The 12 benefits and risks of embracing Azure for Microsoft partners

Just before the opening of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010, R “Ray” Wang, founding partner of Altimeter Group, published a very interesting and lengthy article about Azure, highlighting its architecture and the inherent benefits and risks for Microsoft partners.


  • Faster deployment times and client adoption
  • Greater pool of development resources
  • Recurring revenue streams
  • Improved TCO and margin for differentiated IP
  • Opportunity to break out of the Microsoft client base
  • Lower application lifecycle costs

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Microsoft releases the Azure Architecture Guide

Earlier this month Microsoft published for free a big, detailed document describing the Azure internals.

Simply dubbed Azure Architecture Guide the paper is intended for any architect, developer, or IT professional who designs, builds, or operates applications and services that are appropriate for the Microsoft cloud.

It demonstrates how you can adapt an existing, on-premises ASP.NET application to one that operates in the cloud through a number of chapters:


Salesforce countersues Microsoft on patent violation

So far Salesforce and Microsoft played didn’t compete much in the cloud computing space.
The former is a well-known player in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market with its CRM while the latter is trying to establish a presence in the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market with Azure.
But Microsoft is entering the SaaS space with Office Web Apps and its Dynamics CRM Online.
At the same time Salesforce is about to extend the capabilities of its PaaS cloud thanks to a deal with VMware, which will allow customers to develop applications with Java and not just with the Apex Code language.

Looking forward, the competition between the two players is set to increase a lot so it doesn’t surprise much to see a preemptive patent war taking place right now.

In mid-May Microsoft sued Salesforce for infringement of nine patents.
Salesforce counter-sued Microsoft for infringement of five patents, which involve technologies used in Azure, Windows Live Services, .NET, Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, and even SharePoint.

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CloudAudit API 1.0 submitted as IETF draft

A number of cloud computing experts joined Christofer Hoff, the Director of Cloud & Virtualization Solutions at Cisco, in his project to develop a standard interface to simplify the auditing and the security assessment of cloud computing infrastructures.

Originally called Automated Audit, Assertion, Assessment, and Assurance API (A6), the interface has been later renamed CloudAudit API.

The working group that is developing it includes representatives from Akamai, Amazon, Arcteck, CloudScaling, CSC, enStratus, Google, Microsoft, Orchestratus, Rackspace, Savvis, TELUS, Unisys and VMware.

The team published the API 1.0 as an IETF draft at the beginning of the week:

CloudAudit provides a common interface, naming convention, set of processes and technologies utilizing the HTTP protocol to enable cloud service providers to automate the collection and assertion of operational, security, audit, assessment, and assurance information.
This provides duly authorized and authenticated consumers and brokers of cloud computing services to automate requests for this data and metadata.

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CloudSleuth service benchmarks IaaS and PaaS worldwide clouds

In the attempt to provide more transparency to those customers that are approaching cloud computing, a number of brave firms is building methodologies and infrastructures to benchmark the performance of several Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) public clouds.

A little more than one month ago, CloudHarmony published its first performance analysis on the most popular IaaS public clouds.
This week Compuware goes beyond that, launching a public tracking service that measures the performance of IaaS and PaaS public clouds: CloudSleuth.


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Eucalyptus Systems secures $20M in Series B funding

Eucalyptus Systems is a US startup active on the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing market.
The company develops an open source management system, Eucalyptus, for virtual infrastructures that supports KVM.

Eucalyptus is available as a stand alone solution for on-premises deployments, but it’s also part of the Linux distribution Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), maintained by Canonical.
In March Dell signed an OEM agreement with Canonical to include UEC as part of its PowerEdge C servers.
In June Eucalyptus reached version 2.0 after a long development cycle, introducing commercial support for Windows guest operating systems.

Yesterday the company announced a second round of investment for $20M, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Benchmark Capital and BV Capital. Benchmark and BV already led the previous $5.5M round.

DocuSign partners with Salesforce and

DocuSign is a US company focused on electronic signatures. It allows to upload on its servers a new document that must be signed, notifies the signers about the needed action, authenticates them, and confirms to all parties when the signature process is completed.
The whole process is completely web-based, and customers can access the DocuSign platform for document and signatures management through a PC, a tablet or a smartphone.

Last week the company announced an OEM partnership with Salesforce, to integrate the eSignature technology in CRM and the new Chatter service.
The integration with DocuSign will be also available for those customers that will create custom applications on the Salesforce Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud:

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EMC stops offering its Atmos onLine storage-as-a-service cloud

In May 2008 EMC launched a Storage-as-a-Service cloud computing offering dubbed Atmos onLine.

The platform, crafted to compete against Amazon S3, is powered by the Atmos technology (codenamed Maui): a storage system that scales up to multi-petabyte and that supports a global namespace, versioning, compression, deduplication, geographic distribution of information, objects replication, multi-tenancy and even API access.
Currently, the Atmos computing units feature Intel Xeon 5500 CPUs and up to 2TB disk drives, reaching 720TB of storage space per cabinet.

While Atmos is a technology for building a private storage cloud, Atmos onLine is its counter-part for public clouds, where EMC itself is the hosting provider.

EMC used to sell Atmos onLine resources for:

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ManageIQ extends EVM Suite support to

ManageIQ is a well-known virtualization startup that launched in November 2007, with a major focus on platform management and orchestration.

Its flagship product, the Enterprise Virtualization Management (EVM) Suite, has been updated to version 2.3 in September 2009, introducing support for VMware vSphere 4.0.

EVM Suite includes four modules:

  • Insight (for automated discovery, continuous tracking, and real-time monitoring combined with automatic, policy-based classification enable role-driven visibility)
  • Control (for policy-based management and control of virtual machines applied at key operation, configuration, change, and VM lifecycle points as well as triggered by management events and administrative/operational activities)
  • Automate (for virtual infrastructures automation through role-based, delegated administration, distributed operations, and self-service provisioning)
  • Integrate (for integration with 3rd parties management systems)

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Release: CloudSwitch Enterprise 1.0

Last week the US startup CloudSwitch released version 1.0 of its Enterprise product.

CloudSwitch Enterprise is a management solution for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud platforms that converts, migrates and manages on-premises VMware and Xen virtual machines inside public clouds like Amazon EC2 and Terremark vCloud Express (by leveraging the VMware vCloud APIs).

The product acts as a sort of network bridge and management proxy in the hybrid architecture.
It establishes AES-256 encrypted channel to transfer the VMs. The it uses network fencing (which CloudSwitch calls Cloud Isolation Technology) to allow the remote management of VMs with the on-premises virtual infrastructure management tools.
The whole thing is then protected by a role-based access control (RBAC) layer for setting user/group permissions and controls.


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