When it rain it pours…well that saying definitely applies to the Windows/SQL Azure Cloud

As you no doubt are aware the Developer conference PDC is taking at Microsoft HQ Redmond Campus. During this conference there have been major announcements on our cloud (Windows and SQL Azure) offerings. In this post I have summarised these and included key links on how you can start taking advantage of these starting today.

Of most excitement to me are the DataMarket (code named Project Dallas) and Reporting Services in SQL Azure.


Key Announcements

clip_image001 DataMarket announces: release to web of the Marketplace and new & updated user experience – including integration with Excel.

clip_image001[1] AppFabric announces: First CTP of Caching service, new CTP of Service Bus, Composite App service + composition model + tooling support,  Integration service, drive momentum for existing Access Control CTP

clip_image001[2] SQL Azure announces: Reporting disclosure, Data Sync update, Sync Fx v3 update, Houston

Windows Azure DataMarket

Today Microsoft announced the launch of Windows Azure Marketplace. The Windows Azure Marketplace is an online marketplace to find, share, advertise, buy and sell building block components, premium data sets and finished applications. Windows Azure Marketplace includes an applications section and a data section called DataMarket, aka Microsoft Codename Dallas.

DataMarket will include data, imagery, and real-time web services from leading commercial data providers and authoritative public data sources. Customers will have access to datasets such as demographic, environmental, financial, retail, weather and sports. Developers can leverage data as a service to embed this data into their applications through tools like Visual Studio and 3rd party SDKs. Information workers can use the data to perform analysis using tools like Excel, PowerPivot and 3rd party applications. DataMarket also includes visualizations and analytics to enable insight on top of data.

Today’s key announcements around Dallas include:

  • Windows Azure Marketplace is an all up marketplace brand and Dallas is now DataMarket section of Windows Azure Marketplace
  • DataMarket has been released to web with new user experience and expanded datasets from leading content providers
  • Excel Add-in for DataMarket is available for download here
  • PowerPivot refresh with DataMarket connectivity is available here
  • DataMarket is launching with 35+ content partners with content ranging from; demographic, geospatial, financial, retail, sports, weather, environmental and health care
  • Today we also announced some of our early adopter ISV/SI partners on DataMarket which include Accenture, SAS, Tableau, Dundas, Jackbe, Enroute, Sitecore, Pervasive, etc.


Windows Azure AppFabric

With AppFabric, Microsoft is delivering services that enable developers to build and manage composite applications more easily for both server and cloud environments. Windows Azure AppFabric provides a comprehensive cloud middleware platform for developing, deploying and managing business applications, extending the familiar way you build Windows Azure applications today.  It enables bridging existing applications to the cloud through secure connectivity across network and geographic boundaries and by enabling a consistent composition model for both Windows Azure and Windows Server.

It makes development more productive by providing higher abstraction for building more powerful business applications; and it simplifies management and maintenance of the application as it takes advantage of advances in the underlying hardware and software infrastructure.

Today, Windows Azure AppFabric provides secure connectivity capabilities via Service Bus and Access Control for customers that need to integrate cloud services with on-premises systems, to perform business-to-business integration or to connect to remote devices. Windows Server AppFabric includes caching capabilities and workflow and service management capabilities for applications that run on-premises.


SQL Azure

At PDC we are announcing:

  • SQL Azure Reporting CTP:  SQL Azure Reporting enables developers to enhance their applications by embedding cloud based reports on information stored in a SQL Azure database, thereby allowing the users of these applications to gain greater insight on their line of business data without having to worry about setting up machines or instances.  Developers can author reports using familiar SQL Server Reporting Services tools and then use these reports in their applications which may be on-premises or in the cloud.
  • SQL Azure Data Sync CTP 2:  At PDC we are also announcing an update to SQL Azure Data Sync to enable synchronization of entire databases or specific tables between on-premises SQL Server and SQL Azure,  giving customers greater flexibility in building solutions that span on-premises and the cloud. Customers can now synchronize SQL Azure databases across datacenters as well as with on-premises SQL Server.
  • Database manager for SQL Azure: As part of the Windows Azure platform developer portal refresh, we are announcing a new lightweight, web-based database management and querying capability for SQL Azure databases. This capability was formerly referred to as “Project Houston”, and allows customers to have a streamlined experience within the web browser without having to download any tools.

Customers can immediately register here to get more information about the new capabilities. Limited CTP programs of the new SQL Azure Reporting and Data Sync services will begin by end of year 2010.  Invitations to participate and try out the services will be sent as we continue to build out capacity.

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