US scientists get free cloud on-ramp
Microsoft and NSF plugging Azure
Microsoft and the US National Science Foundation have announced an agreement that will provide free access to cloud computing resources for select NSF-funded researchers for the next three years.
This was discussed by Microsoft's corporate VP for tech strategy and policy, Dan Reed, in a blog. Instead of buying supercomputers and massed ranks of storage arrays, the lucky scientists get to use remote Microsoft Azure data centres full of Windows/Dell servers and storage so that they can run compute-intensive algorithms on masses of data.
Reed suggests the data mining of weather sensor-gathered data as an example application.
Microsoft is going to improve its Azure cloud computing access and interface tools by having its researchers and developers "work with the NSF grant recipients to equip them with a set of tools to assist them in expanding their research into the cloud".
A big advantage claimed for cloud-based computing by scientists is much easier sharing of data. Microsoft and the NSF provided a canned quote about this from Dave Patterson, Pardee Professor of Computer Science at UCAL, Berkeley:
If you want to collaborate with people, especially people across distances, it makes a lot of sense to keep your data in the cloud rather than in your own ivory tower. The next step is the sharing of programs to manipulate the data in the cloud and the sharing of computer simulations. Sharing is trivial once a researcher gets it working in the cloud compared to shipping files and then to try to get data and programs installed in and working in other places. The way cloud computing works, if I’m getting my work done, there’s no reason everybody else can’t use it as well.
Eligible individual researchers and research groups will be selected through the NSF’s merit review process, and the relevant part of the NSF to which researchers should apply for funding is the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). ®
Right now, Microsoft is absolutely shoving "Cloud Computing" down everyone's throats... continually, and almost rabidly, telling us how we can smooth the, "...transition to Cloud Computing ...for our customers" (read: help Microsoft finally achieve complete control over customers, institute virtually-complete loss of consumer-choice, and fully-implement perpetual, and, actually, higher-cost, -rent- being paid to Microsoft, simply for the --privilege-- of using computers, at all).
The real problem (for Microsoft) is that... NO-ONE, not our customers, not new clients, not individual-users, nor any IT-professionals that we know (including, ourselves)... have any intention, what-so-ever, of, ever, voluntarily transitioning to Microsoft's (or any body else's) entire pay-as-you-go, perpetually-pay-for-what-you-use, and have absolutely no real control over your own computers/infrastructure... consumer-nightmare, of... "Software as a Service".
...Which is probably why Microsoft is again expending so much effort trying to convince everyone that WE [the consumer] have already accepted, and actually want, "SaaS". My fear is that Microsoft already has, well-laid-out, plans and mechanisms which will virtually impose this final scheme on the marketplace.
Talk endlessly about X...
Act as though everybody already wants X...
Roll-out X, while making a big show of pretending to be giving everybody what they wanted...
Make it damned hard (if not virtually impossible) to realistically avoid X...
...And, finally, attack and ridicule anyone that points-out the negative facts about X... or what is actually going on.
WTF... share data & microsoft
in the same sentence...
What's the line about the drug dealer and first sample being free??
Nothing of good (except possibly for microsoft) will possibly come of this.
This Can Only End Badly.
Just as some scientists discovers the cure for cancer/baldness/AIDS/world hunger, Microsoft suffer a Danger-style data loss. Great.
Microsoft - products so good they have to give them away.