Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Elizabeth White, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Xenia von Wedel, David Williamson, Dan Blacharski

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
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 how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...

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 platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
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 of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...