Thinking about the cloud
So last day at PDC (Thursday) - no big announcements or showcases today. I just went to Gianpaolo Carraro's session on expanding applications to the cloud - a kind of architectural guidance talk which might contextualise cloud computing if you're feeling a little dazed and confused about the whole thing.
He used some real world examples of a voting system, an electricity generation analogy and the video recording of PDC sessions to illustrate the concept of scale/availability vs. control. Recommended to help get your head (and convince others) of the concepts.
Programming the cloud
On Tuesday Don Box and Chris Anderson did a tour de force session, coding on stage in front of 6500 people - no powerpoint, no video, just old fashioned programming. What they illustrated - very well - is that developers already have the skills and knowledge to use Windows Azure. The .NET framework and uniform programming model that you already know is exactly the same in Azure.
So, using only Windows Vista and Visual Studio 2008 they created a local service, showed it working then, with a few minor tweaks to an XML config file, published it to Azure and showed it working. That's a gross simplification of their talk but it really drive home the the concept that with Azure we're extending into the cloud rather than migrating or converting.
Off to a session on the device mesh. Interesting that mesh - which is such a cool technology - is but one small piece of the Windows Azure platform. We've been talking about mesh as a development framework but I think most people saw it purely as a niche file synchronisation app - I imagine the depth of the mesh model is becoming apparent to PDC attendees and viewers.
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