Going Deep

Expert to Expert: Amitabh Srivastava - Windows Azure and Cloud Computing

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You first learned about Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform at PDC08. Remember that? Yeah. It's been a while since we first unveiled our cloud computing offering. Now that the hysteria has died down, we thought it wise to go learn the details behind and inside Azure. Who better for this next iteration of Expert of Expert than Windows Azure VP Amitabh Srivastava? Exactly.

Amitabh is a computer scientist turned VP. Lucky for us, he chose the Azure project (formerly known as Red Dog) to put his IQ to work. He built a great team including the venerable and mysterious genius David Cutler (what did David build for Azure, anyway? Tune in...). Much brain power followed the trail to Azure clad in red sneakers with distributed visions of cloud computing in their heads. What would they make? How will it evolve?  

What is Azure, exactly? Why are we (Microsoft) doing this? What does cloud computing really mean, anyway? Why "Red Dog" for the code name? Is this just hosting? How is Azure different than what, say, Amazon has already been doing for a few years? What's the score here? What's next?

Erik Meijer leads the questioning and Amitabh does a great job explaining things in a readily understandable way. Great stuff!




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    The Discussion

    • Justin Bailey
      Charles - have you seen Code Canvas frmo Kael Rowan at MSR? It looks SOOO cool and the only info out there is an old video on his blog. Will you consider talking to him? I want to know more! Check out the video at http://blogs.msdn.com/kaelr/archive/2009/03/26/code-canvas.aspx.

      Sorry to hijack here, but I'm not sure how else to get in touch with Charles.

      Can't wait to watch this E2E - thanks again to you and Erik. When are we going to see Erik's lectures???
    • Charles
      Hi Justin,

      I just sent a mail to Kael and Peli (who has been conducting some great interviews with RiSE team members).

      You can always get in touch with me by sending an email to me from the mechanism provided in my profile (like you would for any other Niner).

      Erik's lecture series on Functional Programming is on tap to begin later this spring/early summer. As you can imagine, Erik is a really busy guy and he and his team are working on an impressive suite of new technologies that we can't talk about yet Smiley

      Stay tuned for a lot more Erik (and also Beckman is waiting in the wings for a great chat about what he's been building that is awfully cool....).

      EDIT: In fact, emailing Niners from their profiles is not possible. In the future, use the Contact Us link to email anybody (well, everybody) on the C9 team.
    • banshee
      "Now that the hysteria has died down..."

      I think I'd replace "hysteria" with "yawns."

      At best, you guys are a very, very distant third in mindshare for cloud computing.  Amazon's EC2 and Google's App Engine have left you in the dust.  Time for some panic around here!

    • Charles
      Did you watch and listen to this converstion? I'm not certain you could draw your conclusion if you did. Certainly, at this point, we're new to the game, but the game plan is indeed very promising.

    • Justin Bailey
      Charles -

      Thanks for following up! Looking forward to it ...
    • staceyw

      I have checked out EC2 and was not what I needed.  Azure and EC2 are much different from each other in goal and function. Azure is more in-line with what developers want in a cloud environment imo.   With Azure you publish and run Services.  In EC2 you have a computer image and vm to manage, so its more like they provide you an os and you have to do everything else.  The point of Azure is they abstract a lot of that unneeded work for you and you just concentrate on the service logic, not all the other goo.

    • staceyw
      btw.  What is happening with Volta lately?
    • Charles
      Volta is no longer called Volta, but the technology lives on. Stay tuned.
    • staceyw
      That code canvas looks really cool.  Seems to make sense to layout your code files in a visual way like icons on the destop and be able to group them is various ways and have connectoids, etc.
    • Charles
      Kael is extraordinarily busy right now so this interview is not going happen anytime soon. But, it will happen so stay tuned.
    • staceyw
      In terms of .Net services, I would think this idea makes sense:
      1) Build on Mesh to add a .Net Services UX.  It already has a service process and deployment, so could leverage that.
      2) A UX that allows you easily setup and open a Port on local machine and connect it with a Port on public Azure.
      3) Allow user to configure rules and rights on the port.

      The local Mesh Service port will act as a proxy service to your local app listening on Port X.  Mesh.Net's Proxy port will forward requests to local port on same machine and from the local machine to the public.  It also manages the connection to the Azure service and can enumerate services and stats in the cloud side such as rules lists, metrix, throttle, etc.

      No code, just configuring stuff and you can roll out local app for public access quickly an easily.  Say an ADO.net data service app, a web site, etc.  Seems like a no brainer to me to abstract this in this kind of UX.  You could also hand WorkFlows off triggers on the proxy to launch workflows that could do various things - or just launch some block of c# or script.

      Maybe instead of hosting in the Mesh client, it may be better as an IIS7 plug-in.  not sure.
    • Mike Mcclurg
      Charles, the MP3 version of this interview seems to be broken. Is there another link I can use to download this MP3? Thanks!

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