Live from PDC 2009 Day 1

Today was the Azure day. A lot of news around it and of course the announcement of the commercial availability starting 1.1.2009. Azure will be commercially available for Switzerland on the same date.

Here a brief summary of the new feature in Windows Azure:

  • Direct communication between role instances. No needs to use queue to communicate across roles or across instances of the same role.
  • Support for rolling updates across change domains one domain at a time
  • Windows Azure Diagnostics library.It enables logging using standard .NET api.
  • Certificate Management for SSL certificates
  • Variable size VMs. You can pickup the size of the VM that fits you best.
    VMs size that are available (cpu, ram, hd):

1.6 GHz
1.75 GB
225 GB

2 x 1.6 GHz
3.5 GB
490 GB

4 x 1.6 GHz
7 GB
1,000 GB

Extra large
8 x 1.6 GHz
14 GB
2,040 GB

  • External endpoints for worker roles. You can now define external endpoints for HTTP, HTTPS, and TCP, and specify the desired port number.
  • Windows Azure Drive
    The Windows Azure Drive allows Windows Azure applications to mount a Page Blob, which is a single volume NTFS VHD. All writes in the application are made durable to the blob, and reads come out of the local VM cache or the page blob if there is a cache miss. This allows applications to upload/download VHDs via blobs, and the VHD is durable and survives the failover of the VM, since it is backed by a paged blob.
  • CDN support for storage blogs
    A content delivery network (CDN) enhances end user performance and reliability by placing copies of data, at various points in a network, so that they are distributed closer to the user. A client accesses a copy of the data near to the client, as opposed to all clients accessing the same set of central servers (called Origins), thereby causing a bottleneck near these Origin servers.
  • Windows Azure Service Management APIs. REST based APIs that enable customers to automate the deployment, management and scaling of their application.
  • Admin right and remote desktop administration of VM with the possibility to snapshot the VM. This allow you to install and configure whatever software you want to run on the VM (not yet available).

Microsoft Project Dallas

Microsoft codename ‘Dallas’ is a community technology preview (CTP) of a Windows Azure and SQL Azure-powered Information service that provides developers and information workers access to third party premium data sets and web services. ‘Dallas’ also enables self-service business intelligence and analytics over stored data sets using existing Microsoft technologies.

With the power and scale of the Windows Azure platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure Database), Dallas provides developers with the ability to build and manage innovative applications across the desktop and mobile devices by bringing together disparate sets of private and public data, both on premises and in the cloud. Via a single marketplace, Dallas enables developers to access complex data sets to build entirely new analytic and reporting scenarios. And content providers are able to expose their data to millions of developers on a global level enabling new growth and revenue opportunities.

Microsoft SQL Azure Data Sync

Microsoft SQL Azure Data Sync is tooling and runtime to enable data synchronization with SQL Azure. This technology facilitates two key scenarios that are not available with other cloud platforms today, extending current on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, and producing clients with offline/cached-mode support. Extending on-premises data to the cloud allows for information to be easily shared with mobile users, business partners, remote offices and enterprise data sources all while taking advantage of new services in the cloud. This technology provides a bridge, allowing on-premises and off-premises applications to work together. Using cached mode enables developing clients with an improved user experience through lower latency and higher availability. Additionally cached mode provides the benefits of lower network utilization and better server scale through lower load and a better ability to schedule work.

Future features of SQL Azure

  • data base clones that enable you to do transactional snapshot of your db and make it available even geo locate. You can then even promote the snapshot as the new active db. This enable backups and restores. Expected 1H10
  • full backup and restore functionality. Expect 2H10
  • fan out queries across DBs (distributed queries)
  • large size DBs (maybe around 50 GB)

Microsoft Project Sydney

A new product to enable enterprises to securely connect on premise servers with services running on Azure. E.g. A web role talking with an on premise SQL. Sydney will come in beta next year.


Finally Velocity and Dublin find an home as app server under AppFabric. The app server will be available next year for Azure too.


Greetings from LA

Ronnie Saurenmann

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