Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Ian Khan, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: 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

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

At 15th Cloud Expo, Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, demos a video delivery platform that helps you do interactive videos. He discusses how Harbinger is accomplishing it in the cloud world, the problems they faced and the choices they made to get around these problems.
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at ...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
Mobile commerce traffic is surpassing desktop, yet less than 20% of sales in the U.S. are mobile commerce sales. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, at Verizon Digital Media Services, defined mobile devices and discussed how next generation means simplification. It means taking your digital content and turning it into instantly gratifying experiences.
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by your analysts and designers, and the resulting application built by your developers, there is a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral out of control, and applications fall short of requirements. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a new approach where business and development users collaborate – each using tools appropriate to their goals and expertise – to build mo...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
NuoDB just introduced the Swifts 2.1 Release. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., discussed why scaling databases in the cloud is challenging, why building your application on top of the infrastructure that is designed with this in mind makes a difference, and what you can do with NuoDB that simplifies your programming model, your operations model.
"SOASTA built the concept of cloud testing in 2008. It's grown from rather meager beginnings to where now we are provisioning hundreds of thousands of servers on a daily basis on behalf of customers around the world to test their applications," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.