New cloud computing community website

I would like to announce the launch of a new Cloud Computing community website!

Logo
www.AllYourClouds.com

This is a new community website which focuses on having the answers for all your clouds.

Got a question about Amazon EC2, Azure, Google app engine, Go-grid, rackspace, etc? Need to know how to modify your code? Wondering how to migrate?
Just post the question and someone in the community will answer it for you.

The best part about it, is that the site uses OpenID, so there is no need to sign up. Just click to log in with your existing credentials (Google, wordpress, blogger, etc. etc.)

By David Burela

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My notes from PDC09 Day 2 Keynote

Highlights

  • Scott Gu Rickrolls the entire PDC audience
  • Silverlight 4 beta is out now!
  • Silverlight can now access local resources on your computer like cameras, filesystem, drag/drop support
  • Silverlight has updated WCF support
  • IE9 is announced
  • Work on IE9 has been going on for 3-4 weeks. Performance and Acid3 results are improving
  • There will be videos on http://channel9.msdn.com/

Continue reading

My notes from PDC09 Day 1 Keynote

    Day1 is on Azure and backend services

 

    Day2 is on client side, Win7, IE9 and Silverlight
    The keynote can be downloaded from

http://microsoftpdc.com/Sessions/KEY01Highlights of today

  • Windows Azure can now have apache, tomcat and others installed
  • You can have full control of your instances, install what you want on it, then set that as your new baseline to deploy apps to
  • App fabric is a new add-on for Windows Server. Lets you deploy applications to your servers easier. Also lets you easily deploy to either on premise or Azure
  • Dallas CTP announce. Is a way of exposing your data feeds in an easily discoverable and consumable way http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/dallas/

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Analysis of Windows Azure virtual machine sizes

*Update* Microsoft have updated their FAQ with instance pricing

In my previous post on the newly released Azure SDK I touched on the ability to set a size for your VM instance.

Lets delve down into what size virtual machines are available (values from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee814754.aspx)

VM Size CPU Cores Memory Disk space for local storage
Small 1 1.7 GB 250 GB
Medium 2 3.5 GB 500 GB
Large 4 7 GB 1,000 GB
Extra Large 8 15 GB 2,000 GB

The sizes are easy to follow, they are all just multiples of the base VM size. Microsoft have said in their FAQ that the pricing is based on multiples of the small VM size. It is based on “CPU cores / hour”, so $0.12 per hour for the small VM, $0.24 for medium, $0.48 for large, etc.

Lets draw up a matrix to compare the Microsoft Azure and Amazon EC2 pricing side by side:

Continue reading

November 2009 tools + Windows Azure 1.0 SDK now available

*Update* I have posted some further analysis of the new Azure instance sizes in a new post – Analysis of windows azure virtual machine sizes

With more details on Windows Azure to be announced next week at PDC, Microsoft have released the latest version of the Azure tools & SDK in preparation. There are a few things we can learn from them.

http://blogs.msdn.com/cloud/archive/2009/11/12/windows-azure-tools-and-sdk-v1-0-november-2009-release.aspx

As this has been marked as version 1.0 of the SDK, I think we can safely assume that this release of the tools can be seen as “Feature complete”, especially with Azure to be officially released soon. So although we may not see any tool refreshes in the coming months, there is sure to be newer version of the tools for the upcoming versions of VS2010

There are some interesting update notes that jump out at me

The sample storage client has been replaced by a new production quality library – This is great to see as most people use this as production code anyway, despite Microsoft trying to say “it is an example of how you may do it yourself”

Service Model UI: A redesigned and significantly more complete interface for manipulating Role configuration information. To access, double-click on a role node in the Solution Explorer – This feature is quite nice, we don’t need to manually edit the .cscfg file, we have a nice UI to change it instead.

image

Ability to choose the size of the VM for a role instance – Microsoft has previously stated that we will eventually have “more control” of the VM instances, but this sounds interesting. You can find about these VM sizes at this url http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee814754.aspx. They differ in CPU counts and RAM. Perhaps there is some new pricing to be announced at PDC based around this?

But this is what I have been hanging out for! Service Runtime library updated to support inter-role communication and notification of configuration changes – I have a bunch of research ideas that required this feature. Queues are great for structured sequential data and is the way you should be processing data between instances. But for things like network rendering you really needed this feature.

By David Burela

Artificial life in the could, using Windows Azure

This year I was able to present at Code Camp! In my mind, Code Camp is meant to be an event where you try and to whacky things with code. So I decided to explore what the possibilities were of using Windows Azure to create Artificial life in the cloud. I ended up focusing more on the possibilities of farming out the work of calculating genetic algorithms to find optimal paths for the travelling salesman problem.

The first section gives a background on cloud computing and Windows Azure. If you are interested in an overview of Azure i recommend you watch my Remix presentation on Windows Azure instead, as I did it after this talk and had a chance to refine that section further.

The talk went well, unfortunately the video capture software I was using was eating up one of my cores on my dual core laptop 😦 which meant the calculations ran slower than they should have. I apologise for the audio quality also, I didn’t have the drivers for my laptop microphone so ended up having to use my mobile phone to record the audio.

I hope you enjoy my talk!

Artificial life in the cloud, using Windows Azure on Vimeo.

The slides are also available 20090405 Codecamp – Alife in the cloud.pptx

Timeline for the talk

  • 0:00 – An overview of Windows Azure
  • 22:30 – Programming with Azure
  • 23:00 – Demo 1 (Hello World with ASP.Net)
  • 32:20 – Azure Storage
  • 35:00 – Architecting your solutions for Azure
  • 46:30 – Introduction to Genetic Algorithms
  • 53:00 – The travelling salesman problem
  • 1:01:00 – Learnings from trying to convert a single threaded library into a distributed Azure environment
  • 1:03:00 – Future work that could be done with A-Life

By David Burela

Remix presentation: Intro to Windows Azure

This year I was invited to speak presenting on Windows Azure at Remix, Microsoft’s Annual web technologies conference.

In this talk, I cover off the history of cloud computing, compare Windows Azure to the offerings from Amazon and Google. Explain what tools are needed to program against Windows Azure, then finally cover a few demos that show the capabilities of Windows Azure

The video is available online in both low and high quality (unfortunately the aspect ratio is weird at both qualities).

The Slides are also available for you to download 20090611 ReMix – Azure Themed.pptx

 

Timeline for the talk

  • 0:00 – Cloud computing recap
  • 6:30 – Overview of Windows Azure
  • 16:30 – How to program
  • 17:15 – Demo 1 (ASP.Net Hello World)
  • 22:30 – Demo 2 (Massively scalable WCF service)
  • 25:00 – Demo 3 (Using a silverlight to consume my service)
  • 35:00 – Demo 4 (Azure storage + Worker roles)

By David Burela