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Welcome Windows Azure - PDC Day 1 Keynote Recap

Jim O'Neil

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Welcome Windows Azure - PDC Day 1 Keynote Recap

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I thought I'd summarize the key points that I came away with from this morning's PDC keynote.  Today's session was focused on infrastructure, so nothing yet on Windows 7 or .NET Framework 4.0; that's on tap for tomorrow.  If you want to catch the entire keynote (it ran about 1:45), it's available on-demand now at the PDC site.  I tuned in to the live-blogging session as well, which was kind of fun, but it had a higher noise ratio than I'd hoped (comments on red shoes, etc. - you'll have to watch the keynote to get the references though!).   There's a bit of a delay in the keynote feed too, so some of the live blog comments were 'ahead' making it a little puzzling at first.  You can tap into the blog feed from Mary Jo Foley's blog tomorrow (or replay today's) if you like.

  • Windows AzureRay Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, announced the community technology preview (CTP) of Windows Azure, which he characterized as an extension of Microsoft's infrastructure into the web-tier.  Windows Azure will enable a new breed of cloud-computing solutions, designed from the outset for global usage and reach versus via the traditional 'scale-up' approach.
  • Amitabh Srivastava, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure Services, described Windows Azure is a scalable hosting environment running on a vast number of machines in Microsoft's data center.  At the heart is the 'fabric controller' which enables a separation of the services from the host operating system.  Your job is to provide the code for the service and the model that describes your service's lifecycle, and the fabric controller takes it from there... scaling, upgrades, etc.

    Steve Marx, a Program Manager for Windows Azure, built a small "Hello World" application to drive home how you can leverage your existing Visual Studio and .NET programming expertise to deploy a cloud service (http://hellocloud.cloudapp.net).  Jonathan Greensted, CEO of Sentient, also took the stage to announce Bluehoo, a mobile, Bluetooth-enabled social networking application that leverages Windows Azure.
  • Bob Muglia, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Servers and Tools Business, reiterated enabling the building of applications that scale out to the web-tier and how the Azure Services Platform will enable closer collaboration between software development and IT, resulting in lower cost solutions for globally-scaled applications.   He dived a bit deeper to describe the .NET Services piece of Windows Azure (including focus on Workflow Foundation to span on-premises applications and the cloud) and laid the roadmap for SQL Services (a scale-out version of SQL Server in the cloud), which will eventually include data synchronization, data mining services, geospatial capabilities, ETL and more.
  • Dave Thompson, Corporate Vice-President for Microsoft Online, took the anchor spot to detail how to extend Microsoft Online services via Windows Azure and announced that *all* of Microsoft's enterprise software would eventually be available in the cloud, with our key-value proposition being the user experience.  He brought some of that to light with a demo involving the on-line manifestations of Office, Dynamics CRM, and Sharepoint - with a Silverlight front-end!
  • Ray Ozzie wrapped things up, but didn't yet answer the one obvious question: "how much"?   He did note that pricing would be competitive with the marketplace and based on a combination of resource consumption and a negotiated level of surface.  Those participating in the CTP, which attendees of PDC get first shot at, are able to use the services for free.
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