Microsoft chief architect promises cloud platform Jan.1

Microsoft's Ray Ozzie says future is "three screens and a cloud"

The forecast from the keynote address at Microsoft’s 2009 Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles today is sunny, with a 100 percent chance of increased cloud computing.

Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie announced that the the company's Windows Azure cloud computing platform will go live as a production server on Jan. 1, 2010. The platform will be free until Feb. 1, when customer billing will begin.

The recurring theme of Ozzie’s speech is that Microsoft’s direction is increasingly “three screens and a cloud,” Ozzie said. The screens can be PCs, netbooks, phones or even TV monitors.

Joining Ozzie by video feed was federal CIO Vivek Kundra, who encouraged listeners to use public data from sources such as to create innovative applications “for the good of the republic.”

Silverlight, Microsoft’s Web application framework, has exploded in popularity, Ozzie said. “For customers, it doesn’t matter if its service or servers,” Ozzie said. “It’s centered on technology convergence.”

Ozzie also mentioned that three sets of Windows Azure data centers were going live in January, depending on the user’s location: Chicago/San Francisco, Dublin/Amsterdam, and Singapore/Hong Kong.

Matt Mullenweg, founder of blogging application Wordpress, said he uses Windows Azure to handle the occasional spikes of high traffic that some blogs receive. Also speaking was Martin Cron, developer of the Cheezburger Network, which runs the humorous Web site Windows Azure can quickly accommodate the spikes in traffic, Cron said, if, for instance, the network’s new Web site about signs,, becomes really popular.

Beamed in by video feed, guest speaker Vivek Kundra noted that the Defense Department’s release of public data ultimately led to the explosive growth in the GPS industry. President Barack Obama charged Kundra with reaching out and tapping “into the ingenuity of the American people across the board,” Kundra said.

By the same token, Kundra said, the Web site democratizes data on the red planet. The deployment of is enabling people to develop applications based on, for example, toxic release level data from the EPA or the average flight times from the Federal Aviation Administration. Kundra demonstrated a job seeker application based on data from the Labor Department via The app ran on a cell phone and took a few days to develop. “It didn’t take years, or hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said, obliquely referring to government systems that have run over schedule and budget.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


  • senior center (vuqarali/

    Bmore Responsive: Home-grown emergency response coordination

    Working with the local Code for America brigade, Baltimore’s Health Department built a new contact management system that saves hundreds of hours when checking in on senior care centers during emergencies.

  • man checking phone in the dark (Maridav/

    AI-based ‘listening’ helps VA monitor vets’ mental health

    To better monitor veterans’ mental health, especially during the pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on data and artificial intelligence-based analytics.

Stay Connected