Microsoft has created a new group within Microsoft Research called Cloud Computing Futures headed by Dan Reed, who has a long history in academia and is a former director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. An interview with him about the new group was recently published here:
The group will be focusing on research around large scale datacenters, networks, sotware architectue, etc. This passage describes it pretty well and has a great analogy at the end:
"Building data centers using standard, off-the-shelf technology was a great choice in the beginning. It let the Internet boom race ahead without the need to develop new types of computers and software systems. But the resulting data centers and software were not designed as integrated systems and are less efficient than they should be. One common analogy is that if one built utility power plants as we build data centers [today], we would start by going to Home Depot and buying millions of gasoline-powered generators.
Quite an interesting read and links to a bunch of research efforts.
Microsoft Enterprise Search Goes Deep and Wide
"Today at FASTforward’09 in Las Vegas, Microsoft provided a glimpse into the fruits of their efforts: FAST Search for SharePoint, a new search server that will add the high-end search capabilities of FAST ESP to SharePoint. FAST Search for SharePoint will be available with the release of the next version of Microsoft Office. The solution will equip businesses with high-end search capabilities that will enhance their efficiency and boost productivity.
As a part of the road map disclosure at FASTforward’09, Microsoft also announced ESP for SharePoint, a special offer available for SharePoint Enterprise Client Access License customers. With ESP for SharePoint, these customers can purchase FAST’s high-end search capabilities today with a defined licensing path to FAST Search for SharePoint when it’s released."
Following up on yesterday's post, today an updated Azure Services Training Kit was released:
The Azure Services Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Azure Services Platform. The February release includes the following updates:
This technical content covers services including: Windows Azure, .NET Services, SQL Services, and Live Services.
Here are a couple resources for getting started learning about Microsoft's cloud computing strategy:
"The Azure Services Platform is an internet-scale cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers. The Azure Services Platform provides a range of functionality to build applications that span from consumer web to enterprise scenarios and includes a cloud operating system and a set of developer services."
Getting Started with Microsoft Cloud Computing Tools
Windows Azure is the development, hosting, and management environment of the Azure Services Platform, which enables you to run applications at Internet scale while leveraging the skills and tools you use today.
Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio
Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio extend Visual Studio to enable the creation, building, debugging, running, and packaging of scalable services on Windows Azure.
The Live Framework is the uniform way for programming Live Services from a variety of platforms, programming languages, applications and devices. With the Live Framework, you can easily build and deploy applications in the cloud that sync across multiple devices.
Two new documents were released recently that describe the new Hyper-V features in Windows Server 2008 R2 currently in Beta and how to implement them in a test environment. The first document details the much discussed Live Migration feature and the architecture behind it. The second is a step by step guide for setting it up to see for yourself. If you have set up Hyper-V host clustering previously, it is quite easy to set up and utilize the new features in R2. If you haven't previously worked with host clustering, be sure to follow the step by step guide closely and it shouldn't take long before you are up and running.
I've had the beta running in my lab for a couple weeks now. I have a 2-node cluster using the 2008 RTM Hyper-V and a new cluster running the 2008 R2 Beta. So far Live Migration has worked perfectly in my limited testing. The failover is seamless and a continuous ping against a migrating VM has never exceeded one drop. I haven't tested a lot of running applications during failover yet, that is up next.
I'm also a huge fan of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) which allow you to store multiple HA VMs on a single LUN. This provides much easier management of storage which is always a good thing.
Windows Server 2008 R2 & Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 - Hyper-V Live Migration Overview & Architecture
"One of the most highly anticipated new features in Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ is live migration. This document describes the live migration feature of Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ in detail, including how live migration moves running VMs and requirements for implementing live migration"
Hyper-V: Step-by-Step Guide to Using Live Migration in Windows Server 2008 R2
"This guide details the steps required to perform a live migration of Hyper-V™ virtual machines from one node in a Windows Server® 2008 R2 failover cluster to another node."