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Microsoft to talk Sun-cloud interoperability

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CommunityOne Microsoft is making its debut at Sun Microsystems' annual Java jamboree in what's looking like a mission of mutual support.

The company will use its first ever JavaOne keynote speech Thursday to talk about the ability to use open-source infrastructure components built by Sun with Microsoft's nascent Azure cloud. Microsoft's come a long way in the last 10 years, having been at one time the subject of a Sun legal action for breaking compatibility on Java with its implementation.

Microsoft will discuss interoperability between Azure and an open-source, high-performance web service stack called Metro for Sun's GlassFish application server to talk to .NET systems, Sun distinguished engineer Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart said during a presentation. Microsoft's executives are due to take the stage on Thursday morning.

It's not clear whether the discussion will focus only on Metro or whether the keynote will address other ways to run GlassFish on Azure and program and deploy Java applications to Azure.

Azure is due later this year, and Microsoft wants to encourage non-.NET developers to build applications on the platform - particularly developers using open source. It recently unveiled the PHPAzure software development kit (SDK) to build apps for Azure and the cloud's underlying SQL-like Windows Azure Storage service's blobs, tables, and queues.

Microsoft and Sun already have a technology interoperability agreement dating from April 2006, which has seen work on servers, security, directories, and web services.

Meanwhile, Sun is expected to use the coming few days at JavaOne to evangelize its own cloud strategy.

Sun's "on track" for "more broader public access this month" of its cloud, senior vice president of cloud computing and chief sustainability officer Dave Douglas told Sun's CommunityOne on Monday. He added: "Of course we love more partners."

Sun had promised to release further details of its cloud offerings this summer when it unveiled its cloud APIs and formally announced its cloud service in March.

A "secure and hardened" virtual machine for use on OpenSolaris in the cloud was also announced with the availability of OpenSolaris 2009.06. The VM is designed to ease concerns people might have that a cloud opens their systems to being hacked through back doors in the VM and the date center.

Sun's cloud computing chief technology officer, Lew Tucker, said the company had: "Turned off underused ports and got rid of services that are not really need, so if you are a developer, not a security expert, you can get on with what you do." Tucker, also pointed to tools under its Project Kenai hosting site to encrypt ZFS snap shots and lock down and secure your data.

But the future of Sun's whole cloud strategy is in question. Several years late, Sun's set of computing and storage options mirror Amazon's existing service. Furthermore, the chief executive officer of the company buying Sun has poured doubt on cloud services. CEO Larry Ellison appears to believe in providing component parts such as virtualization, but not in providing his own cloud service.

Douglas claimed that 3,000 of Sun's staff are currently using its internal cloud. ®

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