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PDC 2008 – Day 1 – Windows Azure

PDC 2008 – Day 1 – Windows Azure

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Ray Ozzie :  “I have been waiting for this day for long. Today marks the transformation of our software and model to fundamentally embrace services.”

There’s never been as many choices for back-end entreprise platforms. The three things that have always kept me close to Microsoft when I was an ISV :

  1. Microsoft always builds its own key apps for its plateform :This ensures the platform will effectively work.
  2. Critical mass : This ensures a stable foundation, I can focus on my application
  3. Microsoft understands that partners need a platform to make them successful

We’ll show how much value you can get from “Software + Services”

  • Day 1 (Monday) = Back End Innovations
  • Tomorrow = Front End innovations

What is new with the Cloud ?

The notion of Utility Computing was pioneering in 60ies, so was virtualization with IBM. Most of our servers have been specifically build to target large number of concurrent users. Today, all business are experiencing the externalization of IT. There is a minimum of expectations from the Web today, the bar keeps being raised. The Web has become critical, every organizations has Web as a front door.

Having a data center requires a lot of experience, 2 gets even more difficult. How do we connect : data, communications between your users ?

Microsoft has got a lot of Cloud assets : MSDN, Help in Office, Windows Update… each of these systems have grown on their own. Microsoft has built expertise from there : efficiently deploy software, tune, monitor, keeping the OS and apps up to date, prepare for high peeks of demand (XBox Live). All this expertise was not packaged so that you could benefit.

From an industry level, we start to believe that high scale services infrastructure is a new tier of the enterprise.

  • 1st tier - the PC on your Desk : it is Windows, Windows Mobile
  • 2nd tier - the backend of the enterprise. Systems management and service architecture : it is Windows Server
  • 3nd tier - web tier, externally facing systems. The scale is the size of the web : computation, storage, networking capabilities, designed for scale. It is Windows Azure.

Windows Azure

Microsoft started thinking of a cloud platforms. Pionneer was Amazon with EC2. In the context of Microsoft, we’ve been studying how to produce a platform that could be a foundation. Windows Azure : is a new windows offering as a web tier for computing.  It is a new service based operating environment.

1st : it is critical that developpers can leverage on existing skills : .Net, Visual Studio. We expect that most applicaitons of todays apps are built

We are setting the stage for the next 50 years. We need new practices, new way to bind an app to the system, It is not a server, it is a service. It is released today as a CTP, with a fraction of our roadmap. We will be bringing more and more of our key apps to windows azure. Because it is there we can scale.

On top of Windows Azure : Live services (Tomorrow, to extend to the user to sync app and data for the end user), .Net Services (implementation of existing frameworks), SQL Services, SharePoint Services & Dynamics CRM Services

On top of those services, you find Microsoft Cloud offerings : Windows live, Office Live, Exchange Online, SharePoint online, Dynamics CRM Online.

We have built the kernel of the Microsoft Cloud Platform, to allow you to build your killer apps. What are the features :

  • Scalable hosting : virtualization and security are key. From code access security, firewalls, and hypervisor enforced isolation.
  • Management : the overall datacenter is managed : networks, data, + Federated Data Centers. This is complex, incredibly complex.
  • Automated Service Management : how do you upgrade your app without bringing it down. Windows Azure handles those scenarios : the OS and the App are management separately. 
  • At the heart is the Fabrik Controller. The Fabrik Controller manages Services not just Servers. You model your service (defines the architecture of your service, it takes a few high level abstraction, roles are pieces of codes, communications with channels and endpoints, with exposes interfaces, and you apply configuraiton settinfgs). Internally the service models are stored as an XML file (for processing and generation).
  • High availability : 2 ways in azure : 1. all components are built to be highly available (Fabrik Controler …). Several subsytems inside Azure : Service Managemnet, Virtualization…
  • Rich Developer Experience : You can write and test from Desktop Tools, no need to deploy. Windows Azure works with both managed and native code.

Steve Marks makes a demo of Hello World, windows azure SDK. Visual Studio Template gives me 2 projects: information about my cloud app (Model) + a standard Web Application. Put a brakpoint, F5, and you start debugging with a local env : “The Cloud on the Desktop”.

Démo : How does I deploy to the internet. Azure Services Developper. Portal. with a wizard : - Add Package - Configuration Settings…

The software works on the mobile : BlueHoo, If you are on mobile go to and register today.

Windows Azure is interoperable (we’ll tell more about it later), concerning Windows developers, we start with .Net application, then we will expose native code.

Azure Developer Services : interoperability, business processes, identity & security, data management and compliace, servives management. You build your applications using this cloud services pattenrs, so that you reduce you dev, test and operation costs.

Microsoft .Net Services

We start with Service bus, Access Control, Workflow Services. The first of a broad set of capabilities.

Identity is a core foundation of all applications, identity is a foundation. In windows azure, we provide a consistent approach with a federated identity platform. Open and interoperable.

Geneva enables this federation with the clouds and with Active Directory connectivity.

SQL Services

It is a scalable infrastructure on top of SQL Server. With time we will deliver more and more capabilities from SQL Server. Here are the core capabilities : Data Mining, ETL, Reference Data, Database, Data Sync, Reporting.

Partner : RedPrairie. Recall is a nightmare, requires a lot of process and energy. Made a demonstration of a on-premise and on the cloud Rich application.

System Center “Atlanta”

It is a Web based portal, on top of Windows Azure. We use the scale up capabilities of Windows Azure to store and process the Data. Finally, we build a Web Portal on top of those applications.

It gives you real time information about the consumption of your resources.

Where are we today ?

The goal is to create symetry between the Windows Server and the Windows Azure platform, through Visual Studio  & .Net, Oslo Modeling, Partners.

Oslo delivers the consistency between the Development and the IT process.

It incorporates a new language called “M” and leverages DSLs. More information in the weeks to come… stay tuned.

A bit of history :

  • 1992 : NT, see the place this plateform has taken today
  • 2008 : Azure, it will have the same kind of impact.

Services on a higher level  - Online and the power of Choice

Microsoft Online is Enterprise Software hosted by Microsoft and with partners (Exchange Online, CRM online…) This is the beginning. All our software will be delivered with the option to be hosted in the clouds.

Now the challenge is to work with hybrid architectures, by leveraging Federated Identity and Extensibility. For example, the Microsoft Services connector links the Enterprise identities with the ones in the clouds, though the federation gateway.

Extensibility overview :

  • Exchange Online Web Services + Notifications & Synchonization, …
  • SharePoint Online : Sharepoint Web Services + Sharepoint Designer, InfoPath, Data View Web Part, Silverlight controls.
  • CRM Online : Services…

To do theses extensions, you can use Visual Studio and the .Net Services SDK.

Demo : Dynamics CRM Online + SharePoint Line.

Getting Started

It starts at noon : register to access Windows Azure from

The preview will be free. The pricing will be competitive.

As a conclusion, we believe deeply in the Entreprise on-premise software and we believe deeply in the potential of this emerging new world of services in the Clouds.