Azure PASS VC session on 24th Sep 2012 Monday: Getting Started with Windows Azure

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Join the Azure PASS VC’s session on “Getting Started with Windows Azure” on:

Date: 24th Sep (Monday)

Time: 11 AM Eastern Time; 8 AM Pacific; 8:30 PM India Time; You can download the event calendar from here

Speaker: Brian Prince, Principal Cloud Evangelist Microsoft

Session Abstract: Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform for quickly building and running scalable applications. We will cover just what the cloud is, as an industry, and what Microsoft is offering. We will see into the data-centers, how they work, and the a high level view of all the components of the platform.

More Details: http://azure.sqlpass.org/

components of windows azure

Quick updates from meet windows azure event for Data Professionals

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1. SQL Azure reporting is generally available and backed by SLA

2. You can now run SQL Server on VM roles

3. Azure was rebranded a while back but quick reminder: SQL Azure was renamed to Windows Azure SQL Database and so in the “new” portal – you’ll see “SQL database” instead of SQL Azure.

I’ll blog about these features as and when I get a chance to play with it.

Read all updates here: Now Available: New Services and Enhancements to Windows Azure

And I updated http://parasdoshi.com/whats-new-in-sql-azure/

Get started on Windows Azure: Attend “Meet Windows Azure” event Online

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On June 7th 2012 – there’s an online event called “Meet Windows Azure” where Scott Gu and his Windows Azure team would introduce the Windows Azure platform. You can register here: http://register.meetwindowsazure.com/

If you’re planning to attend – there’s a very interesting tweet-up planned called “Social meet up on Twitter for MEET Windows Azure on June 7th” – All you have to do is follow #MeetAzure, #WindowsAzure on Twitter & Interact! Simple!

There’s an unofficial blog relay, if you write a post – Tweet it to @noopman – Here is the Blog Relay:

Played with Microsoft research “Project Daytona” – MapReduce on Windows Azure

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Recently, I played with Project Daytona which is a MapReduce on Windows Azure.

It seems like a great “Data Analytic’s as a service”. I tried the k-means and the word-count sample application that comes bundled with the project run-time download: http://parasdoshi.visibli.com/share/z14Ty2

The documentation along with the project guides you in a step by step fashion on how to go about setting up the environment but for those who are curious, here is a brief description on how I setup the environment:

1) Uploaded the sample data-sets to Azure Storage

2) Edited the configuration file (ServiceConfiguration.cscfg) to point to correct Azure Storage

3) Chose the Instance size and the no. of Instances for the deployment

4) Deployed the binaries to Windows Azure (.cspkg and .cscfg)

5) Ran the Word Count Sample

6) Ran the K-means Sample

Conclusion: It was pretty amazing to run MapReduce on Windows Azure. If you are into BigData, MapReduce, Data Analytic’s – then check out “Project Daytona”

That’s about for this post. And what do you think about Project Daytona – MapReduce on Windows Azure?

Great to see neck to neck price competition between Azure and AWS

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[I am referring to price reduction announcements by Azure and AWS in Early March 2012]

This week, Microsoft announced price reduction for Windows Azure compute and storage. Read more here – And even AWS announced price reduction too. Read more here. So it’s great to see neck to neck competition between Azure and AWS. And this is what is great about an economy that is not “monopolized”. To sustain, both Azure and AWS need to compete PLUS they compete with other cloud vendors that are out there too. Hopefully, other cloud vendors would also come up with an aggressive pricing strategy. Also, such competition among vendors would spur innovation and we would see “more features” coming out their factories more often than before (Yay!). And guess what, Who’s the winner? WE the CUSTOMERS!

Also, I noticed a pattern in both announcements that said “We are glad to pass along the savings to customer”. This seems to pointing to the fact that since cloud computing adoption has increased and cloud vendors benefit from Economies at scale – They pass the savings to the customers. And this acts as a catalyst for more adoption!

This seems like an awesome circle:

cycle of cloud vendor price reduction and adoption

I understand that CLOUD ADOPTION is just not triggered by “price reduction”. That’s not what i mean here. But price reduction can sure act as catalyst. Hopefully, in not so distant future, the cloud prices would be so lucrative that setting up private data-centers would be a “thing of past” (unless you are governed by laws to have your own data-center or some other policy that restricts you from cloud adoption).

And I am also not comparing the price reduction “directly” because it would be like comparing Apples and Oranges. But what I hoped to point out was that we as customers would see more price reduction, more features, better experience because of the neck to neck competition among cloud vendors.

And That’s about it for this post. Your feedback is welcome!

And Let’s connect! I Look forward to Interacting with you on any of these people networks:

paras doshi blog on facebookparas doshi twitterparas doshi google plusparas doshi linkedin

Cloud Models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) explained with examples

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Let’s try understanding each Cloud Model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) with Example.

For IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) example, We have Amazon Web services

For PaaS (Platform as a Service) example, we have Windows Azure.
[Update 7th June 2012: Windows Azure is Now a PaaS as well as IaaS]

For SaaS (Software as a Service) example, we have Google Apps.

Of course, there are other examples out there but I have used Azure, EC2 and Google Apps for a while now and so I was able to tear them apart and understand why they belong to a particular cloud Model.

 

Let’s start from SaaS with Google Apps as an Example:

So we have Google Apps (Do not confuse it with Google App Engine) which is a cloud based messaging and collaboration platform. They say that it increases productivity while simplifying IT and reducing costs.

In SaaS, The entire stack from Applications to Networking is managed by SaaS vendor:

SaaS

So when I am using Google Apps (used for email functionality for this domain ParasDoshi.com) – I do not care how the software is managed, I do not care about which technology was used to develop it, I do not worry about backups, I do not worry about capacity management, I am least bothered about what servers it runs on, etc..

All I care is that I can subscribe to new user accounts if need be, my apps are up and running, my emails are sent and received properly, a particular user should not have access to XYZ calendar, And I am able to close the account if I chose to..Questions like that..

Now Let’s talk about PaaS with Windows Azure as an Example:

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. More: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/home/tour/overview/

paas

Now as opposed to SaaS, here you develop (and own the code) of the App and select your Data Storage. The platform provides you on demand and scalable resources that are used to deploy your application.

So here are tasks that you perform for running a .net app on Windows Azure: For this I did tasks like: Develop the app, publish it to cloud on compute (web/worker) role, select the number of instances  of the role, etc..

But I do not have to have worry about server capacity planning, hardware management, Power, datacenter security, hardware failure, Setting up network, setting up hardware, setting up storage, OS updates, managing runtime and middleware etc..

But it’s my Job to monitor my application performance, spin up more resources if need be etc..

Now let’s talk about IaaS with Amazon Web services an Example:

iaas

As opposed to PaaS, an IaaS provider does not manage Run-time, Middle-ware and OS for us. So get to choose the OS for your virtual machine, then you install the Run-time and middle-ware as per your requirement. And it’s your job to manage these components. E.g. OS updates, etc..

So recently I was playing with Amazon Web services and my goal was to run a .net web app on Amazon cloud. For this I did tasks like: spin up an Instance running Windows Server as it’s OS, configure IIS, develop and publish my application, etc..

But I do not have to have worry about server capacity planning, hardware management, Power, datacenter security,  hardware failure, Setting up network, setting up hardware, setting up storage etc..

But it’s my Job to monitor my application performance, spin up more resources if need be, Update the OS, Manage runtime and middleware etc..

Here’s the summary:

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Other Examples:

PaaS: Google App Engine, Heroku..

SaaS: Salesforce, Office 365..

IaaS: Rackspcae..

 

That’s about it..

Your feedback is welcome!