With Azure, Microsoft clarifies its cloud-based computing plans

The next generation of applications might not reside in an enterprise data center on a server, but rather hosted on servers specifically designed for delivering software services, IT experts have said. Steve Harper, president of Network Management Group Inc. in Hutchison, Kan., summed it up: If experienced VARs like his company can bring a number of their existing relationships with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) into the cloud, they're going to succeed even against large vendors. cloud computing technology no matter the delivery model, success all stems from who serves the customer best. One huge advantage of the SaaS model -- if it works as promised -- is that the functionality is almost always "instant on," Rafter said. there is no expecting a boot-up screen and no real latency when the additional capability is requisitioned.n Microsoft's vision of "Windows within the cloud" – dubbed Azure Services Platform -- the longer term of enterprise computing will essentially be a services-based OS for the info center. The platform was unveiled in the week at the Professional Developers Conference 2008 in l. a...

With Azure, Windows developers can use their existing coding skills to develop applications for consumers and businesses alike. call center technology "It's Windows within the cloud, our lowest-level foundation for deploying a service," said Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft. But even thereupon Windows familiarity, developers must recognize that "cloud design point" are some things fundamentally new, Ozzie added. "The systems we are building for cloud-based computing set the stage for subsequent 50 years of computing." In Azure, each processor features a hypervisor that gives a layer of abstraction for programmers. the appliance is broken away the underlying OS so both are managed separately, explained Amitabh Srivastava, a Microsoft corporate vice chairman of next-generation services Azure features a fabric controller that manages the lifecycle of services from deployment to configuration management, he said.

 Further, all components are built to be highly available. the material controller is very redundant and fault-tolerant. information technology degrees"The storage system partitions data across multiple machines, perhaps thousands of machines," Srivastava said Microsoft plans to create intelligent hooks between cloud applications and therefore the local Active Directory. there'll be a service bus that connects the premises systems to the cloud and lets data traverse firewalls Access control is vital," said Bob Muglia, senior vice chairman of Microsoft's server and tools business. "The need is to possess federated identity authority during a heterogeneous way." Developers are going to be ready to write .NET workflow services from premises to a cloud environment employing a tool code-named Geneva. "Overall, our goal is to form claims-based access control as seamless as possible," Muglia said. And Azure will eventually be incorporated into other Microsoft platforms, like Windows Server and products within the System Center family. Microsoft gave no time-frame for the delivery of Azure.

Azure means a big shift for Microsoft Azure will play an identical role as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and Google's App Engine, and any of the multitudes of companies talking about cloud-based computing today. For Microsoft, Azure moves the corporate into a critical market with a good range of latest competition but also represents a fundamental shift to how it operates. Microsoft has always been a PC software company with users on top of things of their own destiny," said Tony Iams, vice chairman and senior analyst at Ideas International Inc., in Rye Brook, N.Y. "Now [Microsoft] has got to return within the direction of IBM where shared services are traveled by a 3rd party. it is the very model [Microsoft] fought within the youth ." Cloud computing concepts have existed for years. What has changed the sport, said Iams, is virtualization technology's ability to abstract virtual machine workloads to represent the service.

"It's a strong thanks to deciding where and when to run workloads supported economic factors," Iams said. "You can decide what you are doing in-house versus what you are doing someplace else," Iams said Microsoft has adapted aggressively to the cultural shift faraway from the one computer and one OS days of the past. Look at the architecture For IT administrators with external-facing applications, Microsoft's plans are worth a significant look, said Rob Helm, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, in Kirkland, Wash., an independent consulting company. "Microsoft will offer enormous scalability compared with anything you're using today," he said. T shops will eventually be ready to decide where to draw the road between keeping applications inside the enterprise or shifting them outside to the cloud. But Direction's Helm said there are many legal and reliability questions that IT managers must consider before they place data in Microsoft's hands.\What if a government decides to subpoena your data straight from Microsoft, or what if Microsoft is subject to an attack and you're stopped from your data?" Helm said. "These operational questions got to be figured out ."

Helm said that over time, cloud applications will become more attractive. "In a way, we are at the equivalent of the MS-DOS PC stage," he said. "Eventually the OS evolved." Dig Deeper on PaaS and other cloud development platforms On the downside, some solution providers counsel caution. For one thing, the offline capabilities of those cloud-based offerings leave tons to be desired. And despite all the progress with Wi-Fi, WiMax and plain-old wiring, Web connectivity remains not ubiquitous. That is yet one more reason VARs got to act as trusted advisors to customers weighing cloud deployment against on-premise implementation. Often the proper account a given customer is a few combinations of both cloud-based and earth-bound worlds. Senior news writer Rivka Gewirtz Little contributed to the present report. Five common cloud computing fears don't let fears about cloud computing prevent you from investigating the technology’s potential to scale back costs and open up space at your company. Below we explore five common concerns enterprises express about adopting cloud computing.1. Proprietary exploitation.

 As Richard Stallman has suggested, cloud computing could be largely a marketing ploy to urge data center managers to spend money on unproven technology. At now, there's some question about whether the cloud can provide concrete benefits for its tag. Open standards for clouds provide justification for not rejecting the cloud just yet because they allow you to select the way to use the cloud. In charging for a narrow definition of cloud services, proprietary cloud service vendors often eliminate that flexibility.2.Lack of transparency. even as clouds are hard to ascertain, your critical system resources stored within a cloud also are difficult to locate. It’s better to possess a clunky, secure set of resources than a less expensive, airy one which may float into someone else’s hands; and public/private access rights to clouds are far away from being established. Also, within the cloud ensuring compliance with existing security standards is difficult.

 There are not any established standards for providers to enforce, and an attacker can modify sensitive data within one.3. Wrestling cloud standards. If you’ve found out solutions to the primary two hurdles the struggle isn't over. Other companies and users may have different ideas about how you ought to administer the cloud and formalize those ideas into standards. Now you’re noncompliant. But noncompliant with what? CTO of Amazon.com Werner Vogels doesn’t just like the term cloud because it can mean numerous various things. So before you opt to be a cloud for Halloween, inspect the study by the browser company Opera. Much of the online has escaped standards compliance also. So perhaps the matter is how standards are created instead of how they're enforced.4. Integration into the existing environment. You dodged the marketing trap, secured your resources, and committed to a cloud configuration that works for you. But now you’ll need to find out the way to integrate the cloud into your existing environment and the way to manage it. Like cloud computing itself, this is often mostly uncharted territory.

 But there are tools available to assist you out like Kaavo and OpenQRM, and RightScale. 5.Loss of service. This month, concern about service outages came true for a couple of Google users who lost access to their outsourced Gmail accounts for nearly 24 hours. Unfortunately, having your services run elsewhere can leave you helpless to urge them back. The choice to use cloud computing brings tons of uncertainty and a few reasons to be wary about the security of your business’s resources within the cloud. and since cloud computing is emerging and largely unproven, it’s still up to you to work out whether the sky is falling or it’s just a passing cloud.rPath offers Cloud Computing Adoption Model, webinarake Sorofman, vice chairman of selling for rPath, which provides technology for virtualizing software applications and managing cloud and virtualized environments, has offered a five-step strategy on the way to ease into cloud computing, and a webinar on the subject Cloud Computing promises to scale back operating costs by increasing infrastructure utilization and reducing server sprawl; to scale back the value of software consumption by allowing business lines to align cost with the value received; and to dramatically improve business agility by compressing deployment cycles and time to value for application functionality,” Sorofman wrote. 

It’s no surprise that cloud has attracted dozens of latest entrants and made incumbent vendors to articulate their own cloud strategy.”For companies curious about moving their infrastructure into the clouds but aren’t sure where to start, rPath’s Cloud Computing Adoption Model offers a group of clear guidelines to assist move the method along. Their model may be a graduated, step by step approach for the adoption of cloud technologies that ought to help traverse the hype and layout a transparent game plan, incrementing toward cloud without putting projects, budgets and careers in danger, consistent with Sorofman. Loosely modeled after the potential Maturity Model (CMM) from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University, the Cloud Computing Adoption Model proposes five steps: Level 1: Virtualization. the primary level of cloud adoption employs hypervisor-based infrastructure and application virtualization technologies for seamless portability of applications and shared server infrastructure.

• Level 2: Cloud Experimentation. Virtualization is taken to a cloud model, either internally or externally, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for computing capacity and because of the reference architecture. Level 3: Cloud Foundations. Governance, controls, procedures, policies, and best practices begin to make round the development and deployment of cloud applications. Initially, Level 3 efforts specialize in internal, non-mission critical applications. Level 4: Cloud Advancement. Governance foundations allow organizations to proportion the number of cloud applications through broad-based deployments within the cloud Level 5: Cloud Actualization. Dynamic workload balancing across multiple utility clouds. Applications are distributed supported cloud capacity, cost, proximity to the user, and other criteria At the top of the day, architectural innovations like the cloud have the transformational potential for enterprises. But the truth is that transformation can’t happen overnight — and it certainly can’t happen without an idea,” Sorofman wrote. 

“While the Cloud Computing Adoption Model might not represent a panacea for enterprise cloud computing, it does provide a context for thinking strategically about the pace, pattern, and sequence of investments and returns which will set organizations on a practical path to the cloud.” rPath is additionally hosting a webinar on this subject, “The Pragmatist’s Guide to Cloud Computing: A 5-Step Framework for Achieving the Strategic Value of Cloud Computing While Delivering Real ROI Along the Way,” on Thursday, October 23, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time/2:00 p.m. Eastern Time  The webinar will feature guest speakers Jeff Barr, senior Amazon Web Services evangelist; Frank Gillett, vice chairman, and principal analyst, Forrester Research; Jeff Schneider, CEO of MomentumSI; and Billy Marshall, founder, and chief strategy officer, rPath. All registrants will receive a complimentary copy of “The rPath 5-Step Framework” alongside the Forrester Research Paper, “Future View: The New Tech Ecosystems of Cloud, Cloud Services and Cloud Computing.” To register for the webinar, visit rPath’s website