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 Data.gov 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 http://icanhascheezburger.com/. Windows Azure can quickly accommodate the spikes in traffic, Cron said, if, for instance, the network’s new Web site about signs, Oddlyspecific.com, 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 beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov democratizes data on the red planet. The deployment of data.gov 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 Data.gov. 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.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 18, 2009 Washington, DC

This is interesting regarding Azure's earlier development outage http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsazure/thread/6c1cd8a2-8d9d-43e9-a1d8-928e0ca4de78

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