Tagged: azure

We’re separating but will stay friends

Things change.  I’m not talking about my wife, job or car.  I’m talking about myself and infrastructure consisting of servers, storage and networking.  I don’t want underutilized resources that take time to manage and don’t let me get things done.

Let me explain.  I flew into Boston to give a couple of Executive Briefings on the Virtual Datacenter this week.  Some customers saw exactly where I was going and others probably thought I was insane.  I started at a high level and then went into the details but here’s the problem. When we talk about infrastructure becoming a pool of resources that you’re able to push and pull workloads into and out of, some people think it’s fairytale land.  It’s not.  I used to build my own computers but I don’t anymore.  I buy one that has the most, not all, of the best technology and is good enough.


DIY vs All-in-one - DIY image via ~keiby on flickr


What they see:

  1. Complex infrastructure with many moving parts
  2. Legacy applications, some virtualization adoption
  3. Thick fog that’s hard to see through
  4. They think they’ll have to trust something new

What I see:

  1. A multi-step process that takes time
  2. Virtualization allows us to focus less on the boxes, cables and spinning platters
  3. Platforms (Springsource with Azure, Amazon’s AWS also qualifying) enabling quicker development
  4. We can make existing infrastructure and software better

Infrastructure AND platforms are both part of the “Stack” and “Cloud” conversation.  It’s about businesses being able to let their most valuable asset (their people) work on deploying applications faster instead of provisioning servers.  Yes, the “server huggers” and “IT pros” as Brian Prince (Azure Evangelist at Microsoft) calls them, will still be needed to make sure we’re architecting and deploying apps properly on the infrastructure.

Change is ok.  Things aren’t perfect but continually improving.  Most of us drive cars instead of ride horses and we buy clothes instead of make our own.  People trust technology (network, shared storage, memory, etc) and build around its faults (RAID etc.).

Recently I was bluntly accused of spouting an EMC-centric view.  As if other technology companies didn’t see it this way too.  Guess what, it’s not just EMC, it’s many end-users and vendors both who share this view.  The view of and challenges posed to enterprise customers is much different from those faced by sometimes smaller and more public-facing web service companies.  I get it.  There are still security challenges, management challenges, and legacy application challenges but before so quickly dismiss stacks and cloud, open your mind a bit.

Here are some notes I took during the keynote at the 2009 Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference I attended months before joining EMC.

Session: Bridging the private and public Cloud

  • Move has been to get higher utilization
  • It’s about the applications and working to get them into the cloud


  • Build rich apps for the cloud while preserving app symmetry w/ the enterprise
  • Frictionless deployment across the spectrum
  • New breed of apps that span from on-premises to cloud

Getting Ready for Microsoft PDC09

I was invited as an “influencer” to attend the 2009 Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference by Brian Prince.  This is my first PDC and I’m absolutely stoked to be here.  The event is important because it is the official launch of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

In case you don’t know what Azure is, here’s a description from Microsoft’s web site:

The Windows Azure platform offers an intuitive, reliable and powerful platform for the creation of web applications and services.

The Windows Azure platform is comprised of Windows Azure: an operating system as a service; SQL Azure: a fully relational database in the cloud; and .NET Services: consumable web-based services that provide both secure connectivity and federated access control for applications.

Currently in Community Technology Preview (CTP), the services are free to evaluate through January 2010. We will begin charging customers on February 1st, 2010.

I’m excited to be a part of such a big event for Microsoft. One thing that seems to be consistent is that this is not your dad’s Microsoft. Their cloud group started with twenty engineers and has ramped up over the last couple of years.

Like I’ve done in the past, here’s a “What I want out of PDC09” list. If there’s something you would like out of PDC, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.

  1. Get the latest updates on the Azure stack
  2. Understand the limitations and where different services are best used
  3. See how Azure addresses challenges like deployment, scaling, security and private cloud integration
  4. Understand how Microsoft is making their software cloud-aware
  5. Talk to more people using Azure and see examples of how they are using it

Much of it is cloud-focused because I spend a bit of my time running Indy Cloud Users and involved with CloudCamp. It has been awhile since I’ve spent time with developers so I’m sure I will be learning a lot. I’ve been impressed with the dynamic nature of the company and individuals like Brian who deliver the message about what Microsoft is doing.