PDC 2008: Live blog of Ray Ozzie's online services keynote

Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie is set to open the company's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles with his morning keynote address that is expected to cover Microsoft's efforts in the cloud with new online services.

Ozzie will be joined by Amitabh Srivastava (Internet services platform), Bob Muglia (Server and Tools) and David Thompson (business software). We will be live-blogging the keynote as it takes place. Refresh this page for updates.

10:14am PT: The PDC 2008 Day 1 keynote has ended.

10:14am PT: Ray Ozzie is back on stage to recap Windows Azure. "The best thing to do is to sit down and write some code....You're the first ones that are going to have access to our Azure services platform."

SDKs will be available to download at 12pm PST for PDC attendees. Everyone who registers now will be activated over the next two weeks.

Azure will be opened to the public in the "weeks and months ahead." Ozzie didn't specify any specific timing, but says, "The rollout will be progressive...The service is in an early stage" and future changes could be incompatible with previous iterations of Windows Azure. In turn, Microsoft won't charge developers during the preview.

"Pricing and models for all Azure services will be competitive with the marketplace," says Ozzie. Azure service offerings will be directly through the web and existing channels and programs. More details will be provided as Microsoft gets closer to a commercial release.

10:07am PT: Extending software applications with Windows Azure: Thompson shows off how Microsoft Word can be integrated with CRM Online. Data can be immediately populated into a template, and then exported into SharePoint Services.

10:04am PT: With the federated identity feature of Windows Azure, the Microsoft Services Connector automatically authenticates users. This means that Windows users won't need to login to Microsoft Online Services. Thompson demonstrates how he can launch CRM Online and be immediately logged in.

10:01am PT: Windows Azure services have been designed to extend existing software tools, not necessarily replace them, but it is possible in the case of Exchange and others. Thompson is explaining how each Microsoft Online Services solution can be extended with software.

9:59am PT: Thompson says there are two major problems with Software+Services: Federated Identity and Extensibility.

IT administrator manages identity with Active Directory just like they do today. The Services Connector uploads the identities to the cloud via the Microsoft Federation Gateway. It will happen behind the scenes, and is part of Windows Azure.

9:55am PT: David Thompson has come on stage to discuss Microsoft Online Services. Current services (CRM Online, Office Online, etc.) are only a start.

"All of Microsoft's enterprise software will be offered online as a service," Thompson says. "They provide a faster way to get to" the value offered by the tools. Microsoft can also provide more immediate updates and handle all of the hosting headache.

9:52am PT: Muglia: Windows Azure is a new platform, but it leverages Microsoft's existing tools. He says will be taking the capabilities of Windows Azure and putting them into SQL Server, Windows Server, and other software tools.

Muglia has also introduced "Oslo," which will be distributed to developers at PDC. Oslo a platform for modeling distributed applications.

"Oslo is going to have some very important ramifications for the industry," says Muglia. "It incorporates a new language called "M" that allows models and domain specific languages to be defined."

9:47am PT: Muglia: For a while now we've been working on a project code-named "Atlanta."

Atlanta is built upon Azure and appears to be an online version of System Center. Enterprises can use Atlanta to monitor their server environment with metrics. It can create charts with Silverlight and is fully managed via the Cloud.

9:41am PT: Developers can control aspects of their application from the .NET Services Portal, which appears to be part of the Azure Development Portal. Below is the Access Control management page.

9:38am PT: Muglia: We have built a database in the cloud for Windows Azure. He is discussing the new utility of SQL Services, which was previously introduced at MIX 08 in March as "SQL Server Data Services."

Muglia has invited RedPrairie on stage to demo a product recall application.

9:36am PT:

Muglia says Windows Azure has the .NET Framework built into it, so developers can use it seamlessly. .NET Services in Azure include new solutions for helping applications scale to the cloud.

A major focus of Windows Azure (and part of .NET Services) is also identity, which Muglia promises will be "open." Microsoft project code-named "Geneva" enables heterogeneous federation that integrates Active Directory with services in the cloud.

9:35am PT:

9:27am PT:

9:26am PT: Srivastava has invited Bob Muglia on stage to talk about the high-level services of the Azure platform. Muglia says cloud computing is the 5th generation of computing. SOA applications that currently exist do not scale out as they need to -- that's where cloud computing comes into play, Muglia explains.

9:23am PT:

You can increase the number of nodes dedicated to the Windows Azure application from the Portal. Right now, you must edit the XML, but in the future, it will be more user-friendly.

9:22am PT:

Steve Marks has invited Jonathan Greensted on stage to demo Bluhoo, a rich application hosted by Windows Azure. Bluehoo is a location-based social networking tool to see people that are nearby. It's built in Silverlight and hosted by Windows Azure. Bluehoo was coded entirely in Visual C++, and required no new tools to run in Windows Azure.

9:16am PT:

Windows Azure applications are deployed via the service's Development Portal -- a website. It takes "a couple minutes" for the application to get up and running.

Microsoft's example cloud application can be seen at: http://hellocloud.cloudapp.net/

9:12am PT:

Windows Azure applications can be programmed with the same tools used with Windows: Visual Studio, .NET, Windows Server 2008.

"Deep Visual Studio integration makes development a familiar and fantastic experience," Srivastava says.

Srivastava has invited Steve Marks on stage to show how to build and deploy a Hello World app in Windows Azure.

9:09am PT: "When you interact with Windows Azure you provide two things: code for the service, and model that guides the Fabric Controller to manage the lifecycle of your app." The model is an XML file that defines certain parameters.

Windows Azure promises high-availability. Not even a double failure can bring a service down, Srivastava says.

9:08am PT: "Windows Azure is a scalable hosting environment so you can deploy your app in the cloud," says Srivastava.

Azure uses Microsoft's Windows Hypervisor technology. It employes multiple level of security (code access, IP filters, firewalls, VLANs, and Hypervisor enforced isolation).

Unlike traditional OSes that manage a single machine. Windows Azure as the operating system for the cloud manages the entire cloud.

Windows Azure separates the app from the OS. At the heart is a "Fabric Controller" that manages the lifecycle of the app from deployment to updates. "When you want to change your service, you specify the design and state and the Fabric Controller makes the necessary changes," Srivastava explains.

9:07am PT:

Ozzie has introduced Amitabh Srivastava to demo Windows Azure. He notes that it's hard to demo a kernel, which is what Azure is.

"What we have build is the kernel of the Windows cloud...We have built a platform to allow you to build your killer apps," says Srivastava.

9:01am PT:

The Azure Services Platform includes: .NET Services, SQL Services (formerly SQL Server Data Services), Live Services (which Microsoft will discuss tomorrow and extends Azure services to user devices like a PC and phone), SharePoint Services, Dynamics CRM Services.

8:59am PT: Windows Azure is being released today as a Community Technology Preview in Microsoft's US datacenters. It will be rolled out worldwide later.

The initial release will not include all of the features Microsoft has planned. The company will begin transitioning its own online services to Windows Azure.

8:58am PT:

Ozzie says Azure will be familiar for developers, just like Windows is. "But we must help developers understand that this is fundamentally new." Azure is different from the server environment people are used to.

8:55am PT: Microsoft's new online services platform is known as: Windows Azure

"You can think of Windows Azure as a service operating environment," Ozzie says.

8:54am PT: A few years ago, some of our best and brightest..embarked on a mission to utilize our systems expertise to create a new offering in this cloud computing tier.

"Some months after we began to plan this effort, Amazon launched a service called EC2." Ozzie says across the industry, everyone will be standing on Amazon's shoulders.

Ozzie says Microsoft has been working on its own platform for computing in the cloud. It's designed to be the foundation for all of Microsoft's services in the cloud.

8:52am PT:

8:51am PT: Is this cloud thing any different than what we've known in the past? "The answer is resoundingly yes."

Ozzie says that Microsoft went through a major restructuring for the Web, rolling out a diverse portfolio of services and building an expertise in building, hosting and responding to the demand of Web services.

"All that knowledge, technology and skill....wasn't packaged in a form that could be leveraged by outside developers, or benefit our enterprise customers."

8:45am PT: Ozzie says that today, most enterprise architectures have been designed for inwardly facing solutions for employees and partners, but now, companies are realizing that the Web is the first place people look for them.

"Now more than ever, the richness, reach and effectiveness of a company's web presence has become critical to the health of a company's business."

The previously separate roles of software development and operations have become intermeshed and intertwined, Ozzie says.

8:42am PT:

8:41am PT: "Today we're in the early days of a transformation to services across the industry." Ozzie says at PDC we'll hear about Microsoft's take on this transformation, by combining the best of software with the best of online services.

"You will see how this strategy is coming to life in our platform, our apps, and our tools."

8:40am PT: Ray Ozzie has taken the stage. "For the first time we'll be able to talk about what we've been working on for the past couple of years." He is welcoming everyone to PDC and talking about what it is like to be a developer.

"There's never been more choice in platforms than there is for you today."

8:28am PT:

8:26am PT: We're about 5 minutes from the start of Ray Ozzie's opening keynote here at PDC 2008. Today, Microsoft is expected to discuss its online services and cloud computing strategy, with a focus on business. Tomorrow will be more consumer-oriented with the first public debut of Windows 7.

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