Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Microsoft Should Release Windows Azure This Year

I’m still trying to find and showcase applications using Windows Azure

Some time ago I wrote an article about Windows Azure. The reaction to the article was mixed - some agree with the “cloud” confusion and the lack of release dates, others (mostly Microsoft guys) asking for more time so the technologies will evolve; and last but not least people trying to explain how I don’t really understand Windows Azure and related technologies (to those, actually that was one of the points of the article - too much confusion).

So I find myself after six months since the release of Windows Azure looking at the same things as before. First, the “cloud” confusion. Everything running on the internet is now “cloud something”. I really appreciate Microsoft’s job of starting the real cloud race (let’s be honest, wasn’t a race until Microsoft came into play, it was more like a slow march), but I still believe they should take the lead and clear the sky of this everything-is-cloud-something confusion before it becomes a cloud jungle.

Second, although there are some advances in supporting other technologies in Windows Azure, like the PHP support released recently, we still don’t know the long term roadmap for supporting other non .NET technologies.

Third, I have to get back to the lack of information about when Windows Azure will be production ready and again, when are we going to have a Service Level Agreement (SLA). More and more companies (…)willing to move to a cloud solution are insisting on SLA. They need to ensure regulatory and legal compliance, integrity and security of their data in the cloud. How can anybody recommend a cloud solution where there’s no warranties of any sort, nor there’s a timeframe for having an SLA. Amazon already has for instance, a white-paper about creating HIPAA compliant medical data applications with Amazon Web Services. When will Microsoft follow? We don’t know, not any time son though. I know Microsoft has a roadmap for Windows Azure, I believe they should be more open and share with the public their long term vision.

Looking back at months of observing the development of Windows Azure and other cloud related technologies, there are a few things I noticed worth talking about. I’ll start wit the “cold RSS syndrome” where not too long after the initial release back in October 2008, when lots of Microsoft people were blogging about the new service, the RSS feeds of their blogs started getting colder and colder. This can be a sign they’re busy, or it’s just a sign they’re not that excited anymore. Even the official page of Windows Azure seems outdated.

Another trend emerging in the cloudosphere, is that every time Amazon or Google is making a move in this field, everybody looks at Microsoft and asking themselves “when Windows Azure will have this feature?”. It was the case with the recent release of Amazon’s MapReduce when the twittersphere and blogosphere were flooded with questions like “is there a Microsoft alternative to to this?”

Talking about alternatives, there’s a couple of services Microsoft must have for Windows Azure to be a complete solution and to dominate the cloud universe: a similar service to DevPay from Amazon, and a “Google for Domains” alternative. I hear this almost every day from developers and people getting into the cloud arena: the business model innovation is more important than technical innovation; how can I make money faster. Microsoft should realize that developers don’t look anymore just for cool tools to build cool services, they look for ways to quickly monetize on an investment they make and they will choose the cloud provider that will take them faster to the end-goal.

We’re in (almost) May, and there’s word from Microsoft they’ll announce the pricing of Windows Azure “this summer”. I really hope, they’re not only announcing the pricing, but actually announcing a release date (and a date for the SLA). I believe PDC in november will be too late to make the announcement, TechEd is too soon.

So, why Microsoft won’t release Windows Azure this year?

First reason is the reliability of the service. Since the beginning, Windows Azure has been plagued by server failures, service interruptions, buggy load balancers and security issues. Remember, Windows Azure is running in only one data center in North America, soon to run in another one, also in North America. Feeling safe already? I’d like to know what services from Microsoft are running fully on Windows Azure. Unless Microsoft is using Windows Azure in their commercial products, it is hard to believe any serious businesses will be built on this platform.

Second reason is the pricing model. I don’t believe they have it figured out. Period. It will take some time for them to come up with a straight forward, manageable pricing scheme. And remember, they also need to build good, reliable tools to record resource usage, no matter what the pricing model will be. This takes time and lots of testing (I hope), before playing with real money.

The third reason why Microsoft will not release Windows Azure this year is the scope of this endeavor. We know Microsoft is working on releasing the “on premises” Windows Azure solution together with the online version, which I think is a mistake. Also, they’re trying to match too many features to competitors’ features, instead of releasing a robust, basic, SLA backed cloud offering.

Microsoft does lots of things right: they are building a plethora of useful services, they are building the best development tools, they advertise, demo and evangelize their services like no other company, they opened the platform to other non-Microsoft programming technologies (PHP, Ruby) and they are releasing lots of source code. However, time is money, and in the real world people want to make money now, not waiting indefinitely for an SLA. So I do believe Microsoft should release something this year.

I’ll be in Los Angeles at TechEd in a couple of weeks, talking to people there about Windows Azure/Cloud Computing and blogging about it. You can also follow me on twitter @airimie, I’ll also tag #techedazure any interesting cloud/azure talk. Any suggestions or if you wanna talk to me at the event, send me an email.

Also, I’m still trying to find and showcase applications using Windows Azure. Unfortunately there aren’t many out there, so if you’re building an application based on Windows Azure and want to be showcased on this blog, please feel free to send me an email.

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 (0)

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
As-a-service models offer huge opportunities, but also complicate security. It may seem that the easiest way to migrate to a new architectural model is to let others, experts in their field, do the work. This has given rise to many as-a-service models throughout the industry and across the entire technology stack, from software to infrastructure. While this has unlocked huge opportunities to accelerate the deployment of new capabilities or increase economic efficiencies within an organization, i...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/...
Redis is not only the fastest database, but it has become the most popular among the new wave of applications running in containers. Redis speeds up just about every data interaction between your users or operational systems. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Dave Nielsen, Developer Relations at Redis Labs, will share the functions and data structures used to solve everyday use cases that are driving Redis' popularity
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Machkey International Company will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Machkey provides advanced connectivity solutions for just about everyone. Businesses or individuals, Machkey is dedicated to provide high-quality and cost-effective products to meet all your needs.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...