Sharing some bits that I found interesting during the last week while reading about cloud computing.

 

Windows Azure platform

http://www.cerebrata.com/Products/CloudStorageStudio/Default.aspx

Tools are being developed on the Windows Azure Platform. This tool, Cloud Storage Studio, allows you to manage your storage in Windows Azure.

http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid201_gci1380654,00.html

Microsoft to add Remote Desktop and VM support to Azure. No one announced any timelines to be clear. But it is great to see the Azure team quickly responding to what the market wants.

Also from this article:

Azure is adapting swiftly. Before the end of the beta period, Azure announced that users could control patching and OS updates, a relief to the users worried about untested updates affecting their applications. Microsoft blogger Brad Calder also announced that Azure will support Virtual Hard Disk images because "customers have told us that they want to take their already running Windows applications and run them in the cloud."

And: Domino's Pizza runs a Java-based online ordering system on Azure

Other

http://stage.vambenepe.com/archives/1261

There is a lot of debate about Cloud Standards. This will go on for a long time. I haven’t seen an IT area yet that started with defining the standards. Standards evolve out of things available, out of the usage of them.

http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/generic/0,295582,sid201_gci1381115,00.html 

This is a list of the top 10 cloud providers according to searchcloudcomputing. I expect this list to change rapidly. Also, it is a mix of IAAS, PAAS.

http://blog.cloudharmony.com/2010/02/cloud-speed-test-results.html

On Cloud Harmony, you can see the results from some speed tests comparing different providers. These tests, as all benchmarks, are great food for debate. Both what’s being measured as the results can easily be debated.

http://blog.cloudharmony.com/ 

The latest post actually includes tests on Cloud storage, including Azure’s

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/02/cloud-basics.ars 

It surprises me that an article on ArsTechnica can be posted that gets the Windows Azure Platform so wrong! The author describes the Windows Azure Platform as IAAS. While most would agree that, today, it is a PAAS.

There are some pretty interesting comments there too. One in particular about lockin into SalesForce’s platform. I’m sure that even though Azure is way more open and provides services at a lower level on the IT stack, that some will claim lock in about Azure too.

I have been using SalesForce at my company for about 2.5 years now, and I can say without a doubt that the vendor lock-in is a huge concern. We use a customized version of their stock CRM application and I have to continually fight with their support to keep it meeting our needs. I routinely run up against artificial limits in the platform (i.e. object reference limits, formula call character limits, etc) that they can take anywhere from weeks to months to correct. While the up-front cost was significantly lower than going with an in-house application, they are becoming increasingly difficult to use due to their cookie cutter approach and lack of flexibility and support.