They say bad things come in threes, and that was definitely true for folks who rely on the Internet for communications and cloud-based data centers today. The woes started this morning when Google Talk went down and stayed down for several hours. Then Microsoft's Windows Azure service went belly up in Europe, followed by some users running into outage issues with Twitter. And without Twitter, how are you going to complain about the other services being down?
Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-based development environment, has now gone live in 21 countries. Starting yesterday, Microsoft customers in these countries will be able to launch their Azure production applications and services with the support of full Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
The final release of Windows Azure production code was made last month, giving customers plenty of time to download and test out the completed version, without being charged for Windows Azure platform usage. That changed midnight February 2, GMT--Microsoft is now charging for Windows Azure and SQL Azure.
Those who did not upgrade to the production code will have their Community Technology Preview (CTP) accounts disabled, and their Windows Azure storage made read-only.
Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference (PDC) began today, and right off the bat we have some solid information about an impending release. Windows Azure will be available to businesses on January 1, 2010. It will be free for the first month as well.
Windows Azure will be an operating system in the cloud. An applications layer will be hosted in a datacenter and developers will be able to write applications for it like they would for any other OS. The cloud service landscape has changed significantly since the Redmond giant started talking about the cloud-based web some four years ago.
The number of netbooks and smartphones has exploded since Microsoft began this endeavor. These platforms may benefit most from technologies like Azure. Can Microsoft make cloud-based services a part of their core business with Azure? Maybe we’ll get some clues during the rest of PDC.
Even though Windows 7 just went to manufacturing in July, there are already rumors about Windows 8. Microsoft’s Anders Vindberg confirmed that planning sessions were already being held for Windows 8, and 12 different working groups had been created. Most of these groups are currently management related.
Some recent job postings have hinted that Microsoft will be implementing a new “TLZ file compression engine” to improve Hibernate performance. So if you crave a quicker resume after Hibernating, you could get your wish. There may also be additional kernel protections using PatchGuard. These protections should increasingly hamper the efforts of malware designers.
Microsoft will almost surely be strengthening their server offerings in the next OS iteration. Microsoft’s Dublin application is likely to find its way into Windows Server. Some sort of cloud based services are also possible with the upcoming Windows Azure. We most likely won’t see Windows 8 until 2011 at least, but the Redmond giant may already be hard at work.
The promise of hosted application "cloud computing" platforms is the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the latest storm to obscure the promise of hosted applications hit its Windows Azure development platform last weekend. It was unavailable for 22 hours on March 13 and 14, eWeekreports.
It should be noted that Windows Azure, introduced at last October's Professional Developer's Conference (PDC), is still in its test phase. It's due to become generally available before the 2009 PDC in November, according to eWeek. Although it's still in testing, an essentially day-long outage isn't good news for Azure.
Is Azure the only cloud computing provider to have had problems from time to time? How reliable should cloud computing be? For your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.