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Posts Tagged ‘Azure’

 

The Microsoft/Danger/T-Mobile Sidekick Fiasco is NOT a Failure of Cloud Computing!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 by

sidekickblue_flame Over the past few days, I have seen a lot of articles, tweets and commentary about how the recent failure within Danger (who was purchased by Microsoft about a year ago) of data for the T-Mobile Sidekick was “the Cloud’s fault,” and this really bothered me. As Microsoft is poised to do something with the Danger brand (“Project Pink“) as well as soon release their Cloud Computing Platform called Azure, this could not have come at a worse time for them. There is obviously a lot of attention being paid to the cell phone market place as the Android platform is trying to make a positioning move to attempt to dethrone Apple’s iPhone. The Danger (now Microsoft) Sidekick was a device that provided great functionality “back in the day” (I actually went through quite a few generations of Sidekicks – from the B&W version up to a few color ones a few years ago). The Sidekick has a tiny market share and the user demographic is really much younger (e.g., teens) than the iPhone/Android/Blackberry crowd.

Last week, the Danger data network started experiencing some degradation of service where users were unable to access their data. A quick side note about the Sidekick, unlike other data-containing cellphones, the Sidekick stores all of the data (contacts, appointments, pictures, etc.) in a network datastore and not within the device itself. Most users rely solely on this service and don’t back up their data to a local computer. Other “smarter” phones like the Blackberry and iPhone rely on data synchronization with a physical computer or an Exchange Server to reliably back up their data. In my opinion, this is where the failure of the Sidekick started – single remote source of data only.

Details on the data issue are still being revealed (recently, there is a discussion about “dogfooding” or even “sabotage” where Microsoft may have wanted to replace the existing technology with their own – I will let the conspiracy theory experts battle that one out) but my understanding is that Microsoft wanted to upgrade the SAN (Storage Area Network) that powered the Sidekick data network and contracted with Hitachi to get the job done. Unfortunately for reasons unknown, no backup of the data was performed prior to this upgrade attempt (Failure #2). The upgrade of the SAN proceeded without a backup in place and the data was “destroyed” resulting in thousands of Sidekick users stuck without their data. As of this writing, some users have actually been able to recover data (e.g., if they didn’t power off their device or if they did a “reverse sync” from their Sidekick back to the Danger servers – I don’t have details on this so please don’t try anything without doing any research first).

This brings me back to the title of this post: this fiasco is NOT a failure of Cloud Computing, it is simply a failure of not following standard IT practices, ones that even an average computer user knows. Back up your data, your servers and your infrastructure regularly and store it securely in different locations.

It is somewhat understandable (and unfortunate) that mainstream media and even the tech community jump so quickly to the conclusion that the Cloud is at fault here. Cloud Computing is relatively new and as with any new technology or service, people are looking for any and all holes therein. The same could be said about the launch of eCommerce back in the mid-1990′s. There were failures, fraud and other issues associated with it and the naysayers were quick to point out only the negatives of the movement. Today, people use eCommerce for everything and could not live without it (there are still issues with fraud and security but the technology has evolved and stabilized). Cloud Computing is now going through a similar hype-cycle and we are in the phase where many are adopting and using it wholeheartedly but others are sitting in wait, hoping for some sort of a failure to point out the disadvantages of it.

With recent Gmail failures, users were quick to blame the Cloud. Gmail is a great example of a SaaS application (which many, including me, call a “Cloud Application”). However, Gmail has been around longer than the term “Cloud Computing” so have we simply compartmentalized it into a Cloud Application category? It is not a huge issue if we have. However, what DOES bother me is when a failure happens therein and people simply say “oh, it’s the Cloud’s fault”. Sorry, but what would we have said if a similar failure happened 4 years ago? “Oh, it’s a failure of SaaS” and “SaaS is evil”?

(more…) «The Microsoft/Danger/T-Mobile Sidekick Fiasco is NOT a Failure of Cloud Computing!»

Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by

crystal-ball_cloudy After about a year of Cloud Computing under my belt, analyzing trends in the market, talking with various professionals as well as customers in the space and watching our own Cloud Computing product, GoGrid, take off as a Cloud Computing leader and innovator, I feel that it is time to make some 2009 predictions for Cloud Computing. Who would have guessed that 2008 would have been “The Year of the Cloud“? I think that 2009 will be “The Year of the CLOUDS” (emphasis on multiple).

A Quick Look Back

If you look back to January 2008, the players in Cloud Computing were few are far between. Obviously, Amazon was breaking ground in establishing themselves as the front-runner at that time. But the term was too new and largely undefined. One of my first blog posts discussed some trends of grid computing, virtualization & virtualized hosting, cloud computing and “green hosting.” For the most part, many of those concepts have not changed. Rather, they have evolved, grown and become more established as leading technologies for the future. As of the writing of that article, GoGrid was still in Private Beta, but with well over 2 years of development getting it ready for prime time.

Virtualization was definitely the buzzword of the beginning of 2008, mainly because it was something that people could fairly easily understand. There were several desktop virtualization products available for users to host different OS’s within their own OS. As Jeff Kaplan predicted, On-Demand services started to really take off for several reasons that are applicable even today (if not more so). His number 1 reason: “Services are Recession Proof” (more about that later in my predictions). While Jeff’s ideas were largely focused on SaaS, there is a lot to be said when you apply them to Cloud Computing in general.

Close to when GoGrid was launched at the end of March 2008, coincidentally(?) the search term “Cloud Computing” (according to Google Insight) really started a strong upward trend within World Wide Searches:

Google_insight_Cloud_computing_2007-8

(more…) «Ten Cloud Computing Predictions for 2009»

Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by

Updated: 12:30 PM 10.27.08

azure_logo At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Microsoft unveiled their entrance into Cloud Computing with the launch of the Azure Services Platform. Billed as "an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers," Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud.

Azure is designed to allow Microsoft developers "to quickly and easily create applications running in the cloud using their existing skills with Microsoft Visual Studio development environments and the .NET Framework." More information on the Azure Services Platform can be seen here.

Obviously with the information just being released hours ago, there is plenty of speculation around the features and functionality of this new Cloud. So I thought that I would quickly put down my thoughts as to how this plays in the current Cloud offerings as they exist. First, let’s take a look at the Cloud Pyramid:

image

Some quick notes:

  • From the naming (Cloud Service Platform), Azure is clearly positioned as a "Platform" play here.
  • This is the Ray Ozzie’s "Red Dog" project…probably why some of the presenters were wearing red shoes (?)
  • Cloud Platforms, traditionally, offer development environments, using technologies that are somewhat restrictive or proprietary
  • Azure introduces certain Services (e.g., .NET and SQL Services) as a means to Extend the functionality of the platform (e.g., Cloud Extender)
  • Most similar to the Azure Cloud would be Google’s App Engine (where Python and possibly soon other languages are required for usage)
  • With Azure, you do not get access to the root Operating System, as you would with an Infrastructure offering, which means you will be restricted to only what Microsoft enables within the Platform
  • Azure pricing is not immediately available, however: (more…) «Microsoft Launches Azure Cloud Services Platform – My Quick Takes on This»