Open dialogue about standards, open source, and interoperability at Microsoft

July, 2012

  • Open Source in the Cloud: Microsoft at Solutions Linux and Open Source 2012

    Posted by Frédéric Aatz
    Director of Interoperability, Microsoft France

    Over the course of the three-day Solutions Linux and Open Source conference in Paris, I had the opportunity to answer the question “what is Microsoft’s role here?”, particularly as customers transition to the cloud and are looking for interoperable solutions that span public, private, and hybrid cloud scenarios.  It was a great feeling to have an answer that reflected several years of investments and hear consensus that there are so many opportunities to work together with open source solutions to ultimately help customers achieve more. 

    During the “Free Software in the Cloud” panel and my “Microsoft: Choice and Openness for Cloud Computing” keynote with colleague Alfonso Castro from Microsoft’s Open Solutions Group, discussions focused on the transformative benefits customers are seeking in the cloud, how Microsoft’s role and investments have evolved over time, and how a combination of Microsoft and open source solutions are delivering value.  There was specific interest in efforts to ensure Windows Server Hyper-V is supported in OpenStack and the availability of Windows Server 2012 RC (formerly “8” Beta) that includes enhanced support for open standards, open source applications, and various development languages.  Some were initially surprised to see Microsoft putting so much energy into these collaborations, but intrigue was quickly replaced by the growing realization that working together is essential to delivering the experiences that our customers want.  For example, during the panel, which also included Bull, AFUL, Xwiki, Enovance, Ysance, Pentalog and OpenERP, it was pointed out that in the cloud, customers are seeking solutions that they can trust to be private, secure, and backed with strong service-level support.  Whether these needs are met by an open source or a proprietary software company (or a combination of both) may be of lesser concern.  The cloud solutions simply need to work as required and work well together.

  • Extending the Windows Azure Experience to Windows Server for Hosting Service Providers

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    A lot of news is coming out of the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this week, including the announcement of a community technology preview that enables hosting service providers to use their Windows Server 2012 data centers to tap into recently announced Microsoft cloud services like Windows Azure Web Sites and Windows Azure Virtual Machines.

    This preview allows hosting service providers to easily deliver high density website hosting and “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) scenarios in a Windows Server-based environment and deliver a consistent customer experience across cloud platforms. For example, hosting service providers who want to take advantage of System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2012 can now easily provision and manage Windows Server and Linux virtual machines.  This flexible multi-tenant solution puts providers’ customers in control of how they grow their datacenter resources while lowering support costs.

  • Microsoft’s CoApp: Making Open Source Projects on Windows Easier

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Today marks the start of the Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, OR. Among the Microsoft attendees that will be onsite at this year’s event is Garrett Serack from the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center.  Garrett will be celebrating the first full release of CoApp, an open source package management system for Windows Server and Windows Azure, which is a project he has led for the past two years. The goal of CoApp is to make it easier for developers to create and maintain their open source software and projects on Windows.

    The first thing CoApp will offer is a full build of PHP that people can use without friction. From there, Garrett plans to keep adding support for more complicated scenarios and languages, including creating efficient models for packaging and distributing Python, Ruby and OpenStack on Windows, and making it easier for people to install web apps like Drupal and MediaWiki.  His long-term vision is nothing short of making CoApp the standard for how people ship open source – and even non-open source – software on Windows.

    We talked with Garrett as he geared up to introduce CoApp to the world:

  • Microsoft Research’s Eric Horvitz Talks Big Data in the Open World

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Last week, Microsoft Research (MSR) held the 2012 edition of its Faculty Summit (now in its 13th year), which aims to bring together the forces of academic researchers and educators with Microsoft’s own team of researchers, product engineers and architects from around the globe. Their goal?  To enter in-depth discussions on the current state, as well as the future, of computer science research and how it can help bring together a broad range of contributors to solve real world problems.

    One of the highlights amid the various keynotes and breakout sessions during the two day event, was the opening talk from Deputy Managing Director of MSR, Eric Horvitz. During his keynote, Eric discussed how a confluence of advances has led to an increased ability to collect, store, and harness large amounts of data for generating insights and guiding decision making in the open world.  To watch and download the video and audio from Eric’s talk, click here.  And let us know your thoughts on this year’s #FacSum in the comments or by reaching out to us on Twitter (@OpenAtMicrosoft).

  • Spotlight on Microsoft Research: MSR Partners with USC and Brown University to Raise AIDS Awareness with Digital AIDS Quilt 2012

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    In addition to covering big data’s impact worldwide, last week’s 2012 Faculty Summit also explored how modern technology can work to help raise greater awareness about social issues such as the impact of AIDS and HIV. The NAMES Project Foundation first began creating The AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1987, which is today comprised of more than 48,000 panels that commemorate the lives of those people who have died of AIDS, and act as a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic worldwide. The largest piece of community-created folk art ever made, the quilt weighs approximately 54 tons and would stretch across 1.3 million square feet (approximately 24 acres) if every panel were attached.

    Microsoft Research partnered with the University of Southern California (USC), Brown University and NAMES to create the quilt’s virtual counterpart. But they envision this as just a first step. Because the code used for the virtual quilt is open source - as are many of the technologies it is built on - NAMES or any developer with an interest can continue to build the project out further. According to lead researcher Anne Balsamo of USC, the virtual quilt is drawing more people to “the story of the quilt, from the larger story about how big it is to the most intimate story about the people the panels are about.”