Feeds

Microsoft's Red-Dog cloud turns Azure

EC2 for grown ups?

High performance access to file storage

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. "®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.