Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: James Carlini, Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...