PDC09 – Keynote Day 1

The room was packed this morning… I heard someone on stage talking about 5,000 people at the conference.  It certainly was a full house.

It was interesting to listen to Ray Ozzie present about Software & Services and where cloud computing is going.  Microsoft Azure has certainly come along over the past year and is now just about production ready.  The launch date was announced as January 1, 2010 and the first billing will happen in February.  Bob Muglia filled in much of the detail around product and “on-site vs cloud” and how Microsoft will marry the two up.  In particular, they announced Project Sydney which allows you to synchronise data between your own SQL Servers and SQL Azure through IPSec and IPv6.  I think this type of thing should be a game changer for Enterprise IT and Disaster Recovery – you can run your core systems either in the cloud or on-site, but keep your core databases on-site and nightly replicate them to SQL Azure for backup.

Being PDC, this is largely about developers and the Keynote certainly didn’t disappoint.  Visual Studio 2010 looks to be a typical Microsoft “increment of three” version.  The tool has been re-written in WPF and it is much more responsive, even in Beta.  The work done in the background with Oslo modelling of applications is starting to pay dividends because now in VS2010 you can drag and drop your VS solutions onto application models and the model interprets the properties of the solutions.  This lets you make changes to the application roles (like the number of instances you want to run) in the model.  Very powerful stuff.  It has also been greatly complimented by new deployment and packagin capabilities.  The VS team have done alot of work to simplify and integrate the MS Deploy tool right into the IDE.  Now, you can do one-click web deployment very, very easily to the web or to Azure.

Microsoft look like they are closing in very rapidly on their “cloud” vision and typically it targets all of their competitors.  I’m still not sold on SQL Azure, but things like the new AppFabric and the modelling tools are certainly very compelling.  The gaps that existed in the Microsoft roadmap has now been filled in, but some products (Azure AppFabric for example) are still some time off.  It will be interesting to see where they are in sixth months.

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