Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Windows Azure and Cloud Computing Posts for 12/21/2009+

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

• Update 12/23/2008: Microsoft Events: Tech*Ed 2008 Tracks and Content Topics; Windows Azure Platform AppFabric Team: The Windows Azure platform AppFabric December 2009 Release is Live 

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; these chapters will be updated for the November CTP in January 2010. 
* Content for managing DataHubs will be added as Microsoft releases more details on data synchronization services for SQL Azure and Windows Azure.

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

Azure Blob, Table and Queue Services

Tom explains the mysterious There is not enough space on the disk message you or your site’s users receive when uploading files greater than 100 MB in size with the ASP.NET FileUpload control in this 12/21/2009 post:

… There are a few ways that you can work around this issue.  The best solution would be to use Silverlight to handle the upload instead of the ASP.NET FileUpload control.  By using Silverlight, you can have the client directly upload the file to blob storage and reduce how many places the file gets copied.

There are also some 3rd party controls that you can use to do this as well. …

This appears to be the first userful post to Tom’s Azure Support Team blog. Subscribed.

Rob Gillen explores a problem uploading both large (1.5-GB) and small (92.5-MB) blobs in 4-MB blocks to Azure Storage Services on 12/18/2009 in his Time to do some digging… post of 12/21/2009:

I’ve been getting my test harness and reporting tools setup for some performance baselining that I’m doing relative to cloud computing providers and when I left the office on Friday I set off a test that was uploading a collection of binary files (NetCDF files if you care) to an Azure container. I was doing nothing fancy… looping through a directory, for each file found, upload to the container using the defaults for BlobBlock and then record the duration (start/finish) for that file and the file size. The source directory contained 144 files representing roughly 58 GB of data. 32 of the files were roughly 1.5 GB each and the remainder were about 92.5 MB.

I came in this morning expecting to find the script long finished with some numbers to start looking at. Instead, what I found is that, after uploading some 70 files (almost 15 GB), every subsequent upload attempt failed with a timeout error – stating that the operation couldn’t be completed in the default 90-second time window. …

Rob continues with a detailed analysis, which pointed to the default 4-MB block size as the problem. Reducing the blob block size to 256 kB restored upload capability on 12/21/2009, but at a dramatically slower than usual rate.

In a comment to Rob’s post, I mentioned My Windows Azure Table Test Harness App Was Down for 02 Hours and 30 - 40 Minutes Yesterday, which links to an Azure forum thread by Microsoft’s Steve Marx reporting that the South Central US data center had been having problems with processing Azure queues and blobs/tables were affected for some users. The times don’t correspond, but the two issues might be related.

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SQL Azure Database (SADB, formerly SDS and SSDS)

André van de Graaf provides yet another illustrated guided tour to Getting Started with SQL Azure, create your first SQL database in the cloud on 12/22/2009:

Microsoft® SQL Azure™ Database is a cloud-based relational database service built on SQL Server® technologies. … Therefore, I started creating a SQL Azure database in the cloud to see the current status of the cloud-based relational database service.

Buck Woody’s Monitoring SQL Azure For Performance post of 12/22/2009 observes:

In SQL Server Azure, there are no Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) or Performance Monitor Objects and Counters that you can access, so you can’t run your standard performance monitoring that way. I suspect that as time goes on, SQL Azure will have some instrumentation, but for the time being, you’ll have to go with a different metric – round trip throughput.

What I mean by that is you’ll need to measure the start of a transaction and it’s completion. In the end, this is the only metric that matters anyway, but it is helpful to know what to fix – and this metric doesn’t help you with that.

What’s been working for me is to develop my queries locally using all my tricks and tools, and then post those up to SQL Azure. While it’s not a one-to-one map, it does seem to fit the bill for now. I’ll keep you posted.

Cihan Biyikoglu promises to start blogging after a two-year hiatus in his Feels good to be back post of 12/22/2009:

Hi folks, I am back and blogging again about my new cause. Your data in the cloud with SQL Azure.

Here is what I have been up to the last few years; HealthVault. A health information database for the consumers and closely followed developments on the Azure side. We shipped the first beta back in 2007 and shipped the production release in 2009. HealthVault certainly changed the way I maintain and share my health information and I think it will change yours too. Especially with support for digital signatures (here is the presentation I did at the Connected Health Conference 09) and the recent support for large healthcare data like X-Rays and MRIs.

SQL Azure has been on my watch list the last few years and finally made the leap back to my native land – SQL Server. I spent some time at PDC 09 this year and the interest for SQL Azure and the rest of the Azure stack is phenomenal. Finally there is a good excuse to start blogging again. Expect to see programmability techniques and best practices for SQL Azure. [Emphasis added.] …


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AppFabric: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow

• The Windows Azure Platform AppFabric (nee .NET Services) Team announces The Windows Azure platform AppFabric December 2009 Release is Live on 12/22/2009:

The Windows Azure platform AppFabric December release is live as of December 18th 2009.  This release includes improvements in stability, scale, and performance. Please refer to the release notes for a complete list of the breaking changes in this release. You are encouraged to visit the AppFabric portal to retrieve the latest copy of the SDK.

Be sure to read the Release Notes before attempting to run the sample applications. There are yet more breaking changes.

Eugenio Pace’s Updated code samples & chapters for Claims Identity Guide – Release Candidate post of 12/21/2009 announces:

In synch with the availability of ADFS V2.0 Release Candidate, I’m very happy to announce that we are posting a new update of the guide. Our own “RC”.

You’ll find new samples and new chapters. Both content complete now.

We are now covering the following scenarios:

  1. Single Sign on for web applications: one company, 2 applications, before and after claims
  2. Windows Azure: an extension of scenario 1, this shows how to host a web application in Windows Azure and keeping SSO experience.
  3. Simple federation sample: 2 companies collaborating. SSO across different security realms.
  4. Federation with multiple partners: demonstrates an application with multiple federation relationships. It also shows WIF and MVC.
  5. Web Services: this is essentially scenario #3, but using WCF and a WPF smart client.

The samples are packaged now as a self-extractable zip file and includes a dependency checking tool that will help you identify, install and configure all pre-requisites:


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Live Windows Azure Apps, Tools and Test Harnesses

• Lynn Langit (@llangit, a.k.a. SoCalDevGal) recently posted a sample Windows Azure application that connects to the AdventureWorksLT database running in an SQL Azure instance:

This is a sample application which connects to SQL Azure, queries and displays the query result using a ASP.NET application.

In this example, the ASP.NET application is hosted in Windows Azure. It is NOT a requirement when using SQL Azure that the 'front-end' be hosted in Windows Azure, for example the front-end could be hosted by an ISP (public website), or on-premise (intranet) scenario.

The sample database used in this application is a version of AdventureWorksLT (available on CodePlex at which is compatible with the SQL Server features which are supported by SQL Azure.  To learn more about how I wrote and published this simple application to the Azure Platform, including details on which SQL Server RDMS features are supported in SQL Azure (and which features are not), see my blog

The BizSpark team launched the new StartUp Zone, “The guide to working with Microsoft for software startups and their investors” as a stealth portal in about mid-December. The team wants startups to:

Join Microsoft® BizSpark™

  • Get current full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses
  • No upfront costs and minimal requirements
  • Get support, training and marketing visibility
  • Get guidance and mentorship from Network Partners

Learn more

It’s an impressive site.

Mike Amundsen’s The Path to HTTP/REST Mastery of 12/22/2009 delivers a list of what it takes to demonstrate Black-Belt RESTMaster prowess:

[W]ant to be known as an HTTP/REST guru? [R]eady to step onto the path of HTTP/REST mastery? [H]ere's my list of things you should have already done, be doing now, or be preparing to do in the near future. [I]f you've got this list taken care of (not just 'covered', but really nailed) then [I]'d consider you eligible for the title of HTTP/REST Master. [Emphasis Mike’s.]

Mike is one of the technical editors of Cloud Computing with the Windows Azure Platform and is a contributor to Subbu Allamaraju’s forthcoming RESTful Web Services Cookbook, which is scheduled to hit the bookstores in March 2010.

Subbu Allamaraju deals with the issue of whether the use of custom media types is RESTful in his Media Types, Plumbing and Democracy post of 12/22/2009. He concludes:

So what is the right thing to do? Here is my democratic approach.

  • If the sender is formatting representations using standard extensible formats such as XML or JSON, use standard media types such as application/xml and application/json.
  • Mint new media types when you invent new formats.
  • If you are just looking for a way to communicate application level semantics for XML and JSON messages, use something else (e.g. XML namespaces and conventions).
  • If the goal is versioning, use version identifiers in URIs.

(For those not clear about the difference between a format and a media type, a media type is an identifier for a format.)

Gladinet announced the capability to Backup Music to Microsoft Windows Azure with Gladinet Cloud Desktop v1.4.2 on 12/21/2009:

Gladinet Cloud Desktop v1.4.2 includes the capability to define file type based backup sets. This gives users the ability to easily backup their music to Microsoft Windows Azure. As shown below, the user interface is very easy to use.

First, select “Backup My Music” from Gladinet Cloud Desktop’s systray menu.


After doing this, a backup wizard will appear. The first page allows selection of a name for the backup task and the included extensions. It also allows the addition of additional file types. …


Other Gladinet posts of the same date describe backing up additional file types to Azure blobs:

Krishnan Subramanian’s Healthcare And Cloud Computing post of 12/21/2009 begins:

I am a strong proponent of tapping into the Cloud to solve healthcare problems. Both myself and Zoli, at different instances, have written about Cloud based healthcare initiatives by Google and Microsoft in this blog. Even though the progress on both Google Health and Microsoft Healthvault services are disturbingly slow, we need the big players to step in along with the government to accelerate the use of cloud computing in the healthcare. …

David Aiken shows you How to Create a x509 Certificate for the Windows Azure Management API in this step-by-step tutorial of 12/21/2009.

Jim O’Neil completes his “Discovering ‘Dallas’” series with Discovering Dallas: Part 3 of 12/21/2009:

This is the final post of a trifecta examining Microsoft “Dallas”, a marketplace for data services announced at PDC 2009.  In my first post, I provided an overview of “Dallas”, including how to access various trial data services via the developer portal and in code. 

I followed that up last week with a post that walks through modifying the auto-generated C# service proxy classes to provide asynchronous invocation capabilities, a must have for Silverlight client access and, in general, a good way to go to keep your application UI responsive in the face of slow or unpredictable network performance.

For this article, I’m going to leverage the code changes I made in the last article (to enable asynchronous access) to build a Silverlight application that accesses the same crime statistics that the previous Windows Forms application did.  As I mentioned in that post, Silverlight has two primary constraints in terms of accessing resources and services over the web:

  • Access must be asynchronous, and
  • Resources must be accessed from the point-of-origin of the Silverlight application (although there are options we’ll discuss next for working around this). …

Soyatec published its Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse site to the Web on 12/22/2009 (or possibly earlier) with the following overview:

The Windows Azure platform offers an intuitive, reliable and powerful platform for the creation of web applications and services. The Windows Azure platform is comprised of Windows Azure: an operating system as a service; SQL Azure: a fully relational database in the cloud; and .NET Services: consumable web-based services that provide both secure connectivity and federated access control for applications.

The purpose of this project is the creation of a feature- rich open source PHP application development environment in Eclipse that enables  development and deployment of PHP applications for Windows Azure.  The windowsazure4e plug-in builds upon the PHP Development Toolkit (PDT) and integrates Web Tools Platform (WTP) to provide a complete toolkit for Windows Azure Web Application development.

The windowsazure4e extensions offers an end-to-end Windows Azure development experience, including:

  • Project Creation & Migration: The New Project Wizard creates a new PHP Web Application targeting Windows Azure. Existing PHP projects can be converted to Windows Azure projects (or vice-versa) using the migration tool.
  • Azure Project Structure & Management: The windowsazure4e plug-in creates the project artifacts that Windows Azure expects, including a Windows Azure Service project and a Web-role Project, as well as Windows Azure configuration and definition files. Project and Windows Azure settings are exposed via the properties window in Eclipse
  • Storage Explorer: As part of the plug-in, a Windows Azure Storage Explorer is provided within the Eclipse environment. The Storage Explorer allows easy management of Windows Azure Storage Accounts. In addition, it also provides a friendly user-interface for performing Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations on Blobs, Queues, and Tables. The Storage Explorer it built using the Windows Azure SDK for JavaTM.
  • Azure Project Deployment: Once the PHP application for Windows Azure had been developed and tested locally on the Windows Azure Development Fabric, the application can be packaged up for Windows Azure deployment with a right-clicking on the target project from within Eclipse.

The team promises to start a blog shortly.

Ben Riga continues his Windows Azure Lessons Learned video series with a Windows Azure Lessons Learned: Invensys post of 12/21/2009:

In this episode of Windows Azure Lessons Learned I chat with Paul Forney, System Architect for Invensys and Aleksey Savateyev, Senior Architect in Microsoft’s Global ISV group working with Invensys.  Invensys is well known for industrial automation and control systems.  They’ve been working to develop a system for the power industry to manage the large network of smart meters that will be used to build out smart grids delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers.  To do this Invensys is using Windows Azure AppFabric (formerly called “.NET Services”).  The AppFabric Service Bus is the magic that allows this type of application.  It allows those meters not only to connect across the cloud to on-premises systems but also does it a way that can scale to the millions of homes and businesses that will form the smart grids.

Channel 9: Windows Azure Lessons Learned: Invensys

and Windows Azure Lessons Learned: GoGrid of 12/22/2009:

One question that is often asked is how hosters can benefit from the Windows Azure Platform.  While the platform can be used to deploy many types of web apps we expect many partners including hosters to develop on top of the Windows Azure platform infrastructure.  In this episode of Azure Lessons Learned I chat with Paul Lappas, VP Engineering at GoGrid and Mehul Shah and Madhavrao Pachupate from Blue Star Infotech.  GoGrid has been working on a hybrid solution that builds on the GoGrid infrastructure to assist in development and load testing of Windows Azure applications.

For more information on the GoGrid solution for Windows Azure have a look here:

Channel9: Windows Azure Lessons Learned: GoGrid

Matt Kerner posted the sample code from his Windows Azure Monitoring, Logging, and Management APIs PDC 2009 session (SVC15) to the Windows Azure Diagnostics, Logging and Monitoring CodePlex site on 12/18/2009:

This code sample demonstrates Windows Azure Diagnostics, the framework in the WA SDK that allows service developers to scalably control and gather standard Windows and .Net instrumentation data from their roles running in the cloud. These samples were demonstrated at PDC 2009 in the SVC 15 talk:

There are four samples posted on the "Downloads" tab:

  1. Windows Azure Diagnostics Controller - this is a command-line application to be run from your desktop that allows you to retrieve the diagnostic configuration of role instances running in the Windows Azure cloud. It also allows you to initiate an on-demand transfer of diagnostic data to Windows Azure Storage from your role instances in the cloud.
  2. Windows Azure Diagnostics Demo - this is a sample website that integrates the Windows Azure Diagnostic Monitor. It buffers data locally and can also be configured to transfer the data to Windows Azure storage on-demand, or on a scheduled basis.
  3. Windows Azure Diagnostics Hello World - this is a very simple sample website that integrates with the Windows Azure Diagnostic Monitor
  4. Windows Azure Sample Tracing Library - these tracing routines make it easy to dump the Windows Azure Diagnostic Monitor configuration to the console. …

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Windows Azure Infrastructure

• Eric Nelson ponders Multi-tenanted applications on Windows Azure and SQL Azure – added to my todo list for 2010 in this 12/23/2009 post:

Back when I was an Application Architect working with UK ISVs I spent a lot of time helping companies understand how to architect multi-tenanted applications. However, I have never pondered about the challenges (and opportunities) of doing this with Windows Azure and SQL Azure. Until now.

What sparked it off was a fairly simple question from a UK ISV that I ended up copied on.

The question in essence was: “What is the recommended approach to building a multi-tenancy solution on Windows Azure and SQL Azure in relation to domains, IP addresses and https certificates for each customer”

I thought there would be a lot of public information on this – but after a 30 minute search I was surprised to find relatively little on this area. …

Eric continues with a list of recent resources for writing multi-tenanted Windows Azure applications and concludes:

… It is worth mentioning that “Azure v1” was not designed to specifically support building multi-tenanted applications. Hence potentially there are easier ways to build multi-tenanted applications than by leveraging Windows Azure. Check out SaaSGrid for one such example. SaaSGrid lets you utilize Microsoft .NET languages to write code and provides a slim, simple yet very powerful API layer that allows the application to interact with SaaSGrid in certain explicit ways.

The final upshot of the above is… I have added this topic to my “things to understand in 2010” list :-)

• Bruce Guptil and Charlie Burns assert Cloud IT Being Approached as “Mainstream” IT in this 12/23/2009 Research Alert for Saugatuck Research (site registration required):

Regardless of their size, industry, or geographic location, the latest Saugatuck research report indicates that the vast majority are approaching Cloud Computing, especially the acquisition and use of Cloud infrastructure solutions, in the same manners as they would any other form or type of IT.

The approaches to Cloud services consideration, acquisition, and management, including expectations of benefits and use, mirror those of traditional forms of IT.
For Saugatuck, this is strong support for our position that Cloud-based IT is well on its way to becoming a regular, component of “mainstream” IT and business strategy and management. It also indicates a significant gap between user executives’ perceptions of Cloud adoption and use, and the realities of Cloud effects and costs on user enterprises.

The first of two critical studies from Saugatuck using this research is being released this week to clients of our premium subscription Continuous Research Service (CRS) (please see Note 1). …

Bruce and Charlie continue by fleshing out their assertion in detail.

The Windows Azure Platform Team confirmed their Windows Azure Platform CTP Upgrade Path in a 12/23/2009 email to Windows Azure and SQL Azure token holders. The only information that was new to me is emphasized in bold below:

During the first week of January 2010, you will receive an email to this account with detailed upgrade instructions. You will then have until January 31, 2010 to upgrade. If you elect not to upgrade, on February 1, 2010 your CTP account(s) will be disabled and any Windows Azure Storage will be made read-only. SQL Azure CTP accounts will be able to keep using their existing databases but will no longer be able to create new databases. On March 1, 2010, the SQL Azure CTP accounts that have not been upgraded will be deleted. On April 1, 2010, the Windows Azure Storage CTP accounts that have not been upgraded will be deleted. It is important to export your data if you do not plan to upgrade to a commercial subscription prior to these dates.

If you have any questions regarding the upgrade process, please feel free to contact customer support. If you are participating in the Microsoft Codename "Dallas" CTP, your service remains in CTP and is not impacted by this announcement.

• John Willis (@botchagalupe) presents The 2009 Cloudies Awards on 12/23/2009:

This is the second year of the “Cloudies” award and still only one judge (me).  However, there are things in the works to make the “Cloudies” a more official and non-tongue-n-cheek next year.  I did solicit some tweets this year for awards. Please don’t be offended if you are not in this list.  This list represents my radar and is somewhat of a goof.  I  am a one man show and not a global organization.  If you don’t agree with me please post a comment and if you have a good argument I will create an updated post. …

I agree with John’s choice of Chris Hoff (@Beaker) as Cloud Hero of 2009 (see And the 2009 Cloudie Award Goes To… ), but not his failure to give Windows Azure at least one pick in his numerous categories.

John anoints Lori MacVittie with the “Rookie of the year” award. See Lori’s paen to @Beaker in the Cloud Security and Governance section.

Randy Bias explains How Clouds Enable Global Reach in this 12/19/2009 post:

Over a year and a half ago, I mentioned that there were four key aspects to cloud computing: scalability, leverage, speed, and reach.  All of these still hold true today.  In particular, the one area that was underdeveloped was the notion of using clouds for global reach.

As you know, since then quite a bit has changed.  Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud crossed the Atlantic to Europe, EC2 opened up a U.S. West Coast presence, AWS also recently pre-announced their Asian expansion, and a number of other clouds sprung up across the globe, including a very strong new Australian entrant, Cloud Central.[1]

All of this goes to show that my prediction around the importance of reach in cloud computing is coming true.  One of the examples that brings this home that I enjoy talking about is Friendster.

Erick Knorr asserts “A lot of people scratched their heads over cloud computing this year. Here are the answers to the most persistent questions” in his Five big questions about cloud computing post of 12/22/2009 from InfoWorld to NetworkWorld:

    1. What defines a cloud service? …
    2. Is there such a thing as a private cloud? …
    3. Will cloud services replace the Microsoft desktop? …
    4. Do cloud services mean the end of IT as we know it? …
    5. Does the cloud really enable anything new? …

Michael Coté’s A little something extra… topic from his Links for December 18th through December 22nd post asserts:

Several people have asked us recently about Microsoft Azure and Microsoft’s cloud strategy. A little while ago, James Governor pointed out that Microsoft seemed to have been trying to figure out who in Microsoft would “own” cloud computing. And it seemed, James said, that Bob Muglia’s group ended up with it. As your little something extra today, here’s a recent response along those lines I sent to a reporter asking after Microsoft and cloud:

“Microsoft is well positioned with Azure. Now that the internal decision process of where cloud should reside has been resolved (in Bob Muglia’s Server and Tools Business), there’s less distraction in figuring out if Microsoft’s answer to the cloud will be consumer-centric (more the Ray Ozzie line of thought) and business centric.

“Muglia’s group has done well executing of late, and they seem to have clamped down old school Microsoft style on Azure. They identified their core strength – millions of “Microsoft developers” – and have delivered a cloud offering along those lines – a platform as a service, a development platform.

“This differentiates Microsoft’s cloud offering from Amazon (which is purely at the infrastructure, operations, “build it yourself” level), Salesforces (tailored more towards ERP and application extensions), and Google’s (not too business oriented). Others like IBM and HP are more interesting in tooling private clouds, where as Microsoft seems very keen on delivering a new way for general software developers to deliver applications over the public Internet.

“For more on Azure, check out the three interviews I did with Microsofties on the topic back at MIX 2009.”

Michael is an industry analyst with RedMonk.

Paul Thurott asserts “Cloud computing will likely be the defining topic of 2010” in his 2010: More of the Same ... But in a Good Way post of 12/22/2009 to the Windows IT Pro blog:

… Cloud computing will likely be the defining topic of 2010 as well, with Microsoft finally unleashing is Windows Azure services and the long-awaited Office Web Applications. Meanwhile, previously released products, such as the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which repositions traditional servers like Exchange and SharePoint as cloud services, will continue to grow—and grow dramatically. This is a huge and important shift in Microsoft's focus and I expect it to pay off big time in the coming year. …

R “Ray” Wang recommends that you “Keep In Mind Basic Rules Still Apply Regardless Of Deployment Option” in his Tuesday’s Tip: 10 Cloud and SaaS Apps Strategies For 2010 post of 12/22/2009 to the SoftwareInsider blog:

The proliferation of SaaS solutions provides organizations with a myriad of sorely needed point and disruptive solutions.  Good news - business users can rapidly procure and deploy, while innovating with minimal budget and IT team constraints.  Bad news - users must depend more on their SLA guarantees and deal with a potential integration nightmare of hundreds if not thousands of potential SaaS apps.  Though the 7 key benefits of SaaS outweigh most downside risks, organizations must design their SaaS apps strategies with the same rigor as any apps strategy.  Just because deployment options have changed, this does not mean basic apps strategy is thrown out the window.  Concepts such as SOA, business process orchestration, and enterprise architecture will be more important than ever.

Ray continues with “10 strategies to consider as organizations take SaaS mainstream.”

John Fontana claims “For Microsoft, 2010 is a critical year for its cloud computing platform” in his Microsoft's 2010 task: Make the cloud clear post of 12/21/2009 to NetworkWorld:

For Microsoft, 2010 is a platform building and marketing year with no less than the future success of its cloud strategy hanging in the balance, according to observers.

Experts say Microsoft's charge is not only to begin developing and delivering technology that will define its external, internal and hybrid cloud environments, but to clearly articulate to an overwhelming majority of corporate IT pros just how and why they want to live in a cloud.

"In terms of the cloud, it is important for Microsoft to be on the right trajectory, it's not necessarily important to their business from a revenue standpoint to capture lots of revenue out of cloud in the next 24 months," says Al Gillen, program vice president for system software at IDC. "But if they don't get in line to compete, they put themselves at a significant risk of being not there when real money starts to get spent in this space."

Lining up that trajectory will dominate 2010, as Microsoft clearly has work to do across its product line to define the cloud as part of its software-plus-services and three-screens-and-a-cloud strategies.

"Our initial focus was to make it as easy for the new applications coming in [to the cloud]," said Amitabh Srivastava, senior vice president of Microsoft's new Server and Cloud division, referring to the work he has overseen on the Azure cloud platform. Srivastava, who spoke to Network World at Microsoft's November PDC conference said, "The shift you are seeing now is where our head is going. And one place is to go after legacy apps, we have to move those to the cloud." …

@Colinizer’s Azure Platform Billing On-Ramp post of 12/22/2009 reports:

Here’s the timeline for the ramp-up of Azure Platform Services billing:

  • Jan 4, 2010 – CTP accounts can be upgraded to commercial accounts …
  • Feb 1, 2010 – Billing starts for upgraded accounts and non-upgraded accounts are disabled with Windows Azure Storage going read-only and no new database creation in SQL Azure. 
  • Mar 1, 2010 – non-upgraded SQL Azure databases will be deleted
  • Apr 1, 2010 – non-upgraded Windows Azure Storage will be deleted …

Bruce D. Kyle let’s you Take a Tour of Data Center in a Container in this video posted 12/22/2009:

Frank Arrigo takes you on a tour of what the cloud physically looks like by walking you through a container that was shown at Professional Developers Conference (PDC09). The container is similar to one that is placed in data centers that host your Windows Azure applications.

James Urquhart recommends Seven [SaaS and cloud-related] businesses to look out for in 2010 in a 12/21/2009 update to a 1/1/2008 post:

In January of 2008, dreading the idea of a cliche "prediction" post, I wrote a post that attempted to somewhat humorously outline seven businesses that would result from the then nascent cloud computing movement. As I look back at that post this year, I'm surprised to find myself thinking that most--if not all--of these should appear in one form or another in the coming year. …

He follows with an “updated commentary from this year in italics.”

Michael Krigsman offers Three success predictions for 2010 on 12/21/2009. The first of the three is:

1. The cloud grows bigger and implementation innovation becomes more important

Cloud implementations offer the potential for simpler, smaller deployments with shorter cycle times and reduced risk.

A significant part of the risk reduction associated with on-demand software occurs because the scope of these deployments tends to be smaller than full-blown on-premise implementations. In that sense, a simple cloud / on-premise cost comparison isn’t fair. For example, a basic CRM implementation will naturally be faster than an SAP ERP deployment.

Nonetheless, cloud software can pull time and effort from customer implementations, leading to lower cost and risk. I disagree with those who think the cloud is pure panacea — it’s not — but when a vendor’s software as a service (SaaS) offering matches customer needs, the results can be great.

This trend will accelerate through 2010 and beyond, forcing established enterprise software and services firms to figure out innovative ways to improve implementations. …

This prediction bodes well for Windows Azure and SQL Azure, which exhibit considerable “implementation innovation” and ease of use, especially for .NET developers.

Steve Clayton’s Windows Azure for Microsoft Partners post of 12/21/2009 provides a comprehensive list of Windows Azure and SQL Azure resources of interest to members of the Microsoft Partner Network in the following categories:

    • Business Content …
    • Technical Content …
    • Architectural Content …
    • Developer Content …

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Cloud Security and Governance

Lori MacVittie prefaces her ‘Twas Two Weeks Past (Cloud) Deployment poem of 12/23/2009 with “Here comes St. [@]Beaker and Santa Cloud …”:

‘Twas two weeks past deployment and all through the house
Echoed taps on a keyboard and clicks from a mouse
The apps were all running inside VMware
In hopes compute resources soon would they share.

The dashboard showed statuses green and not red
our admins had thoughts of going home in their heads
The director was ready to it a wrap
and I began thinking I'd soon take a nap.

When all of a sudden our illusions did shatter
I called up a console to see what was the matter
On the keyboard my fingers they flew like a flash
To open a terminal and the shell they call bash …

Is there a word that corresponds to “doggerel” for squirrels?

Lori received John Willis’s “Rookie of the year” Cloudies award on 12/23/2009. See the Cloud Security and Governance section.

Scott Morrison’s Cloud Security Alliance Guidance v2 Released post of 12/23/2009 summarizes v2.1’s domains:

Last week, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released its Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing V2.1. This is a follow-on to first guidance document released only last April, which, gives you a sense of the speed at which cloud technology and techniques are moving. I was one of the contributors to this project.

The guidance explores the issues in cloud security from the perspective of 13 different domains:

Cloud Architecture

  • Domain 1: Cloud Computing Architectural Framework

Governing in the Cloud

  • Domain 2: Governance and Enterprise Risk Management
  • Domain 3: Legal and Electronic Discovery
  • Domain 4: Compliance and Audit
  • Domain 5: Information Lifecycle Management
  • Domain 6: Portability and Interoperability

Operating in the Cloud

  • Domain 7: Traditional Security, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery
  • Domain 8: Data Center Operations
  • Domain 9: Incident Response, Notification, and Remediation
  • Domain 10: Application Security
  • Domain 11: Encryption and Key Management
  • Domain 12: Identity and Access Management
  • Domain 13: Virtualization

I thought the domain classification was quite good because it serves to remind people that technology is only a small part of a cloud security strategy. I know that’s become a terrible security cliche, but there’s a difference between saying this and understanding what it really means. The CSA domain structure–even without the benefits of the guidance–at least serves as a concrete reminder of what’s behind the slogan.

Have a close look at the guidance.  Read it; think about it; disagree with it; change it–but in the end, make it your own. Then share your experiences with the community. The guidance is an evolving document that is a product of a collective, volunteer effort. It’s less political than a conventional standards effort (look though the contributors and you will find individuals, not companies). The group can move fast, and it doesn’t need to be proscriptive like a standard–it’s more a distillation of considerations and best practices. This one is worth tracking.

I agree.

Chris Hoff (@Beaker)’s 2010 – It’s Time for Security Resolutions Not Predictions… post of 12/21/2009 begins:

November and December usually signal the onslaught of security predictions for the coming year. They’re usually focused on the negative.

I’ve done these a couple of times and while I find the mental exercise interesting, it really doesn’t result in anything, well, actionable.

So, this year I’m going to state what I am *going* to do rather than what I think others *might.*  I’ve spent the last couple of years talking about the challenges, now it’s time to focus on the solutions. …

@Beaker continues with a list of security-related 10 resolutions for 2010.

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Cloud Computing Events

Microsoft Events has published Tech*Ed 2008 Tracks, which includes a Cloud Computing and Online Services (COS) track, and Tech*Ed 2008 Call for Content Topics (PDF), which includes a Windows Azure AppFabric topic in the Application Integration (AIN) track and Microsoft SQL Azure topic in the Database Platform (DAT) track. Here’s a link to the Call for Contents page, which doesn’t include a Windows Azure [Platform] topic.

Use the code RSVP10-ARC to sign in to the call for Topics, as recommended by the Tech*Ed North America 2010 - Architecture Track Call for Content page; I found RSVP10-COS also works.

Either there isn’t any interest in Windows Azure topics or the @TechEd_NA team doesn’t want Windows Azure topics presented by independent developers or software vendors. Looks like the birth of another Epic #FAIL to me.

The good news is that Tech*Ed has returned to New Orleans which means the my wife and I can enjoy another stay at the Omni Royal New Orleans and the food at Gallatoire’s, et al.

Andre Leibovici announces Second CloudCamp Sydney confirmed in a 12/22/2009 post:

The second CloudCamp Sydney has been confirmed March 4th, 2010.

I had the opportunity to go to the first event and that’s when I learned about the unconference panel. CloudCamp is by nature an unconference and there are no specific subjects to discuss, no key notes and no presenters. The attendees are part of the discussion and are responsible for deciding the themes to be discussed.

The discussion points for this CloudCamp? Nobody knows… it will be decided there, but one thing I’m sure – It will be about clouds! Visit the official registration site and see you there!

Also checkout CloudCamp Sydney from August 2009.

Sys-Con Events announced Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers Extended to January 15, 2010 in this 12/22/2009 post:

In response to massive demand, the world's largest Cloud event - the International Cloud Computing Expo series - is expanding its number of tracks and sessions for its upcoming New York event: 5th International Cloud Expo.

The deadline for the very popular Call for Papers, which resulted in a greater deluge of submissions than ever seen before, is being extended to the other side of the holiday period - to January 15, 2010.

Additionally, SYS-CON Events announces the addition of additional tracks, additional session slots, and a general all-round expansion of the program in line with the expectations and needs of the 5,000 delegates who are expected to register for the event.

Greg WillisLaunching Windows Azure in Australia post of 12/21/2009 announces:

I’m very pleased to share that we will be holding a launch event for the Windows Azure Platform in Australia on February 23rd 2010 in Sydney.  We are also planning a local roadshow around this date, including a stop in Melbourne on February 25th.

Full details forthcoming soon, including our visiting speakers – watch this space.  In the meantime save the date in your diaries!

Commercial availability of Windows Azure in Australia is planned for the March 2010 timeframe as detailed in the official Azure FAQ.   One of the great things for Australian developers about being in the second launch wave is that we get a few extra months of free local access to the full Community Technology Preview platform so go and get started and let us know what you create!

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Other Cloud Computing Platforms and Services

• Ellen Rubin lists “Holiday parties, snow, and new features from cloud providers” as Holiday Presents from the Cloud in her 12/23/2009 post, which analyzes Amazon Web Services’ latest upgrades and concludes:

… The news from Amazon comes on top of what was already an outstanding year for cloud computing with major announcements from many key players, including: IBM software running in the cloud, new VMware-based public clouds, reduced pricing for servers and storage in the cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure gaining momentum. Each of the cloud providers is growing and maturing its cloud offerings, and we are reaching a tipping point where there are multiple clouds with sufficient features to support enterprise workloads. Get ready for 2010—it’s going to be an exciting year as large-scale enterprise cloud computing takes off. [Emphasis added.]

Pat Romanski reports “New solutions for developers to create and deliver software in both public and private cloud environments” in her IBM Introduces New Cloud Offerings post of 12/21/2009:

IBM announced new solutions for developers to create and deliver software in both public and private cloud environments.

  • IBM Rational Software Delivery Services for Cloud Computing include a set of ready-to-use application lifecycle management tools for developing and testing in the IBM Cloud, and use infrastructure management capabilities, to help organizations build software applications in the cloud. With these new services, clients can lower costs and respond quicker to organizational demands. For example, organizations can reduce the time it takes to provision a test environment from weeks to hours, and in some cases even minutes.
  • IBM Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud is a free public cloud beta for software development that provides compute and storage as a service, as well as Rational Software Delivery Services to help application developers and testers speed the development and delivery of software applications. IBM is inviting free and open participation at

Cliff Boulton’s IBM Preps for Cloud Computing War vs. Google, Microsoft in 2010 post of 12/21/2009 to eWeek’s Cloud Computing blog asserts:

IBM will ramp up its cloud computing efforts in the messaging and collaboration market in 2010, focusing on extending the security of on-premises solutions to its LotusLive SAAS offerings. From January through October, IBM launched LotusLive Engage, a broad social networking and collaboration platform; LotusLive Connections, a SAAS version of its social networking suite; and its LotusLive iNotes hosted mail solution. IBM will have more to say on its future cloud computing direction in January at Lotusphere 2010.

Customers and industry watchers can expect IBM to accelerate its cloud computing efforts into 2010 and beyond, investing at a rate that is commensurate to a $120 billion cloud computing market, an IBM executive told eWEEK. …

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