Tag Archives: Microsoft

Getting the clouds to rain (add value)


Certainly the vision of Windows Azure (aka “Red Dog”) and the Azure Services Platform is substantial. However, in order for Microsoft, its partners and customers to realize it, it must deliver business value.

Internal or external, cloud computing has to address a set of real business problems in order to become a relevant part of one’s development arsenal. Some business models are more closely aligned with the cloud than others. New business models will emerge.

I guess that the technology industry is tired of TLAs like MSP and ASP. In fact, it seems like FLAs like SaaS and PaaS are passé, too. Only five characters will do, and analogy has replaced acronym: cloud. :-)

During the keynotes this morning, Ray Ozzie suggested that cloud (or utility) computing is materially different than past innovations upon which it rests since it is focused on the externalization of IT and the critical requirement to scale-out.

According to Gartner, there are five trends driving companies like Microsoft and Google in their march toward cloud computing as follows:

  • Software as a service
  • Open-source technologies
  • Web 2.0 products, such as collaborative technologies, social networking and wikis
  • Consumerization of technology
  • Global class, a new way to deliver computing services

So I’m looking for content and discussion concerning cloud computing the addresses the following questions:

  • What are the API differences between this OS (Windows Azure) and a traditional Windows OS (e.g. Windows Server 2008)? What features/functions are unique to Azure (and why)?
  • What about composition in the cloud?
  • What about cross-app-in-the-cloud functionality (e.g. events and other synergies)?
  • What are the significant ISV/partner opportunities (e.g. platform level, application level and integrated solutions level) created by the “Azure ecosystem”?
  • What new issues arise in the cloud? Regulatory compliance cannot be compromised. Comingling of both live and backed-up data can pose concerns. “Premise matters” (eventually); so virtualization, geography, sovereignty, etc. can pose additional concerns. Etc. How does Azure address such concerns?

In a few minutes, I’ll be taking an initial “lap around” Azure, which should be interesting. Stay tuned…

Head in the clouds

It appears that a majority of what I plan to attend at this year’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is focused on cloud computing. Today, for example, I plan to attend the following sessions:

  1. Keynote – Ray Ozzie, Amitabh Srivastava, Bob Muglia and David Thompson
  2. A Lap around Windows Azure
  3. “Dublin” and .NET Services: Extending On-Premises Applications to the Cloud
  4. The Future of C#Anders Hejlsberg
  5. A Lap around the Azure Services PlatformJohn Shewchuk
  6. Developing and Deploying Your First Windows Azure Service

Well, I’m off to grab a seat for the keynote session. I’ll follow up with a post on what I expect to learn about cloud computing, next.

Update 10/28/2008: FWIW, here is the rest of my plans at PDC (besides networking, of course):

Day 2

  1. Keynote – Ray Ozzie et al
  2. Keynote – Don Box & Chris Anderson
  3. Live Services: What I Learned Building My First Mesh Application
  4. A Lap around “Oslo”
  5. Architecture of the .NET Services
  6. Windows Azure: Architecting & Managing Cloud Services

Day 3

  1. Keynote – Rick Rashid
  2. .NET Services: Connectivity, Messaging, Events, and Discovery with the Service Bus…or Panel: The Future of Programming Languages…or Parallel Programming for Managed Developers with the Next Version of Microsoft Visual Studio :-)
  3. Windows 7: Design Principles for Windows 7
  4. .NET Services: Logging, Diagnosing, and Troubleshooting Applications Running Live in the Cloud or Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability
  5. Windows Azure: Cloud Service Development Best Practices
  6. .NET Services: Access Control Service Drilldown

Day 4

  1. Microsoft .NET Framework: Declarative Programming Using XAML
  2. .NET Services: Messaging Services – Protocols, Protection, and How We Scale
  3. “Oslo”: Building Textual DSLs or Designing Your Application to Scale or Windows Azure: Programming in the Cloud
  4. An Introduction to Microsoft F# or .NET Services: Orchestrating Services and Business Processes Using Cloud-Based Workflow
  5. …or, instead of the regular session rhythm, there are 3-part symposia (e.g. on services [1], [2] and [3]…difficult choice…

Upcoming travel

This has been a light blogging month thus far; however, I suspect this is about to change due to the following events I’ll be traveling to during the rest of October:

  • EMC’s 2nd annual Innovation Conference (e.g. sample coverage of last year’s inaugural event: [1], [2], [3])
  • A follow-on EMC summit on next-generation collaboration
  • Microsoft PDC

I’ll do my best to blog what I can. Cheers…

WinFS morphs

Today Quentin Clark announced an important change of direction statement regarding WinFS. Judging from initial comments to Quentin’s post, Microsoft should continue to educate its development community on the implications and opportunities created by this decision.

Update 6/25/2006: Just last September, CRN recorded the following statement from Bill Gates concerning WinFS: “WinFS is the idea of taking the file system and the database and the directory and the mail store and bringing those together. In this wave we still have a directory store, we have an Exchange mail store, we have a database store, we have a file server, so that dream of unifying those things, you know, people can see the technology we’re building for that. It’s really the next round of SQL on the server where you could get that deep unification.” The emphasis on the last remark is mine (reference Quentin’s references to “Katmai”).

Update 6/30/2006: While I was away at a family reunion, Quentin provided an update to his first post. Judging by comments left on both WinFS Team Blog posts as well as elsewhere online, it’s clear that the desire for a relational file system is still very much alive.

ADO.NET is the WinFS API

As member of the WinFS Partner Advisory Council (PAC), I recently had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with WinFS GPM Sanjay Anand during the Integrated Data PAC Summit earlier this month. Sanjay and his team are passionate about integrated storage and WinFS as a platform for next-generation application development.

Earlier today, Sanjay penned his first post on the WinFS Team Blog, reminding us that WSS was claimed first by Exchange, not by SharePoint. :-) More to the point, he explains why WinFS is poised to succeed where previous efforts by Microsoft toward an integrated storage platform have not. And to be clear, this is a big task worthy of an A-list team.

Being able to leverage a single framework for WinFS data and data from stores outside WinFS (e.g. EMC | Documentum repositories via Documentum’s managed data provider) is a big win for application developers and therefore, it’s a big win for end users, too. Richer applications mean richer experiences, etc. By asserting that ADO.NET “vNext” will be that single API, next-level experiences on Windows become that much closer to reality.

Of course, in order to realize WinFS as a compelling storage platform for application development, it must provide holistic and prescriptive guidance around security, business logic, sync, etc. Applications will only free their data when it’s clear that doing so results in no less control, no less enforcement of critical policies and in fact results in refocusing innovation on the value-add domain, enabling end users to become empowered by more actionable data.

Thankfully, Microsoft doesn’t seek “yes men (or women)” for its PACs, and WinFS is no exception. Know that when Sanjay and others on the WinFS team talk about “hard questions” that the WinFS PAC is doing its best to raise, articulate and debate such points of view so that the end result can realize the dream we all seek when it comes to interacting with everyday data in multiple contexts: consistent, intuitive and trustworthy experiences.

There will be much more to say once the next beta is released. Until then, I leave you with a word: composition. :-)