The online Office apps will be called “Office Web Applications,” and will be available in ad-supported and subscription-based flavors over Office Live. It looks like the apps will work with IE, Firefox, and Safari. Support for Google’s browser has yet to be confirmed.
It’s shaping up to be a big couple of days for cloud computing. We can expect to hear a lot more from Microsoft during the rest of the PDC about what this technology’s going to look like in the future.
What are you the most excited about? Hit the jump and let us know.
Rackspace Hosting has made two acquisitions in a bid to establish itself as a major player in the lucrative cloud computing market. It has acquired Slicehost and Jungle Disk to bolster its Mosso cloud service. The acquisitions are said to be worth $28 million. Rackspace’s Cloud Files, scalable file storage service, will most probably be integrated into Slicehost, according to the Slicehost website.
Last week’s Gmail outage, which lasted for about 28 hours, has once again highlighted a major shortcoming of cloud computing and web-based services. The incidence exemplifies cloud computing skeptics’ greatest concern that unheralded disruptions in cloud computing services might cost businesses’ and individuals dearly.
Some Gmail users – including paying Google Apps subscribers - couldn’t access their accounts between 16 and 17 October. Incensed users expressed their indignation across the internet, while Mark, a Google Apps adviser, provided regular updates on the status of the issue, as long as it lasted.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service remained unavailable for 8 hours. That particular episode had also spawned similar questions regarding cloud computing. Companies will have to come out with ways to keep outages to a negligible count.
A Google Apps malfunction was reported on Thursday leaving education edition users without access to various services, including Gmail. It turns out the loss of access was tied to an unannounced change in the layouts of start pages which redirected to a non functional iGoogle address. Google spokesmen Andrew Kovacs stated that "this was an isolated bug". "I don't want to minimize this, but was this an issue where people could not access their data? No." Google hasn’t publically stated how many of the over one million businesses and 10 million users were impacted by the bug, but apparently it was only reported by a handful of users. Kovacs went on to state that "Basically, the broader perspective with an approach to communication is to be transparent. With these hosted applications we are held to a higher standard since we are so transparent with our communication." This made me wonder. With all the negative back lash companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon receive when cloud services crash, is all the bad press really fair? Do we really have the right to expect 100% uptime?
Microsoft’s upcoming internet-based OS, heretofore known only as Windows Cloud, might finally have a name: “Strata.” On the website for their Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft briefly listed a number of cloud computing session under the heading “Windows Strata.” The listing was quickly taken down, but not before observant bloggers picked up on the slip.
Of course, the Strata name is far from a sure thing. Beyond Binary reports that as of Wednesday morning, no trademark had been filed for “Windows Strata,” and that a Microsoft representative said, via e-mail “As you know, Microsoft uses internal code names for pending technologies and from time to time they make their way to the public. We’re looking forward to talking more about our cloud services platform at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.”
In the mean time, what do you think of the name “Windows Strata?” Tell us after the break.
Amazon's much more than the "world's biggest bookstore" - its Amazon Web Services division has been offering flexible hosted application development for some time. And this week, Amazon Web Services launched what ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley calls a "pre-emptive strike" against Microsoft's forthcoming "Windows Cloud" operating system by adding Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server to its product portfolio.
Amazon's move to provide access to Windows Server and SQL Server is significant because it enables developers to have their choice of Linux-based or Windows-based development resources on what Amazon calls its "cost-effective, pay-as-you-go pricing model." Essentially, Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud service (also known as Amazon EC2) lets developers rent a virtual machine with varying amounts of disk space and transfer capabilities on an as-needed basis without the need to carve out space in a crowded server room or spend long-term dollars on a short-term requirement.
To learn more about why Amazon Web Services has added Microsoft vehicles to its "rental fleet," join us after the jump.
"Windows Cloud" is the code name for a new operating system that will make its debut at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference later this month, InfoWorld reports.
It's no secret that Microsoft has been developing what it calls "software plus services" for some time now. In addition to SharePoint, Exchange, and Dynamic CRM software for enterprise and business clients, the list of S+S from Microsoft also includes the home and small-business-oriented Windows Live family, which has just been upgraded. So, what exactly will be in "Windows Cloud" (or whatever its actual name will be)? For a peek behind the curtain, and the Microsoft rival preparing to use Microsoft's own tools against it, join us after the jump.
Their initiative that is aimed at speeding up the adoption of cloud computing amongst enterprises was announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2008 the conference in San Francisco. They will be focusing on developing standards for cloud computing. They also intend to make clouds more secure and efficient. Everyone is heading for the clouds!
Windows Live Hotmail’s 260 million users worldwide can look forward to a multitude of new features that were recently unveiled by Microsoft. Hotmail wave 3 promises a speed boost of over 70% during sign in, and will enable dynamic storage that will grow at a rate of 250 MB per month. Microsoft is also reportedly working to address the user interface problems which have plagued the service since the roll out of wave 2. Hotmail users currently have the option of picking between the well loved “classic” or the “full” user interface which reportedly suffers from a low adoption rate. This low adoption rate has kept the classic version alive, and made it difficult for Microsoft to roll out new features. Hotmail wave 3 looks to merge the layout of the “classic” with the functionality of the “full”, an approach they are hoping will finally please everyone. This is something that is desperately needed to help attract and retain users currently considering competing services such as Gmail or Yahoo. Improved integration of Live contacts, calendar, and instant messaging help to round out the initial batch of leaked features. The press release doesn’t make any mention of the long rumored POP support or any Skydrive integration, but hopefully these features are still in the works. No public beta has been announced yet, but the “coming soon” headline suggests it probably isn’t that far off.
Are you a former or current Hotmail user? Will these new features keep you with the service or send you running back? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
It will arm 13 data centers with cloud computing infrastructure that will provide cloud computing cushion to its customers in the face of network disruptions or failures. Basically, its clients will be able to access cloud-based computer services when their own networks are down - and even out. So even during network disruptions it would be business as usual for IBM’s clients.