Feeds

Microsoft's Red-Dog cloud turns Azure

EC2 for grown ups?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

PDC Amazon's EC2 has overshadowed Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference where Steve Ballmer and Co. finally announced their cloud-computing architecture, codenamed Red Dog.

Microsoft software architect Ray Ozzie kicked off PDC promising a limited - limited mind - community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform. Microsoft is being conservative with what it releases, Ozzie said.

There's still no date on Azure, with Ozzie saying Microsoft will take feedback in 2008 and 2009 to prioritize the features it layers in and exposes. "We will be unlocking more and more access to the underlying services capabilities and will get closer to commercial release as a result of your efforts," Ozzie said.

When things do go live, Ozzie said Microsoft would charge by resource consumption and a service-level agreement. Those signing up to the CTP will get SQL Services for storage, Live Services to store, share and synchronize documents, and a Windows SDK using Visual Studio.

Azure is Red Dog, the computing, networking and storage software layer that's been a work in progress under corporate vice president Amitabh Srivastava and has already been widely reported. Speaking at PDC, Srivastava called Azure "the kernel of the Microsoft cloud platform."

Trying to build up Azure, Ozzie - Microsoft cloud-advocate in chief - called this a turning point for Microsoft as it's finally able to talk about what it's been working on for the past couple of years. "It is the transformation of our software across the board," Ozzie said.

Unfortunately, Amazon beat Microsoft to the cloud with AWS and is now providing a beta Windows service. "Some years ago, after we launched our effort, Amazon launched EC2. I'd like to tip my hat to [Amazon chief executive] Jeff Bezos," Ozzie said, claiming Amazon would set some early industry benchmarks.

Ozzie said Microsoft has "some different objectives" with Azure.

What could be Microsoft's saving grace and big differentiator is the fact that it works with tried and tested Windows server and tools software. You'd never have guessed this, though, judging by the way it threw everything into the Azure demo at PDC. Microsoft wanted something to stick, making Azure seem suited to businesses and hobbyists alike. Executives demoed how you could build and deploy a mobile social-networking application using Azure as the underlying platform.

Has Microsoft heard of the economic crash and start-up layoffs?

Azure features a kernel for hosting, networking, and management with a "fabric controller." There's virtualization using Microsoft's Hypervisor and workflow and access control with .NET services. There's Microsoft's Live Services and storage using an implementation of Microsoft's SQL Server called SQL Services.

The whole platform runs on Windows Server 2008, and you can re-use existing Windows skills in Visual Basic and C# working through Visual Studio.

Senior vice president of server and tools Bob Muglia promised data analytics and reporting, data synchronization between on-premises and mobile devices, reporting and ETL. "Over time we will have tons and tons of reference data you can use as part of your application," Muglia said. Ozzie said Microsoft's Dynamics CRM and SharePoint would "fulfill a very important role" in Azure.

Dave Thompson, corporate vice president of Microsoft online who has worked with Srivastava, went further: "In the future, all our enterprise software will be delivered as an online service. "®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.