ARC201 The Windows Azure Platform: When and Why to Use It – David Chappell
David Chappell is a really nice calm guy with a lot of intelligent ways (like pauses) to get his message across in a presentation. He doesn’t feel like a technical geek (like me), but still at least seems to have a lot of knowledge about the things he is talkning about albeit at a higher (architectural) level. Simply put: he is really easy to listen to.
So, what did he say?
- The cloud is the sixth category of computing platforms since the beginning, the other ones are mainframes, minicomputers, pc:s, mobiles and servers.
- Azure applications only run in user mode. Can’t use admin mode. (Not clear exactly what he defined as admin mode – probably just in the general sense.)
- Future versions of Azure will probably allow more and more access to the VM.
- Azure storages facilities are blobs, tables and queues.
- Azure Tables are not tables, and should therefore never have been called that.
- .NET Services are part of the Azure platform, but have little to do with .NET. Is a service bus and an access control helper.
- More VM sizes will be announced at PDC. Now only the smallest type of VM has a price.
- Scenarios where Azure is valid are for: scale, reliability, variable load, short lifetimes, parallel processing, startups failing quickly, neutral grounds.
- There is no lock-in like cloud lock-in.
- Remember that if you shut down a VM or Sql Azure database, everything is gone the next month.
- Hosting is in no way going away.
- Three biggest competitor are Amazon (AWS, EC2, EDS), Google (AppEngine) and Force.com.
- Amazons VM:s runs Windows and are your own – better admin capabilities, no fabric/autoscaling. RDS for data is based on MySQL.
- Google AppEngine only supports Python and Java. Has no relational data story. Focused on web startups.
- Force.com has bigger differences. Targets business people. Lock-in forever, but otherwise works great. Microsoft xCRM might happen and be a contender.
Final verdict: this talk was great!
DAT204 What’s New in Microsoft SQL Azure (*PDC at TechEd) – David Robinson
David Robinson is on the Sql Azure team and sure enough had some information to deliver to us directly from Redmond. Now, my feeling is that Sql Azure is about being as equal to Microsoft Sql Server as possible and therefore it is hard to find features that appeal to you or that you can set to use immediately. What matters is simply what you need to avoid in an application based on Windows Azure and Sql Azure.
- Sql Azure is not database hosting (locked down but autoscalable).
- European data center is only weeks away.
- Dropped server is gone – but might be resurrected with support phone call (only flagged for deletion initially).
- Firewall rules are stored in Master database on server.
- Usage metrics via sys.bandwidth_usage.
- Coming up: sys.database_usage.
- Coming up: automatic partitioning of data in tables between servers (since there is a 1/10 GB limit). Until then there are code drops for doing it in code.
- Limits of 1/10 GB will likeley increase after release of V1.
- Time limit for idle connections are 5 minutes. Be prepared in your code to retry.
- Patterns & Practices will come out with guidance for connections etc.
- Backups will be available after V1.
- Also working on spatial and clr support.
- Reporting services can pull data from Sql Azure today.
- BI in the cloud is in the plans.
- Profiling and visible cpu cycles etc will come after V1.
- Sql Azure will release updates continuously, minor very 8 weeks and mayor twice a year.
- Microsoft Sync Framework will sync between Sql Azure and local Sql Server.
- Don’t put mission critical apps in Sql Azure (yet)!
- Sql Management Studio will be updated this month in order to work with Sql Azure (not only query window, which works today).
Final verdict: this talk was good.
DEV-GEN Developer General Session – Visual Studio 2010: New Challenges, New Solutions – Jason Zander
As already stated, this was a really boring keynote. Of course, it may not have helped that it was right after lunch. I had a hard time staying awake and I don’t even remember what he and other presentors talked about. I do remember that Jason had rewarded a few customers with the opportunity to demonstrate their products or services as the demo part of the keynote. Maybe this was part of the program. I don’t think this is a good idea since it is sooo easy that it turns into a sales talk and a praise talk of Microsoft that lacks credibility.
Final verdict: this talk was a waste of time!