Feeds

Microsoft 'Dallas' muscles Google data crusade

Crunches Red Planet

New hybrid storage solutions

PDC Microsoft is hoping to out-Google Google by unlocking the world's information and slapping a GUI on the front end.

Today, the company unveiled Dallas, which chief software architect Ray Ozzie said would deliver "data as a service." He described it as a "game changing" subsystem of Microsoft's Windows Azure computing and storage service.

Released as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) at Microsoft's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC), Dallas holds public data from the Associated Press, Citysearch, DATA.gov, infoUSA, NASA, National Geographic, and others in SQL Azure. There as no date on final availability.

Also unveiled was the Pathfinder Innovation Challenge with NASA, for developers to build applications based on data from the Mars Explorer mission. Ozzie demonstrated data from the rovers that has been turned into a 3D map of the Red-Planet's terrain.

Microsoft's software chief was joined by video link at PDC in Los Angeles, California by US federal government chief information officer Vivek Kundra to announce Pathfinder. Kundra called on developers to build applications using public data that benefit the Republic.

Kundra noted the cloud would help the government save money because it would not have to build its own computing infrastructure. Ozzie noted Dallas might help the government achieve its aim of openness and transparency, by making scads of data usable.

The move to unlock the world's publicly available data is significant as this has - for years - been Google's self-proclaimed mission. Google says its goal is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. For most of the time, Google has done that using a search engine to churn up information hidden in the corners of the web, but this has extended to countless other services. Among other thing, it's trying to - controversially - scan and serve up the world's library books.

Search engines like Google throw up results and then its up to you to then wade through the result or mash up the APIs through things such as AJAX-based maps from Google.

Ozzie told PDC the world is changing as systems are recording "unimaginable volumes of data."

But he said that while the data is open because it's in the public domain, it's still out of reach because data is held in different data formats or presentation formats like PDF.

"This data does no good unless we turn the potential into the kenetic, unless we unlock it and innovate in the realm of applications and solutions that's wrapped around that data," Ozzie said.

The difference between Google and Dallas is Dallas promises to do what Microsoft does - some would argue - best: It takes a stack approach that wraps in storage, runtime, tools, and interface.

Dave Campbell, a Microsoft technical fellow, demonstrated Dallas at PDC. He showed a list of data provides from the partners such as infoUSA, subscriptions, the ability to store structured and unstructured data, and to explore the data without needing to parse it, to preview the data in ATOM, invoke the data as a Rest service and analyze the data using PowerPivot in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program.

Picking on the Mars Rover data, Campbell showed how to retrieve the raw data and build a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) via Visual Studio with the data bound to a grid. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.