Microsoft today announced that the Azure (cloud services) group is leaving Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s adtech team for the mainline product organization. Azure is being combined with the Windows Server & Solutions Group run by Bill Laing to form the Server & Cloud Division (SCD) under Senior Vice President Amitabh Srivastava reporting to Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools business. If your scorecard is getting a little crowded with all the crossouts and connecting lines, Mary Jo Foley persuaded a Microsoft spokesman to provide the current Server and Tools lineup:
1. Business Online Services Division (led by David Thompson) (*NOTE: development only)
2. Business Platform Division (led by Ted Kummert)
3. Developer Division (led by S. Somagasar)
4. Identity and Security Division (led by Lee Nackman)
5. Management and Services Division (led by Brad Anderson)
6. Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE, led by Walid Abu-Hadba)
7. Server and Tools Marketing Group (STMG, led by Robert Wahbe)
8. Server and Cloud Division (led by Amitabh Srivastava)
Commercially availability will coincide with the Professional Developer Conference 2009 (November 17-20, 2009). There is currently a free Community Technology Preview (CTP).
Commercial Pricing for the 3 Azure Components:
- Compute @ $0.12 / hour
- Storage @ $0.15 / GB stored
- Storage Transactions @ $0.01 / 10K
- Web Edition – Up to 1 GB relational database @ $9.99
- Business Edition – Up to 10 GB relational database @ $99.99
- Messages @ $0.15/100K message operations, including Service Bus messages and Access Control tokens
Bandwidth across all three services will be charged at $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB. Storage is metered in units of average daily amount of data stored (in GB) over a monthly period. Microsoft is also providing a service level agreement covering uptimes and more.
For those who find the usage based pricing somewhat complex and unpredictable, subscription plans will be announced at launch time and there also will be a variety of promotional offers. As always there are more technical details at http://www.azure.com.
Tom Warren at Neowin has the skinny on 3 new cloud computing applications that Microsoft is planning to announce at the Mobile World Congress in February:
SkyBox is a service for users to sync a phones information with the web. Microsoft will be offering automatic backup and restore services, access and management of phone data and provide easy communication and sharing with others. The service will also allow syncing of contacts, email/SMS, calendar items and pictures into the cloud, similar to Apple’s MobileMe. The difference from Apple’s offering is Microsoft could be set to offer this out to non Windows Mobile devices.
SkyLine will be aimed at small businesses. Offering similar functionality to SkyBox, businesses will be able to setup their phones with Microsoft’s Exchange hosting with their own domain names.
SkyMarket is the codename for Microsoft’s mobile marketplace, a competitor to Apple’s AppStore and RIM’s Blackberry application center. This service will only be available on Windows Mobile devices and will showcase the 1000s of Windows Mobile applications available today.
SkyMarket was revealed back in August 2008 and yes, it is a bit of stretch to call an online store a cloud app.. The same sources also suggest that Microsoft will unveil Windows Mobile 6.5 at the same conference.
It wasn’t the cloud operating system promised by Steve Ballmer, but Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform revealed yesterday by Ray Ozzie at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference will surely get Microsoft a place at the table with the other big cloud platform players like Amazon and Google.
So what’s in the Azure Services Platform? A bit of old and and a bit of new:
Unlike many of today’s service-based solutions, the Azure Services Platform provides developers with the flexibility and ability to create applications while taking advantage of their existing skills, tools and technologies such as the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio. Developers also can choose from a broad range of commercial or open source development tools and technologies, and access the Azure Services Platform using a variety of common Internet standards including HTTP, representational state transfer (REST), WS-* and Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub).
Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:
• Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking
• Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting
• Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control
• Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites
• Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud
A limited community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform was made available to PDC2008 attendees. There were no promises on commercial availability or pricing although according to Ray Ozzie (via Nicholas Carr):
During its preview stage, Windows Azure will be available for free to developers. Once the platform launches commercially – and, according to Ozzie, Microsoft will be "intentionally conservative" in rolling out the full platform – pricing will be based on a user’s actual consumption of CPU time (per hour), bandwidth (per gigabyte), storage (per gigabyte) and transactions. The actual fee structure has not been released, though Ozzie says it will be "competitive with the marketplace" and will vary based on different available service levels.
There are more technical details at http://www.azure.com.