Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Michelle Drolet

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, .NET

Cloud Expo: Article

When Are We Going To Have an SLA for Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft should clarify better whether Windows Azure platform is a .NET platform or a “mixed” platform

Alin Irimie's Azure Blog

After more than two “azure” months, with lots of new stuff to learn, a whole new alphabet soup to digest and a dozen or so Microsoft evangelists trying to navigate us through the plethora of “cloud services” that seem to pop up every day from Microsoft’s software-making machine, I believe something is not right with with the way the information is presented to the public or with the overall Microsoft strategy. Let me explain.

First of all, everybody is using nowadays “cloud” to describe anything that runs on the web. Cloud is the new buzzword, and Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon doesn’t make things any better. Before Windows Azure release, it was simple to explain “the cloud” to any CEO - we had Amazon with storage and computing power, we had Google with their app engine and some other smaller “cloud computing” offerings. Everything else was SaaS - Software as a Service. After Windows Azure release, looks like everything Microsoft releases is a “cloud service” - Exchange, Sharepoint, Office, Live Services etc. - just adding to the confusion about what “cloud computing” actually is. I believe Microsoft should have come up with a different buzzword to describe their Software as a Service/Software + Services offerings, one word, not many.

Second, Microsoft should clarify better whether Windows Azure platform is a .NET platform or a “mixed” platform where legacy application can run. Also, when they advertise “Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments“, they should explain better what exactly it means - can I write Erlang code, deploy and run it in the “cloud” or it means that I can access the services from outside the azure cloud? Every time I’m asked to recommend a “cloud” solution for a software application, I struggle with finding the answers to basic questions. Before scalability, reliability, and security, there are more basic questions that need to be answered and Microsoft doesn’t make it any easier. See, it is much easier to pitch an Amazon solution and easier for a CIO/CEO to understand.

Third, Microsoft needs to let us know at least the year Windows Azure will be released. When are we going to have an SLA. Also, please update the case studies on the windows azure website, because believe it or not, people look at them. It will be interesting to see the evolution of the showcased services, because without any updates they are just proof of concepts, evangelism material Microsoft created. And most important thing is - let us know which Microsoft products are using Windows Azure as a platform and how is it used - because unless Microsoft is using their own services, I cannot recommend the platform to anybody (lessons learned from .NET 1.1 release).

As I said, I have a bad feeling about Windows Azure. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something missing, something is not going right with it. Hopefully this new year will bring us some clarity in the clouds.

More Stories By Alin Irimie

Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Matt Rogers at MSFT 04/29/09 10:18:40 AM EDT

Alin, the points you are making are very reasonable, and are largely due to being a service in Community Technology Preview (CTP) rather than a launched service. Unfortunately some of your questions we are not able to answer while still in this mode, but will be resolved as we reach commercial availability later this year.

1) Is Windows Azure a .NET only platform? No, we have committed to opening the platform to most programming languages over time, meaning you will be able to deploy it and run it in our cloud, and also access the services from outside the cloud as you describe above. We took initial steps on this last month with the implementation of FastCGI and support for PHP. This was a step forward, but not the end. More on this later in the year. You can read a recap of where we are now on programming language interoperability in Windows Azure from Steve Marx at http://blog.smarx.com/

2) What year will Windows Azure release? 2009, late in the year. We have not backed down on this, no hedging...we will be commercially available by the end of this year.

3) When are we going to have an SLA? In just a couple months, we have said it will be "this Summer" and we are standing by that.

4) When will we update the case studies on the Windows Azure website? By commercial launch this year, probably much sooner. We are focused on building guidance around the service with the full features and capabilities that will be released later this year rather than the more limited CTP functionality.

5) Which Microsoft services are running on Windows Azure? All online services from Microsoft will move to Windows Azure, and the migration process is underway. We started this project for our own internal services, then added another dimension of making the service available commercially. We will talk about which services have moved later in the year and use our own learnings as case studies including the challenges and benefits we derive.

Matt Rogers
Windows Azure Product Marketing
twitter.com/mattrogerstx

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.