July, 2010

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Interoperability Elements of a Cloud Platform Outlined at OSCON


    OSCON Keynote Jean Paoli

    This week I’m in Portland, Oregon attending the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON). It’s exciting to see the great turnout as we look to this event as an opportunity to rub elbows with others and have some frank discussions about what we’re collectively doing to advance collaboration throughout the open source community. I even had the distinct pleasure of giving a keynote this morning at the conference.

    The focus of my presentation, titled “Open Cloud, Open Data” described how interoperability is as an essential component of a cloud computing platform. I personally think it’s critical to acknowledge that the cloud is intrinsically about connectivity. Because of this, interoperability is really the key to successful connectivity.

    We’re facing an inflection point in the industry – where the cloud is still in a nascent state – that we need to focus on removing the barriers for customer adoption and enhancing the value of cloud computing technologies. As a first step, we’ve outlined what we believe are the foundational elements of an open cloud platform.


    They include:

    • Data Portability:
      How can I keep control over my data?
      Customers own their own data, whether stored on-premises or in the cloud. Therefore, cloud platforms should facilitate the movement of customers’ data in and out of the cloud.
    • Standards:
      What technology standards are important for cloud platforms?
      Cloud platforms should support commonly used industry standards so as to facilitate interoperability with other software and services that support the same standards. New standards may be developed where existing standards are insufficient for emerging cloud platform scenarios.
    • Ease of Migration and Deployment:
      Will your cloud platforms help me migrate my existing technology investments to the cloud and how do I use private clouds?
      Cloud platforms should provide a secure migration path that preserves existing investments and should enable the co-existence between on-premise software and cloud services. This will enable customers to run “customer clouds” and partners (including hosters) to run “partner clouds” as well as take advantage of public cloud platform services.
    • Developer Choice:
      How can I leverage my developers’ and IT professionals’ skills in the cloud?
      Cloud platforms should offer developers a choice of software development tools, languages and runtimes.

    Through our ongoing engagement in standards and with industry organizations, open source developer communities, and customer and partner forums, we hope to gain additional insight that will help further shape these elements. We’ve also pulled together a set of related technical examples which can be accessed at www.microsoft.com/cloud/interop to support continued discussion with customers, partners and others across the industry.

    Interoperability Elements of a Cloud Platform

    In addition, we continue to work with others in the industry to deliver resources and technical tools to bridge non-Microsoft languages — including PHP and Java — with Microsoft technologies. As a result, we have produced several useful open source tools and SDKs for developers, including the Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP, the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse and the Windows Azure SDK for PHP and for Java. Most recently, Microsoft joined Zend Technologies Ltd., IBM Corp. and others for an open source, cloud interoperability project called Simple API for Cloud Application Services, which will allow developers to write basic cloud applications that work in all of the major cloud platforms.

    Available today is the latest version of the Windows Azure Command Line Tools for PHP to the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI). The Windows Azure Command Line Tools for PHP enable developers to use a simple command-line tool without an Integrated Development Environment to easily package and deploy new or existing PHP applications to Windows Azure. Microsoft Web PI is a free tool that makes it easy to get the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform as well as install and run the most popular free web applications.

    On the data portability front, we’re also working with the open source community to support the Open Data Protocol (OData), a REST-based Web protocol for manipulating data across platforms ranging from mobile to server to cloud. You can read more about the recent projects we’ve sponsored (see OData interoperability with .NET, Java, PHP, iPhone and more) to support OData. I’m pleased to announced that we’ve just release a new version of the OData Client for Objective-C (for iOS & MacOS), with the source code posted on CodePlex, joining a growing list of already available open source OData implementations.

    Microsoft’s investment and participation in these projects is part of our ongoing commitment to openness, from the way we build products, collaborate with customers, and work with others in the industry. I’m excited by the work we’re doing , and equally eager to hear your thoughts on what we can collectively be doing to support interoperability in the cloud.

    Jean Paoli, general manager for Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Identity “Mash-up” Federation Demo using Multiple Protocols (OpenID and WS-Federation)


    [Guest blogger Mike Jones, from the Federated Identity Team]

    At the last Interoperability Executive Customer (IEC) Council meeting in October 2009, there was broad agreement to involve third party software vendors to work with IEC Council members and Microsoft on specific interop scenarios brought forward by the council members.  We are pleased to report that over the last five months, the council was able to engage in very productive discussions with PayPal on an Identity Management interoperability scenario proposed by Medtronic.

    Medtronic, PayPal, and Microsoft worked together to produce a multi-protocol federated identity “mash-up” demo using multiple protocols (OpenID and WS-Federation). This demo was shown at the Internet Identity Workshop and to members of the IEC Council.  The demo shows how Medtronic customers could use PayPal identities when signing up for and participating in a medical device trial.


    You can view a video of the demo here.

    We called it an “identity mash-up” because claims from the PayPal identity are combined with (“mashed-up” with) additional claims added by Medtronic for trial participants to create a composite Medtronic trial identity.  Medtronic creates “shadow” accounts for trial participants, but from the user’s point of view they’re always just using their PayPal account whenever they have to sign for the trial.

    It’s multi-protocol because the PayPal claims are delivered to Medtronic using OpenID 2.0, whereas the claims from Medtronic are delivered to its relying parties using WS-Federation.  It’s interop because the demo uses both .NET and the Windows Identity Foundation on Windows and PHP on Linux, with interoperable identity protocols letting them seamlessly work together.

    Southworks, the company that built much of the demo, has released the source code and documentation for a proof-of-concept OpenID/WS-Federation Security Token Service (STS) based on the one used in the demo, should you be interested in prototyping something similar.

    We want to thank Medtronic and PayPal for their leadership and partnership of this effort and Southworks for their professionalism, agility, and execution.  We appreciate the opportunity to work with other industry leaders both to understand and demonstrate the interoperability that’s possible with our current product offerings and to inform the planning efforts for our future identity products.”

    Mike Jones, Senior Program Manager, Federated Identity Team

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Microsoft at OSCON next week


    OSCONMicrosoft returns to the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Oregon next week. For us, OSCON is a great opportunity to meet and interact with developers, programmers, systems engineers and administrators who live and breathe open source every day. We’re excited to participate in this forum, as it gives us a chance to hear and see firsthand what exciting developments are happening and how and what bridges we can build to improve interoperability between platforms.

    Jean Paoli, Microsoft General Manager for Interoperability Strategy, will be keynoting on Thursday, talking about “Open Cloud, Open Data.” Jean has played a pivotal role in Microsoft’s interoperability efforts over the past few years and he continues to explore opportunities to create greater interoperability in new technical areas and with emerging platforms. In his keynote, Jean plans to address how interoperability is at the core of Microsoft’s vision of a cloud that can capture the imaginations of developers, unleash their creativity and enable them to build new breakthrough applications.

    If you won’t be at OSCON in person, you can still watch the keynote presentations through a streaming feed on the O’Reilly OSCON site.

    A crew of Microsoft people will be on the ground and would love to talk all things interop and open source with you. If you have a question, an idea, an observation, just poke us @openatmicrosoft or me @jccim, we’ll see you there. We will also have several speakers presenting track sessions throughout the week and I encourage you to check them out. Links to the session summaries are provided below.

    CoApp: Bringing Open Source Package Management to Windows
    Garrett Serack
    , Software Development Engineer for Microsoft
    Date: Wednesday, July 21
    Location: E143/E144
    Discover the changing landscape of Open Source on Windows, and how the introduction of the Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform is driving performance, stability and quality into OSS applications on Windows.

    Build Mission Critical Cloud Applications on Windows Azure Platform using Open Source Technologies
    Vijay Rajagopalan
    , Principal Architect for Microsoft
    Date: Thursday, July 22
    Location: E143/E144
    The purpose of this session is to demonstrate Microsoft's commitment to openness and interoperability by practical Cloud Application development scenarios on Windows Azure using Open Source Technologies and Languages

    Private Cloud Deployment with Microsoft and Novell: Driving Transformational Architecture in the Enterprise
    Fabio Da Cunha
    , Senior Manager, Interoperability Alliances for Microsoft
    Frank Rego, Senior Product Manager for Novell
    Date: Thursday, July 22
    Location: E143/E144
    The evolution of cloud computing promises significant efficiency gains and cost savings over today’s distributed architecture model. Many IT leaders, however, face tough choices about what to deploy to evolve their data center while, at the same time, leveraging existing assets and managing to a flat or often declining budget.

    Reactive Extensions For JavaScript
    Erik Meijer
    , Architect for Microsoft
    Date: Thursday, July 22
    Location: Portland 255
    The "A" in "AJAX" stands for "Asynchronous" and indeed almost all Web and mobile applications have to be written in an asynchronous and event-driven style. Reactive Extensions for JavaScript is a library for coordinating and orchestrating asynchronous and concurrent computations in a high-level and declarative way.

    Advancing Interoperability, Patient Safety, and Efficiency with the Microsoft Connected Health Platform Open Toolkits
    Teddy Bachour
    , Sr. Technical Strategist for Microsoft
    Date: Friday, July 23
    Location: F151
    The Microsoft Connected Health Platform (CHP) provides open toolkits and guidance for the information and communication technology (ICT) community to help them speed architecture, design and deployment of interoperable, efficient, and scalable e-Health infrastructures and solutions for the health industry.

    See you there!

    -- Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist, @openatmicrosoft

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Apache Stonehenge new M2 release adds claims-based authentication scenarios


    Web Services protocols have been around for ten years now. The specifications around these protocols have moved through major standards bodies and most vendors and open source projects have implementations of these web services protocols in their products. That being said, connecting heterogeneous platforms in an interoperable manner hasn’t always been easy. That’s why Microsoft and other vendors initiated the Apache Stonehenge incubator project, a little more than a year ago, “to develop a set of sample applications to demonstrate seamless interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols. By having a set of sample applications, with multiple language and framework implementations will become a useful and important part of the SOA landscape” (quote from the Why Apache Stonehenge? page).

    Our goal was to show that you can run an application across different platforms using different technologies purely on the foundation of the Web Services protocols and standards.

    Launched in January 2009, Stonehenge is designed to provide a public forum to test the interoperability of WS-* protocols on different technical stacks and to build open source sample applications that could provide best practices and coding guidelines for better interoperability.

    It is helpful for customers and the industry to have multiple implementations of these standards and have the ability to choose the best ones for their scenarios and requirements. Customers get working code on multiple platforms and vendors catch bugs and test interoperability issues in an open manner.

    The first version “M1” of the Stock Trader sample application showcased the main Web Services standards, including WS-Security.

    Today, we are glad to announce the availability of Stonehenge “M2”, the second iteration, now including WS-Trust 1.4 and WS-FED 1.1 protocols for claims-based authentication scenarios.


    This allows the end-users’ to be authenticated through an independent Security Token Service (STS) that is trusted by the bank and to pass that token to the broker to process the transaction.


    Watch the video with Kent Brown (Product Manager, Microsoft) and I where we introduce Stonehenge and Kent presents an actual demo.

    People can download the M1 and M2 releases of Apache Stonehenge from http://www.apache.org/dist/incubator/stonehenge and the documentation is up on the wiki: https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/STONEHENGE/Index

    We are looking forward to working with the community to shape out the next steps. As always, if you have feedback, questions, or wishes, please join us on the Stonehenge project site!

    Kamaljit Bath, Principal Program Manager

    Additional links:

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