dfagent crashes (these are not the droids you are looking for).

Letting the cat out of the bag here – in the upcoming release, you will have more control over what happens with your roles after a configuration change and it may be IT shops rally around private cloudsinteresting to debug this scenario. [Emphasis added.]

James Urquhart’s Mitosis in action: Cloud computing and 'The Cloud' post of 10/27/2009 to CNet News’ The Wisdom of Clouds blog continues the quest to distinguish “cloud computing” from the consumer-oriented “The Cloud”:

Lori MacVittie, of application delivery networking vendor F5 and one of my favorite bloggers on the effects of the cloud-computing model on application control systems, wrote a post recently that summed up what a lot of us realized as the aftermath of Danger unfolded; that the word "cloud" is now being used in two increasingly divergent senses.

MacVittie puts it so well, I'll let her spell it out for you:

“Thanks to the nearly constant misapplication of the phrase ‘The Cloud’ and the lack of agreement on a clear definition from technical quarters I must announce that ‘The Cloud’ is no longer a synonym for ‘Cloud Computing.’ It can't be. Do not be misled into trying, it will only cause you heartache and headaches. The two no longer refer to the same thing (if they ever really did) and there should be no implied - or inferred - relationship between them. ‘The Cloud’ has, unfortunately, devolved into little more than a trendy reference for any consumer-facing application delivered over the Internet.

“Cloud computing, on the other hand, specifically speaks to an architectural model; a means of deploying applications that abstracts compute, storage, network, and application network resources in order to provide uniform, on-demand scalability and reliability of application delivery.”

In other words, "The Cloud" is a consumer concept. It represents a way of looking at the seemingly (but not really) new concept of using commercial Internet applications to create, update, and delete personal and/or professional information. It represents a tactical decision on the part of the consumer to trust third parties with data access, management, and security.

Steve Nagy speculates in detail about a Secret Azure Feature For PDC Release? in this 10/26/2009 post.

Charles Babcock asks Is Cloud Bigger Than The Advent Of The Personal Computer? in response to Eric Schmidt’s contention that “’the cloud’ is a phenomenon that is bigger than the advent of the PC” in this 10/26/2009 post to InformationWeek’s Plug into the Cloud blog:

Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, says "the cloud" is a phenomenon that is bigger than the advent of the PC. I think he's almost got it right. Cloud is bigger than the PC Revolution, but it's big in part because it incorporates and extends the PC revolution to Internet server clusters. The cloud owes more to the PC than Eric acknowledges.

According to a Reuters report today, Eric Schmidt told the 900 technology executives at the Utah Technology Council's Hall of Fame event in Salt Lake City that cloud computing is a phenomenon that's bigger than the advent of the PC. I agree with anyone who says this, but I would also point out there's a strong relationship between cloud computing and the PC. Once you get away from the big server point of view, cloud looks a lot like a vehicle for picking up on and extending the PC revolution, both to new users and new devices. …

Reuven Cohen questions What Comes After The Cloud? in this 10/26/2009 post:

Lately I seem to feel like that 80's Rock Band that had that one big hit, doomed to play the same song night after night. In my case I happened to stumble upon this thing called Cloud Computing a little earlier then most. Over the last 6 years or so I've watched as the concept of outsourced web centric IT go from a fringe concept to an overly hyped, albeit under adopted buzz word. I've watched just about anything with the word "cloud" attached to it take off.

When I speak at conferences my presentations have shifted from "what is" or "how does" to "where do we go from here?" It seems that somewhere along the way people started asking me to act as a kind of futurist or more specifically, to speculate about the future. And funny as this may sound, I actually quite enjoy this new role of prognosticator. So in keeping with the theme, I'm going to prognosticate a little bit on this October evening in the year 2009. …

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Cloud Security and Governance

••• James Urquhart asks Does cloud computing need malpractice safeguards? in this 11/1/2009 post to CNet News’ The Wisdom of Clouds blog:

Recent failures to protect consumer data stored on the Internet (aka "the cloud") point to an alarming gap between the value of that data and the care with which some vendors treat that data.

Microsoft subsidiary Danger failed to put in even adequate safeguards for its customers' data. Amazon Web Services failed to discover an obvious problem that kept a loyal customer down for 20 hours. Coghead's agreement to sell to SAP without any provisions to continue support for existing customers.

The truth is that cloud computing means that now, more than ever, IT operations is a profession that has a very real economic and quality-of-life effect on its consumers--in very many ways much like health care or the law. I think it's time we hold ourselves as individual and organizations to similar standards that we expect from doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement. Our ethics must reflect an understanding of the responsibility we are being granted by the rest of society. …

••• Gunnar Peterson posted a lengthy, illustrated essay in four parts about cloud computing security on 10/27 through 10/30/2009:

Thinking Person's Guide to the Cloud Part 1: How to Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground (10/27/2009)

My friend Chris Hoff asked this question in a recent podcast - "why is the OWASP Top Ten the same year after year? why don't these things gets fixed?"[1]. The reason is that software security and security architecture and design is nowhere near as a high priority as it needs to be.


The Thinking Person's Guide to the Cloud, Part 2 (10/28/2009)

Remember my friend Hoff's question - why doesn't the OWASP Top Ten change? Why don't these problems get fixed? Let's look at some of the OWASP Top Ten [8] issues, an overview of some of the fixes, and see if the Cloud is likely to remedy any of them.


Thinking Person's Guide to the Cloud Part 3A, A digression (10/29/2009)


Thinking Person's Guide to the Cloud Part 3b: (10/30/2009)


Tim O'Reilly said “Everything we think of as a computer today is really just a device that connects to the big computer that we are all collectively building”, and I would simply add …let’s collectively build security in. [Emphasis added.]

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an open-source application security project.

Chris Hoff (@Beaker) writes a Dear Santa: All I Want For Christmas On My Amazon Wishlist Is a Straight Answer… letter of 10/31/2009 to Werner Vogels about reported Cloud Cartography security vulnerabilities:

… Just when I had settled on a shiny new gadget from the bookstore side of the house, I saw Amazon’s response to Eran Tromer’s (et al) research on Cloud Cartography featured in this Computerworld article written by my old friend Jaikumar Vijayan titled “Amazon downplays report highlighting vulnerabilities in its cloud service.”

I feature Eran and his team’s work in my Cloudifornication presentation.  You can read more about it on Craig’s blog here.

I quickly cast aside my yuletyde treasure list and instead decided to ask Santa (Werner/AWS) for a most important present: a straight answer from AWS that isn’t delivered by a PR spokeshole that instead speaks openly, transparently and in an engaging fashion with customers and the security community. …

Microsoft’s Online Services Security and Compliance (OSSC) team has published a 44-page Microsoft Compliance Framework for Online Services (Compliance Framework) white paper. Here’s the Executive Summary:

Since the launch of MSN® in 1994, Microsoft has been building and running online services. Global Foundation Services (GFS) provides the cloud infrastructure for these services including ensuring availability for hundreds of millions of customers around the world 24 hours a day, every day. Hosting such familiar consumer-oriented services as Windows Live™ Hotmail® and Bing™, and business-oriented services such as Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Online and Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite from Microsoft Online Services, and many behind-the-scenes services that handle online billing and advertising functions for Microsoft customers means the company must adhere to numerous regulatory, statutory, and industry standards for securing personal and financial data. For more information about how Online Services Security and Compliance (OSSC) manages security risks to the cloud infrastructure, see Securing Microsoft’s Cloud Infrastructure.

To satisfy the various audits Microsoft product or service delivery groups are subject to, GFS teams were often asked for the same types of information repeatedly over the course of a year. Internal teams and partners would also ask about compliance with various regulations, statutes, and industry standards while responding to inquiries from customers and prospects. Having established expertise in responding to these requests, the OSSC team, part of the GFS division, was often asked about how best to prepare for scrutiny from outside auditors in the future. OSSC, along with Microsoft senior management, identified the need for a more centralized approach to preparing for and undergoing audits with the specific goals of increasing efficiencies in preparing for such reviews by consolidating requests made to operations staff, automating workflow between operations staff and compliance teams, and streamlining the process of providing the required operational details to auditors.

The Microsoft Compliance Framework for Online Services (Compliance Framework) was developed by OSSC to address this need. The Compliance Framework includes a standard methodology for defining compliance domains, determining which objectives apply to a given team or asset, and capturing how domain control objectives are addressed in sufficient detail as they apply to a given set of regulations or requirements. In addition to ensuring that compliance expectations are continually achieved, applying the Compliance Framework has helped produce Statement of Auditing Standard (SAS) 70 Type I and Type II attestations; to attain International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission 27001:2005 (ISO/IEC 27001:2005) certification; and to more efficiently pass various audits from independent third parties.

This paper introduces the Compliance Framework in more detail, and provides examples of how to develop compliance domains and to apply control objectives to them in the context of specific industry standards or regulatory requirements. The OSSC team within the GFS division builds on the same security principles and processes Microsoft has developed through years of experience managing security risks.

The OSSC team is a part of the Global Foundation Services division that manages security for the Microsoft cloud infrastructure.

Chris Hoff (@Beaker) fuels the nomenclature controversy with his Cloud/Cloud Computing Definitions – Why they Do(n’t) Matter… post of 10/28/2009:

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece titled Cloud: The Other White Meat…On Service Failures & Hysterics in which I summarized why Cloud/Cloud Computing (or what I now refer to as Cloudputing ;) has become such a definitional Super-Fund clean up site:

To me, cloud is the “other white meat” to the Internet’s array of widely-available chicken parts.  Both are tasty and if I order parmigiana made with either, they may even look or taste the same.  If someone orders it in a restaurant, all they say they care about is how it tastes and how much they paid for it.  They simply trust that it’s prepared properly and hygienically.   The cook, on the other hand, cares about the ingredients that went into making it, its preparation and delivery.  Expectations are critical on both sides of the table.

It’s all a matter of perspective. …

Chris continues with “the graphical representations of those statements from [his] cloudifornication presentation.

Craig Balding published his Slides from my BruCon Talk: “The Belgian Beer Lovers Guide to Cloud Security” on 10/29/2009:

I’ve received some requests for the slides I presented at BruCON, so here they are.  As the slides are mostly devoid of text, I’ve included the speaker notes.  The notes are not polished, hence treat accordingly ;-).  To view in “Full Screen” mode click on the icon at the bottom right of the slideshare embed below and click “Fit to Height” to see the notes.

P.S If you weren’t at BruCON, you missed an excellent security conference - strong content, excellent organisation and facilities, friendly crowd.  Thanks to Benny & crew for being excellent hosts!

I’m a Belgian Mussels lover, but have been known to drink a Stella Artois now and then.

Teresa Carlson’s Cloud Security post of 10/27/2009 to the FutureFed blog explains:

Earlier this month I wrote on cloud security because it’s one of the most important issues facing our federal customers.  The post sparked interesting discussion, and it was great to connect with folks like Jaikumar Vijayan of ComputerWorld and Kim Hart of The Hill on the importance of the ISO 27001 standard and the details of our approach. …

And includes a link to a YouTube video by Bill Billings, Microsoft Federal’s Chief Security Officer, which “provides some additional insight into the standards we’re mapping to, the need for transparency and how to recognize internal threats.”

Craig Balding announces on 10/27/2009 that his RSA Europe 2009 Presentation [Is] Posted:

Thanks to those that requested a copy of my RSA Europe 2009 presentation, “What Everyone Ought To Know About Cloud Security”.  RSA gave me the go-ahead to post it on my blog so here it is: What Everyone Ought To Know About Cloud Security

Whilst at RSA, Mirko from Help Net Security asked me to talk on a 5 minute podcast about Cloud Security from a technical perspective (thanks Mirko!).

This was my last high level presentation on Cloud Security issues - there’s lots of chewy cloud goodness to dive into hence future presentations will be more technical in nature.

Chris Hoff (@Beaker) provides links to his recent articles, podcasts, and upcoming speaking engagements in his Don’t Hassle the Hoff: Recent Press & Podcast Coverage & Upcoming Speaking Engagements post of 10/26/2009.

Mark Everett Hall claims “Going forward, a hybrid public-private approach will likely win” in his feature-length IT shops rally around private clouds article for NetworkWorld of 10/26/2009:

Private clouds -- where companies use their own infrastructure and provision virtualized services to end users via automated tools -- are gaining traction among IT leaders who want to deliver advanced services at lower cost.

However, as with any new approach to computing, private clouds today fall short on manageability, and some users worry about the risk of vendor lock-in, particularly with virtualization and other tools that make cloud computing possible. Further, the fuzzy nature of just what private cloud computing means could slow the adoption of internal cloud setups.

That lack of definition doesn't bother Geir Ramleth, CIO at San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. In fact, he says, the lack of a precise definition is a good thing, because looking at the private cloud too narrowly would "limit what it can do for us," he says. "You're talking philosophy here." Bechtel is one of the world's largest engineering and construction firms. …

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Cloud Computing Events

••• MicrosoftPDC provides an RSS Feed of PDC09 Sessions but the items don’t yet include date, time or location information. This makes creating your schedule a bit chancy at present, but I’ve added most sessions tagged Azure to see how much overlap occurs.

•• Stephanie Selin presents a Free Friday: Can’t Make It To PDC? Still Need Azure Updates? webcast from Microsoft’s US Partner Learning blog on Monday, 12/3/2009 11/2/2009 at 8:00 to 9:00 AM PT:

If you’re unable to make it to PDC but still want all the news that comes out of the conference, this is a great webcast to attend. Register now! (Requires free registration as a Microsoft partner.)

Don't miss out on the latest news coming from PDC, and join us for this Launch webcast. You’ll receive a summary review of all launch announcements, updates on the Windows Azure business model, licensing and pricing, and of course share learn more about how to get ready to build and sell with Windows Azure.

Updated 10/31/2009: Month corrected from November to December. However, registration acknowledgement says Webcast is on Thursday, 12/3/2009, not 12/2/2009.

•• In case you’ve forgotten, the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo is coming to the Santa Clara Convention Center next Monday through Wednesday, 11/2 to 11/4/2009. The session schedule is here. Many presentations are available for downloading. (Site registration is required.)

•• Steve MarxWindows Azure at PDC 2009 post of 10/29/2009 is an up-to-date list of all Windows Azure-related presentations by Windows Azure team members, including several yet-unnamed sessions that “you’ll have to wait until PDC to find out exactly what it’s all about.”

•• See the Windows Azure Platform Launch Update for PDC 2009 in the Windows Azure Infrastructure section.

• Tony Petrossian announced on 10/28/2009 that he’ll present a SQL Azure Database: Present and Future session at PDC 2009:

Learn how SQL Azure has evolved and what new capabilities are planned for upcoming versions. Hear about future RDBMS capabilities in the Cloud and the integration of SQL Azure with other services.

Sean Nolan will deliver Prepared Remarks about HealthVault and Amalga to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Health Information Technology (HIT) Implementation Workshop on 10/29/2009:

The HIT Standards Committee has inaugurated an Implementation Workgroup which is charged with bringing forward “real-world” implementation experience into the HIT Standards Committee recommendations, with special emphasis on strategies to accelerate the adoption of proposed standards, or mitigate barriers, if any. The Implementation Workgroup is holding a public hearing on the topic of Adoption Experiences on Thursday, October 29, 2009, in Washington, DC. We have organized a series of panels to address the issue.

Sean is Chief Architect, Microsoft Health Solutions

Leon Katsnelson’s Spreading the word about DB2 on the Cloud of 10/26/2009 begins:

Every year around this time of the year great masses of IT people come to the Mandalay Bay Hotel And Conference center to attend IBM’s Information On Demand (IOD) Conference. It is a good place to learn the latest and greatest and to network. This year is the first year we have a significant Cloud Computing content on the agenda at the conference. If you are at the conference you really need to check it out.

If your interest is in DB2 on the Cloud, I will be doing these sessions (in chronological order):

  1. Monday 6:00 – 8:00 Meet the Experts – that would be me, Leon Katsnelson
  2. Tuesday 5:30 – 6:00 in the Expo Hall. I will be presenting a 30 minute informal session. I am thinking of focusing on using the Cloud for Development and Test (red hot area right now) but I can change the subject depending on what the audience wants to hear
  3. Wednesday 2:15 – 3:15 – North Convention Center Islander H: Deploying IBM Databases on the Cloud with Amazon EC2
  4. Wednesday 4:45 – 5:45 – North Convention South Pacific F: Databases and Cloud Computing Panel. Food, drink and prizes. This one is a must.

The conference runs from 10/25 to 10/29/2009, so you’ve already missed Leon’s Monday session.

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

••• Tom Johansmeyer’s Cisco and EMC link up in the clouds post of 11/1/2009 begins:

Neither company is saying a thing yet, but word is Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and EMC (NYSE: EMC) are joining up to sell a new collection of products designed to deliver cloud computing capabilities, Reuters reports. Called vBlock, the cloud solution is intended to help the companies compete more effectively with IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ).

The partnership, which no one is admitting to, involves a joint venture between Cisco and EMC that will sell vBlock. The former will supply the networking equipment and servers, with the latter kicking in the storage gear and virtualization technology through its VMWare (NYSE: VMW) subsidiary. The joint venture will put the systems together, integrate the components for clients, and make the whole pile of cables and silicon work. A formal announcement is expected next week. …

The post date is Sunday, so does Tom mean “this week,” not “next week?”

Allan Leinwand of Panorama Capital asks It’s Cloudy, But When Will It Rain? in this 11/1/2009 post to GigaOm about venture capitalists’ expectations from cloud-computing startups:

The innovation coming out of the cloud computing market has, in many ways, made infrastructure startups interesting to venture capitalists again. Despite our excitement over the potential of cloud computing to transform IT, however, weighing on the minds of many in the VC community is what sort of time frame we should expect for exits. To put it more bluntly, we want to know when it’s going to rain — when VC investments in cloud computing will result in acquisitions or even an IPO.

The hype surrounding cloud computing is creating upward pressure for the industry to produce rainmakers.  And there are a lot of cloud startups forming — at Panorama, I see a venture funding pitch from at least 10 new startups every week, at least half of which are cloud startups working in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) spaces. …

Rich Miller delivers an Interactive Tour: Cisco’s Flagship Data Center from this 10/27/2009 post:


Cisco Systems provides an inside look at the design and construction of its flagship data center in Richardson, Texas in a cool interactive presentation using a 3-D cross-section of the facility as the menu for an extensive gallery of videos and images. It features presentations about each section of the data center, along with videos from architect Andy Broer, facilities manager Aaron Allen, and a look at Cisco’s global data center strategy from vice president John Manville.

Cisco spent $80 million to retool an unused office building on its Richardson campus as a Tier II data center (with Tier IV power infrastructure) to support the consolidation of its global network. …

Reuters reports Pervasive Software Launches Elastic Pervasive DataCloud® 2, Delivering On-Demand, Instantly Scalable Data Services in this 10/27/2009 press release:

Pervasive Software Inc. … today announced the release of Pervasive DataCloud 2. Already in production delivering prepackaged integrations, enhanced analytics and SaaS data profiling, Pervasive DataCloud now offers an API to allow any cloud developer, including Amazon Web Services, and Azure developers, to seamlessly deliver and/or consume robust data services. [Emphasis added.]

More than 150 Pervasive DataSolutions customers are now using integrations hosted on Pervasive DataCloud, making Pervasive a growing force in Cloud-based integration. In addition, Aha! Software and Pervasive recently launched Strato-Studio, giving users access to Aha!`s on-demand Monte Carlo simulation using the highly parallel Pervasive DataRush engine running on Pervasive DataCloud. …

Andy Schroepfer asks On Second Thought…How Big Is AWS Really? and then attempts to answer with a detailed projection of Amazon’s Web Services revenue over its life.

Andy is Vice President of Strategy at Rackspace.

See the SQL Azure Database (SADB) section above for articles about Amazon Web Service’s Relational Database Service (RDS).

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