Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

 

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

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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»

Control GoGrid Cloud Programmatically Using Windows PowerShell

Monday, October 13th, 2008 by

MSpowershell GoGrid user Mitch Denny created an outstanding use of the GoGrid API using Windows PowerShell. For the uninitiated, Windows PowerShell is a command line shell and scripting language designed to help IT professionals achieve greater control and productivity through the use of of an admin-focused scripting language, complete with 130 standard command line tools, consistent syntax and utilities (paraphrased from the PowerShell product page). PowerShell runs on Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008 and is a great way for sysadmins to control existing IT infrastructure through scripting.

The GoGrid API has been available for some time now and I have been waiting for a stellar use of it to showcase. (I’m still waiting for a very resourceful developer to use it either to create an iPhone web application or stand-alone application…hint, hint.) Mitch, who is an avid .NET developer from Australia and Senior Consultant at Readify, created a PowerShell Snap-in for GoGrid which uses the GoGrid API. His project, documented here, is open-source, hosted at CodePlex, and seems like will continue to evolve. Currently a Beta2 release, the “PowerShell Snap-in for GoGrid” was designed to “demonstrate how useful it can be for infrastructure-level SaaS providers to expose an API for their customers to use.” Mitch has some good visions on how and why API’s should be available, including:

  • Configure applications for performance testing.
  • Run load agents for performance testing.
  • Test disaster recovery scenarios.
  • Provision hardware for project work (i.e. development teams).
  • Support instructor led training with virtualised labs.
  • Host demonstration environments for presentations.
  • Controlling scale of your underling SaaS infrastructure.

Mitch’s code seems to work quite well. Following his instructions, I actually used it to provision a new load balancer within my GoGrid instance. It simply worked and took just a few minutes to set up. It’s actually fun executing the commands within PowerShell and watching devices magically appear within the GoGrid GUI.

What you need to get started:

  1. A GoGrid accountsign up now!. You will need access to the GoGrid portal in order to create an API Key.
  2. Windows PowerShell – download it from the Microsoft website here. Be sure to select the proper version for your OS. Have it fully installed before you start.
  3. The PowerShell Snap-In for GoGrid – this is the CodePlex project page, current version is “GoGrid 1.0 (BETA2)”. As of this writing, some of the Wiki pages describing some of the actions have not been fully built out but I expect that to change over time. The Snap-In is available for download in the upper right of the project page.

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