Ray Ozzie kicked off PDC'08 with his keynote, starting with thanking all developers worldwide for betting on Microsoft. He then started explaining about cloud services being vastly different from enterprise and virtualization services as we already know them.
Then there was the big announcement that will change the shape of web development as we know it : Windows Azure
According to Ozzie, Azure will introduce new patterns and practices for the next years and new appmodels for a world of parallel computing. Azure is a consolidation of services, running in Microsoft's datacenters. The services platform consists of Live services (synchronized storage), .Net services (workflow,authorization, identity federation), SQL services (DB in the cloud), Sharepoint services and Dynamics CRM services.
Next speaker was Amitabh Srivastava, explaining more in-depth what Azure can do for you. In short, Azure provides :
- scalable hosting + security
- automated service management (fabric controller maintains health of the service model)
- high availability
- storage in the cloud (blobs, tables, caches, queues, locks ...)
- rich developer experience (using VS - no need to deploy to cloud for testing)
All this is provided while the complex Infrastructure is managed by Microsoft and Windows Azure.
Bottom line, the real mindshift is that we will be managing services, not just servers anymore.
Next was Steve Marx showing a simple "hello
world cloud" web application demo in VS2008. Using local development techniques as usual (referencing the Cloud development framework), a simple page can then quickly deployed to the cloud using Visual Studio publishing mechanism. Only 2 things are needed, a .cspkg packages (really the bin folder of the project) and the config XML. His live demo was published to http://hellocloud.cloudapp.net/
Then there was a demo of an actual Azure cloud application : bluehoo.com by Jonathan Greensted , which has the potential of taking social networking like Twitter, Facebook and the likes to a whole new level !
Next speaker was Bob Muglia, giving some marketing talk on Azure, also stressing that Azure is really an open platform, using command line interface, REST interfaces, xml formats, ... He also gave a nice timeline showing how development evolved from Client Server to Cloud, also stressing that there is actually a very fundamental difference between SOA and Cloud, being scalability !
Next were some demos by Shawn Davison of RedPrairie and their usage of Azure, and also a short demo on Microsoft System Center "Atlanta"
Bob Muglia then finished stating that this PDC really reminds him of the PDC'92 when NT was introduced, and these are interesting times, changing the shape of how applications
Next was Dave Thomson giving some more justification of the direction Microsoft is choosing with Azure, explaining that lots and lots of customers have a heavy burden with their IT, which is frustrating, because it is essential, but not core to their business. For these customers, Azure will be the solution
So that was it for the keynote. I must say it reminded me for a part of Hailstorm, except that in 2001 it was called .NET MyServices, and now it's called .NET Services. We all know how successful that was, so it will be interesting to see how Azure will turn out, especially since Microsoft is betting a LOT on it !
Wow, that was the keynote ..now off to the sessions !