You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Web Platfrom’ category.
I wrote about the Business Value of Cloud Computing back in June, 2009. I highlighted in that post, why enterprises were interested in cloud computing from a business value perspective and discuss why this style of computing has been, and will continue to be huge platform shift. As I discussed then, the transformation to cloud computing will come with significant improvements in efficiency, agility and innovation.
Recently, the Corporate Strategy Group at Microsoft did an extensive analysis of the economics associated with cloud computing, leveraging Microsoft’s experience with cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Windows Live, and Bing. The outcome resulted in a blog post and a whitepaper, “The Economics of the Cloud.”
In the paper, it highlights how the economics impact public clouds and private clouds to different degrees and describe how to weigh the trade-off that this creates. Private clouds address many of the concerns IT leaders have about cloud computing, and so they may be perfectly suited for certain situations. But because of their limited ability to take advantage of demand-side economies of scale and multi-tenancy, the paper concludes that private clouds may someday carry a cost that is as much more costly then that of public clouds.
PDC 2010 (Microsoft Professional Developer Conference) was held in Redmond a couple of weeks ago and it marked a significant milestone for Windows Azure – One Year Anniversary since its production announcement at PDC 2009.
In review, the Windows Azure platform, composed of Windows Azure and SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric is supported by a rich set of development tools, management and services from Microsoft Corp. You can learn more here. It is a Platform as a service (PaaS) and is where Microsoft thinks developers and businesses will ultimately gain the true value of the cloud.
The conference included some announcements highlighting significant updates to the Windows Azure Platform. Here is a summary of those announcements with links to resources to learn more. Warning – long list / post!
Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role eases the migration of existing Windows Server applications to Windows Azure by eliminating the need to make costly application changes and enables customers to quickly access their existing business data from the cloud. Microsoft announced Virtual Machine Role support for Windows Server 2008 R2 in Windows Azure. A public beta will be available by the end of 2010.
Server Application Virtualization enables customers to deploy virtualized application images onto the Windows Azure worker role (single role, single instance) rather than the VM Role. Through this approach, customers can more easily migrate their traditional applications to Windows Azure without the need to rewrite them or to package them within a VM. Once the application is deployed with server application virtualization on Windows Azure, customers can benefit from the automated service management capabilities of Windows Azure including automatic configuration and ongoing operating system management. Server Application Virtualization for Windows Azure will be available as a community technology preview (CTP) before the end of 2010, and the final release will be available to customers in the second half of 2011
Constructing VM role images in the cloud. Microsoft is enabling developers and IT professionals to build VM images for VM role directly in the cloud. This will be offered as an alternative to the current approach of building images on-premises and uploading them over the Internet. This update will be available in 2011.
Support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 in the VM Role. Microsoft supports Windows Server 2008 R2 in the Guest OS. In 2011, Microsoft will add support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 SP2.
SQL Azure Reporting allows developers to embed reports into their Windows Azure applications, including rich data visualization and export to popular formats, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and PDF, enabling the users of these applications to gain greater insight and act on their line-of-business data stored in SQL Azure databases. A CTP will be available to customers by the end of 2010. The final release of SQL Azure Reporting will be generally available in the first half of 2011.
SQL Azure Data Sync is another important building block service to help developers rapidly build cloud applications on the Windows Azure platform using Microsoft’s cloud database. It allows developers to build apps with geo-replicated SQL Azure data and synchronize on-premises with cloud and mobile applications. A CTP will be available by the end of 2010. A final release of SQL Azure Data Sync is set to be released in the first half of 2011.
Database Manager for SQL Azure is a new lightweight, Web-based database management and querying capability for SQL Azure. This capability was formerly referred to as “Project Houston,” and allows customers to have a streamlined experience within the Web browser without having to download any tools. Database Manager for SQL Azure will be generally available by the end of 2010.
Windows Azure AppFabric helps developers rapidly build cloud applications on the Windows Azure platform.
- AppFabric Caching, which helps developers accelerate the performance of their applications.
- AppFabric Service Bus enhancements will help developers build reliable, enterprise quality delivery of data or messages, to and from applications to third parties or mobile devices.
CTPs were available at PDC, and both of these important building-block technologies will be generally available the first half of 2011.
Windows Azure Marketplace is a single online marketplace for developers and IT professionals to share, find, buy and sell building block components, training, services, and finished services or applications needed to build complete and compelling Windows Azure platform applications.
DataMarket is best thought of as a market within the Windows Azure Marketplace. It provides developers and information workers with access to premium third-party data, Web services, and self-service business intelligence and analytics, which they can use to build rich applications. Today there are more than 35 data providers offering data on DataMarket, with over 100 more coming soon.
At PDC 2010, DataMarket (formerly code-named “Dallas”) was released to Web, and a Windows Azure Marketplace beta will be released by the end of the year.
TFS on Windows Azure. Microsoft demoed Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure, which shows that steps have been made toward cloud-hosted Application Lifecycle Management. A CTP will be available in 2011.
Windows Azure AppFabric
- Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control enhancements help customers build federated authorization into applications and services without the complicated programming that is normally required to secure applications beyond organizational boundaries. With support for a simple declarative model of rules and claims, Access Control rules can easily and flexibly be configured to cover a variety of security needs and different identity-management infrastructures. These enhancements are currently available to customers.
- Windows Azure AppFabric Connect allows customers to bridge existing line-of-business (LOB) integration investments over to Windows Azure using the Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus, and connecting to on-premises composite applications running on Windows Server AppFabric. This new set of simplified tooling extends Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 to help accelerate hybrid on- and off-premises composite application scenarios, which are critical for customers starting to develop hybrid applications. This service is freely available today.
Windows Azure Virtual Network. New functionality is being introduced under the Windows Azure Virtual Network name. Windows Azure Connect (previously known as “Project Sydney”) enables a simple and easy-to-manage mechanism to set up IP-based network connectivity between on-premises and Windows Azure resources. The first Windows Azure Virtual Network feature is called Windows Azure Connect. A CTP of Windows Azure Connect will be available by the end of 2010, and it will be generally available in the first half of 2011.
Extra Small Windows Azure Instance. Also announced was the Extra Small Instance, which will be priced at $0.05 per compute hour in order to make the process of development, testing and trial easier for developers. This will make it affordable for developers interested in running smaller applications on the platform. A beta of this role will be available before the end of 2010.
Remote Desktop enables IT professionals to connect to a running instance of their application or service to monitor activity and troubleshoot common problems. Remote Desktop will be generally available later this year.
Elevated Privileges. The VM role and Elevated Privileges functionality removes roadblocks that today prevent developers from having full control over their application environment. For small changes such as configuring Internet Information Service (IIS) or installing a Microsoft Software Installer (MSI), Microsoft recommends using the Elevated Privileges admin access feature. This approach is best suited for small changes and enables the developer to retain automated service management at the Guest OS and the application level. Elevated Privileges will be generally available to customers later this year.
Full IIS Support enables development of more complete applications using Windows Azure. The Web role will soon provide full IIS functionality, which enables multiple IIS sites per Web role and the ability to install IIS modules. The full IIS functionality enables developers to get more value out of a Windows Azure instance. Full IIS Support will be generally available to customers later this year.
Windows Server 2008 R2 Roles. Windows Azure will now support Windows Server 2008 R2 in its Web, worker and VM roles. This new support will enable customers to take advantage of the full range of Windows Server 2008 R2 features such as IIS 7.5, AppLocker, and enhanced command-line and automated management using PowerShell Version 2.0. This update will be generally available later this year.
Multiple Admins. Windows Azure will soon support multiple Windows Live IDs to have administrator privileges on the same Windows Azure account. The objective is to make it easy for a team to work on the same Windows Azure account while using their individual Windows Live IDs. The Multiple Admins update will be generally available later this year.
Dynamic Content Caching. With this new functionality, the Windows Azure CDN can be configured to cache content returned from a Windows Azure application. Dynamic Content Caching will be available to customers in 2011.
CDN SSL Delivery. Users of the Windows Azure CDN will now have the capability to deliver content via encrypted channels with SSL/TLS. This update will be available in 2011.
Improved global connectivity. Microsoft will add new Windows Azure CDN nodes in the Middle East and improve existing connectivity in the U.S. and Brazil in 2011.
Improved Java Enablement. Microsoft plans to make Java a first-class citizen on Windows Azure. This process will involve improving Java performance, Eclipse tooling and client libraries for Windows Azure. Customers can choose the Java environment of their choice and run it on Windows Azure. Improved Java Enablement will be available to customers in 2011.
Windows Azure AppFabric Composition Model and Composite App Service provides an end-to-end “composite” application development environment to help developers streamline the process of assembling, managing and deploying various home-grown and third-party services that span the Web, middle tier and database in the cloud. A CTP will be available in the first half of 2011.
Microsoft also announced the following developer and operator enhancements at PDC 2010:
- A completely redesigned Microsoft Silverlight-based Windows Azure portal to ensure an improved and intuitive user experience
- Access to new diagnostic information including the ability to click on a role to see type and deployment time
- A new sign-up process that dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to sign up for Windows Azure
- New scenario-based Windows Azure Platform forums to help answer questions and share knowledge more efficiently
These Windows Azure enhancements will be generally available by the end of 2010.
Finally, a great offer for partners:
“Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners” is an offer that replaces Microsoft’s existing partner offers. This offer will go live on Jan. 7, 2011, and provide free access to the Windows Azure platform, including 750 Extra Small Instance hours and a SQL Azure database per month at no additional charge. Partners can sign up for the Cloud Essentials Pack at Microsoft Cloud Partner.
Are PC’s, and Windows going to be less significant in the next 5 years? Its certainly a scenario that I am sure many at Microsoft (and the industry) are arguably challenged with. More so today, then ever!
Yes, cloud computing is definitely becoming a disruptive force (in a positive way, I might add) in how we deliver and consume services today, as Ray Ozzie wrote about in his memo, The Internet Services Disruption, 5 years ago. But, I think the message, warning, and context Ray raises in his new memo today, Dawn of a New Day, 5 years later, is more relevant and I am sure has folks in Redmond and the industry talking about it.
I do not disagree, as I look into the future, I have to admit it looks less like just PC’s connecting to the cloud and services, but more about “connected devices” and “continuous services” that play out in our lives thru mobile phones, gaming consoles, TVs, iPads/Slates, cars, and other everyday devices that connect to the cloud.
Its a very interesting read and as one of my colleagues tweeted today; “Shut the door, turn off your phone and read Ray Ozzie’s Dawn of a New Day” .
One of my brilliant colleagues, and friend David Chou (Architect Evangelist) at Microsoft just posted slide deck on SlideShare.net from his talk at JavaOne. David is a former Java Architect and has been at Microsoft for several years talking about our platform and now specifically our Windows Azure Platform.
I have embedded his presentation here and you can also click here to take you to SlideShare, where you can find more of David’s presentations.
Today, the term “cloud” is thrown around a lot in the IT industry. Some are calling it the new “dot com” topic. Well, I am not sure it comes with the bubble connotations that we saw in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but I do think the cloud presents real value and significant change to business and consumers. Change that relates to how enterprise’s are thinking about enterprise architecture, change with regard to IT service delivery models, and change to business models (operational expenses for what IT services you use, rather than capital expenditures for what you might use), etc.
Recently, one of my esteemed collogues, John Alioto, Architect Evangelist at Microsoft, wrote some great blog posts on “Categorizing the Cloud” Part 1 & Part 2. Part 1 is focused on categorizations of the cloud, from an architectural perspective, and lands on three dimensions against which we could categorize a Cloud offering. Those dimensions are Service Model, Deployment Model and Isolation Model. Part 2 is more focused on taking those dimensions and then categorizing the cloud from a business model perspective. What cloud models apply for various business models. I like the taxonomy that John uses, by first starting with some simplistic, but relevant themes to call out. Themes that have been around for IT for some time. Then, breaking it down into categories of cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS).
Two great posts. Nice job John.
As enterprises evaluate building and deploying applications to the cloud, security is always part of the conversation and assessment. Windows Azure, as a cloud application hosting platform, must provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data, while also enabling transparent accountability. To help customers better understand the array of security controls implemented within Windows Azure from both the customer’s and Microsoft operations’ perspectives, a new white paper has been published – “Windows Azure Security Overview”. You can also learn more about the paper and download it at the Windows Azure Team Blog.
I am super excited!!! I recently joined (first week of July) the Windows Azure Platform Field organization focused on business development and sales. I will be working with the largest enterprise customers in the Northwest (Northern California, Oregon, Washington) based out of the Bay Area.
If you have ever read my professional blog, you know that I have been writing about cloud for the last 2 years. Its an exciting time in our industry, as the cloud platform is enabling enterprises to build and deploy rich applications, while lowering their capital investments and costs in computer infrastructure.
Cloud computing is here, and the Windows Azure Platform is leading the way!
Content Delivery Networks (CDN) usually refers to a set or network of computers containing copies of data, large content files like large video files or images, that are placed at various points in a network to maximize bandwidth for access to the data from clients (pc’s, mobile phones, etc.) throughout the network. A client accesses a copy of the data close to that client, as opposed to all clients accessing the same central location of the data, avoiding bottlenecks and greatly improving performance. Windows Azure CDN delivers Windows Azure Blob content and offers developers a global solution for delivering high-bandwidth content.
Windows Azure CDN was introduced back in November 2009, and has been in CTP (Customer Technology Preview). This week, at TechEd, Microsoft announced the Production Launch of Windows Azure CDN, and pricing. To learn more about the pricing and other Windows Azure announcements at TechEd, see the Windows Azure Team Blog.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about the business value that cloud computing offers. In that post, I write about some well known benefits that are realized by leveraging the cloud for SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service). For example, cloud computing transfers the traditional capital expenditure (CapEx) model common in data centers today to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model. Cloud Services like Azure Services Platform and Microsoft Online Services allow CIOs and CFOs to control costs more effectively through these cloud computing service offerings.
With Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Services Platform, in the market now for over 6 months, I wanted to highlight some real business workload scenarios that are great candidates for the cloud and offer potentially excellent business value running in the cloud. Here are a few key areas business are looking at:
Web Applications – This is probably the most obvious workload that makes sense moving to the cloud in today’s SaaS world. It seems like there are more and more solutions that are used in this model. Its not only email services like Hotmail, Yahoo mail, or GMail, but also CRM applications, and of course ecommerce. Businesses and ISVs can focus on their core business models and software development rather than worry about data centers and how many servers and bandwidth will be necessary for the web application to scale out, as well as enter new markets quickly. A cloud services platform like Windows Azure Platform provides a flexible and economic option for quickly deploying rich web applications.
HPC (High Performance Computing) – HPC workloads use pools of computing power to solve advanced computational equations or problems. In these types of scenarios, the application typically includes very complex mathematical computations. It often generally refers to the engineering applications associated with cluster-based computing (like computational fluid dynamics, or building and testing of virtual prototypes), as well as business uses of cluster-based computing or parallel processing / computing, such as data warehouses and high transaction processing. These workload scenarios are well suited for Windows Azure. There is a great case study published highlighting RiskMetrics Group use of Windows Azure to support large bursts in computing activity over short periods of time.
LOB (Line of Business) Applications – Enterprises often have many, sometimes hundreds or thousands, of departmental LOB applications servicing specific business processes and business units. These applications can be distressing to IT management as they sometimes end up with a lack of centralized management, policy compliance, and hardware security. Yet, they often provide the business critical services, and sometimes require quick deployment times. A cloud services platform like Windows Azure provides an enterprise class on-demand computing environment with the flexibility that the business needs, and the security and reliability that centralized IT demands.
Let me know if you have any other ideas or questions, comments, or would like to discuss…
Since the launch of Silverlight several years ago, it has gained tremendous adoption and has proven to be a great platform for building rich media experiences on the web.
I thought I would highlight some great stories here that point to its adoption and success (as well as point to some related posts & case studies for your reading pleasure).
For the recent Winter Olympics Vancover, host nation Canada’s CTV saw 4 million visitors consume over 6 PetaBytes, or 7 million hours of video, peaking at over 130,000 concurrent viewers. Viewers watched videos on the site for an average of 111 minutes per visit – unprecedented and great news for broadcasters and advertisers alike. Here is a case study if you would like to read more.
In the United States, NBC built on its experiences using Silverlight for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (which by the way, NBC Olympics won an Emmy with Silverlight) and NFL Sunday Night Football. For the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, they provided live and on-demand video to an online audience of 16 million viewers, while also delivering a very sophisticated and efficient ad platform to its sponsors, making the best use of planned and spontaneous opportunities for ad insertion. Armed with real-time insights on the size and viewing trends of the online fan base, NBC was able to make quick, informed decisions about when to run ads for maximum effect. Here is a case study if you would like to read more. Or you can also find more information at the Silverlight Team Blog here.
Since broadcast HD TV is relatively new in France, France Télévisions used the opportunity to bring the HD experience to a younger generation who, in many cases, prefer to consume video on a computer. With previous successes using Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming to broadcast the Roland Garros Tennis Championships and the Tour de France cycling race, France Télévisions knew it could deliver a multi-platform, high quality live and on-demand video experience for the Olympics. With only two weeks to the event and not a single line of code written, the Silverlight Media Framework allowed France TV to deliver the player on schedule, resulting in an amazing average viewing time of 64 minutes. Here is a case study if you would like to read more.