Feeds

Microsoft's Red-Dog cloud turns Azure

EC2 for grown ups?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. "®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.