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by Peter Galli on November 12, 2009 04:33pm
As you probably know, Microsoft was both a sponsor and active participant at ApacheCon 2009 in Oakland, California last week.
But what you might not know is that we also showed our lighter, more fun side, when we participated in the Lightning Talks, which were held on Thursday evening, November 5, during a reception with plenty of popcorn, beer and wine.
As my colleague Jas Sandhu noted in his blog about this - and where you can also find the song's lyrics - the talks are a lively, spontaneous ApacheCon tradition with speakers getting about 5 minutes to poke at each other, the projects, technology, community etc ... and have a bit of fun!
The singing and dancing Microsoft team was led by Kent Brown, the Product Manager for Windows Communication Foundation, who was not only the singer, songwriter and guitar player, but also the author of 'Them Incubator Blues,' which is very tongue-in-cheek and loosely based on his experience participating in the Stonehenge Project and working with the community.
He was joined by me, Microsoft's open source community manager; Tanya Young, our chief cat herder at the conference; and Jas Sandhu, a Senior Technical Evangelist. It was great fun and we hope you enjoy it!
Video courtesy of Mladen Turk from Red Hat.
by Peter Galli on November 09, 2009 01:19pm
Today, Microsoft and Novell marked the third anniversary of the collaboration agreement during a gathering of IT executives at the Society of Information Management SIMPosium 09 conference in Seattle.
As many customers are running heterogeneous IT environments and are looking to their software vendors to address their interoperability needs, over the past three years Microsoft and Novell have been working together to help these organizations future-proof their IT operations by optimizing mixed source IT infrastructures to better support today and prepare for tomorrow.
This collaboration and the resultant joint solutions have already enhanced reliability and efficiency within mixed IT systems environments. These technical solutions help customers centralize or streamline management functions, reduce internal support requirements, and enable greater interoperability without having to dedicate time and resources to devise workarounds.
The Microsoft-Novell Interoperability Lab also remains focused on addressing our customers' priority interoperability concerns, and this technical collaboration has already produced real-world solutions spanning Virtualization, Systems Management, Rich Media and Server Workload Validation.
Those customers who choose to use Windows and Linux together can leverage not only SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell, but also its support offerings, to ensure business continuity, while customers have added peace of mind as a result of the intellectual property (IP) provisions of the agreement between the two companies.
The success of this relationship is also underscored by steady sales, even in the current difficult economic environment: as of July 31, 2009, Novell has invoiced $226 million in certificate revenue, or 91percent of the total $247.5 million investment.
Microsoft and Novell have jointly recruited more than 475 new customers to receive certificates from Microsoft for three-year priority support subscriptions for Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) since the agreement was formalized in November 2006.
To date, more than 20 of these joint customers have also opted to take advantage of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) Subscription with Expanded Support, which offers upgrades, updates and technical support for customers' existing paid and unpaid Linux deployments, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), while they transition to Novell SLES. Customers most commonly cite value and quality as key factors driving their choice of Novell over Red Hat.
Migration from Red Hat and other Linux offerings to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server also helps these customers optimize the capabilities of their IT systems for the future by allowing them to leverage real-world solutions like Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.
You can read more about all this in an article published to Microsoft PressPass, while a number of customer case studies are also available.
by Sandy Gupta on November 05, 2009 09:25am
I am blogging from ApacheCon here in Oakland, where the Apache Software Foundation its celebrating its 10th anniversary. Congratulations to the Apache community and cheers to the next ten!
Our focus at Microsoft is to make Windows Server a platform choice for both closed source and open source solutions. Many of our customers who run open source on our server platforms pick open source built in the "Apache Way". And so, participation in the Apache communities is important for us and we continue to support the Apache community through our ongoing platinum sponsorship of both the ASF and ApacheCon.
Microsoft also has a sizeable contingent on the ground here at ApacheCon that is delivering technical talks, presenting at BarCamp Apache, giving Lightening talks, participating in MeetUps and, more importantly, learning more about the projects in the Apache community so we can identify opportunities for greater participation.
Yesterday, I participated on a business panel titled: "The Business of Open Source - Power, Prestige, and Propulsion," which was moderated by Sally Khudairi and included Hewlett-Packard's Scott Lamons, Progress Software's Debbie Moynihan, and RedMonk's Michael Coté. The panel was incredibly engaging - in fact, one of the best panels I have ever participated in.
It was very dynamic, there was great audience interaction, and a range of interesting topics were covered. There was consensus on how customers are taking a pragmatic approach and using a mix of closed and open source software based on the value it has for their business and not based on a religious choice.
We also talked about how there is a lot of open source happening on Windows Server, and there is an opportunity to improve on best practices/understanding of open source development on Windows Server and sandbox infrastructure for all Apache projects. We also had a vibrant discussion regarding release cycles: how can open communities make it more attractive to corporations to offer project manager time so as to help move the project along, keep to deadlines, etc. I hope to be able to participate in more panels like this as there is so much to discuss!
As you know, Microsoft is already participating in many ASF projects like HBase, Stonehenge, QPid, and POI, and we are giving demos around these projects at our booth here as well as on the Eclipse plug-ins for Azure and Silverlight announced at the recent Eclipse Summit.
Enabling our customers to run open source solutions on Windows Server is important for us. It is great to see many business groups in Microsoft are now participating in Open Source projects in areas where they see there is a common value for our customers.
Congratulations once again to the entire Apache Community for a great decade, and here's looking forward to the next one!
by Peter Galli on November 03, 2009 01:35pm
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Apache Software Foundation, which is being celebrated at the annual ApacheCon U.S. event. Microsoft is proud to be a platinum sponsor of both the ASF and ApacheCon 2009.
The Apache community is an important one for Microsoft and, as ASF President Justin Erenkrantz noted recently, Microsoft is now contributing to at least four Apache projects: HBase, Stonehenge, QPid, and POI.
"This really continues the significant sea change from within the organization - Microsoft now isn't afraid of having their employees contribute to Apache projects on Microsoft's time. Committers from Microsoft sign the same legal agreements that we require from all of our contributors. Microsoft's involvement in these specific communities range from having their employees being core contributors driving the project, to having folks contributing patches or ideas on our mailing lists, to even commissioning a third-party to contribute to our project as a work-for-hire. In other words, Microsoft is now actively participating within Apache projects in a broad range of way," Erenkrantz said.
A number of Microsoft folks representing the Interoperability, App Plat, DPE, Open Source Technology Center and Platform Strategy teams will be on-site and participating in a number of events.
We will also have a booth and be demoing:
In addition, Sandy Gupta, the Director of Platform Strategy, will participate in a Business Panel today, titled: "The Business of Open Source - Power, Prestige, and Propulsion," while Kent Brown and David Ingham will be giving a technical session on Project Stonehenge and Qpid.
Garrett Serack from the Open Source Technology Center gave two BarCamp sessions earlier this week ("How the heck do I get help from Microsoft?" and "The Road Less Travelled" about the new CoApp he has developed,) while David gave a BarCamp presentation on AMQP and Qpid and Kent did one on Stonehenge.
David also led a MeetUp about Qpid on Windows on Tuesday night; while Kent and the team will give a Lightening Talk on Thursday.
We look forward to meeting those of you attending ApacheCon, and please feel free to stop by the booth.
by Peter Galli on November 02, 2009 03:01pm
This week the Apache Software Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary at its annual U.S. ApacheCon 2009 event in Oakland. As such, I though it would be interesting to chat with ASF President Justin Erenkrantz about the past 10 years and what's still to come going forward.
Peter Galli: Tell me about ApacheCon, who the audience is, what the goal of the event is.
Justin Erenkrantz: Since The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is so globally distributed, with almost 2,000 Committers around the world working on over 100 different projects, we do all of our work virtually, via public mailing lists.
As such, ApacheCon presents a unique opportunity for our community - users, contributors, and developers - to get together face-to-face. We typically try to run at least two shows a year: we're currently holding our upcoming U.S. show in Oakland, and we held ApacheCon Europe in Amsterdam earlier this year.
At ApacheCon, we have a range of trainings, talks, and MeetUps. We have half-day, full-day, and two-day trainings typically led by key developers in the project. This immersive environment allows interested parties to dive down into tremendous detail about Apache projects - popular trainings include Hadoop, Solr, Tomcat, ActiveMQ, Wicket, Lucene and, of course, our well-known HTTP Server.
In addition to the trainings, we have three days of session tracks (usually hour-long talks) covering broad topics such as: Content Technology (content management systems including Sling and Jackrabbit, as well as CouchDB and POI), Web Services (Axis and other SOA tools), OFBiz (our Enterprise Resource Planning solution), Tomcat (our popular Java servlet engine...well it does much more than that these days!), Felix (our implementation of the OSGi framework) and, of course, some talks about the HTTP Server.
One thing that we're really excited about this year is our expansion of free MeetUps in the evening. These are a great opportunity to mingle with the community in a very low-key unstructured environment focused on a single topic. You can think of a MeetUp as an all-night "birds of a feather" (BOF) sessions. In addition, we will be holding BarCamp Apache -- our two day un-conference to talk about whatever folks are interested in, as well as the Hackathon, where participants can collaborate on various code bases alongside Apache Committers. The great thing about the MeetUps, BarCamp, and Hackathon is that they're open to the public, free of charge. All are welcome!
Peter Galli: You always hear a lot about the "Apache Way." Explain this to me.
Justin Erenkrantz: As an all volunteer, non-profit organization, the ASF is regularly praised for its consistent, repeatable, open development model. This model, affectionately dubbed by some as "the Apache Way", is behind the ASF's success in scaling from a single project to 70 primary projects today.
One of our biggest challenges, as the ASF has grown to nearly 2,000 Committers, is how to teach the Apache Way to those interested in bringing new Open Source projects to the Foundation. The way to address this on a formal level is through the Apache Incubator, created to "mentor" new projects and to assist in their learning how to operate as an ASF project. ASF Members who find the candidate technology (called a "podling") worth pursuing, they can then volunteer to be a mentor to the project.
Rather than overseeing its technical development, the mentor's main responsibility to a podling is more social, by helping to pass down the traditions and culture of other projects. Over time, once the podling has demonstrated that it has learned the Apache Way and can govern itself successfully, it can become a full-fledged ASF project and graduate to a top-level project.
Anyone can submit a podling proposal to the Incubator for consideration as a new ASF project. If you have an existing Open Source project and would like to join the ASF, we encourage you to check out the Incubator, and submit your proposals to email@example.com.
Peter Galli: Microsoft has been working closely with the Apache Community for some time now. Can you talk to how that works and why our participation is important?
Justin Erenkrantz: As you know, last year Microsoft announced its Platinum Sponsorship of the ASF, which it continued this year. While we are delighted to have Microsoft's financial support as a sponsor of the Foundation, I think the more important aspect of Microsoft's relationship is that they are now contributing to a variety of Apache projects.
Since we announced the sponsorship last year, Microsoft is now contributing to at least four Apache projects: HBase, Stonehenge, QPid, and POI. This really continues the significant sea change from within the organization - Microsoft now isn't afraid of having their employees contribute to Apache projects on Microsoft's time. Committers from Microsoft sign the same legal agreements that we require from all of our contributors.
Microsoft's involvement in these specific communities range from having their employees being core contributors driving the project, to having folks contributing patches or ideas on our mailing lists, to even commissioning a third-party to contribute to our project as a work-for-hire. In other words, Microsoft is now actively participating within Apache projects in a broad range of ways.
In recent conversations with the Port25 team at Microsoft, it sounds like there are even more Apache projects that Microsoft is interested in getting involved in. We look forward to Microsoft's continued and increased contribution and participation within Apache.
As a public charity, we rely on donations from the public. Our policy is not to provide direct funding for our projects (we do not pay for contributions to any of our projects), however there are a number of indirect needs to support our projects. The biggest chunk of our budget goes towards maintaining our servers - we maintain SCM systems (currently Subversion-based), mirror distribution system (seeding a large number of volunteer mirrors), build farms, Web sites, and mailing lists.
We have key data centers at Oregon State University's Open Source Lab and SURFnet in the Netherlands. Since we have a growing number of contributors in the Pacific Rim, we're looking to expand our server presence in those regions. Through our Travel Assistance Committee, we also use our funds to help community members (typically college students) who could not otherwise attend our events - this has been a fantastically successful project in helping to encourage further participation. Finally, we also use some of funds to help spread our message - so many folks still think that the ASF is just about the HTTP Server - it's not! It's only 1 of 70 different top-level projects - so we realize we still have to do some education on that front!
Peter Galli: What are some of the most exciting projects that have been developed by the Apache community, or are currently being worked on?
Justin Erenkrantz: There are so many exciting projects that it's hard to choose from! As before, some folks think that the ASF is just about the HTTP Server: we have projects ranging from Atom/RSS parsers/producers (Abdera) to generating high-quality printable graphics via XML (XMLGraphics). Some folks don't often connect the dots and realize that projects like CouchDB, SpamAssassin, and Hadoop are all Apache projects. And, it's important to know that via our Incubator and Labs projects that we're open to shepherding even more projects.
As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we've established ourselves as an important player in the ecosystem. We were founded on pragmatic principles, but that hasn't meant that we shouldn't have a leadership position: our Apache License version 2 is the flag-bearer for permissive Open-Source licenses and we have been a strong advocate for openness and transparency within the Java standards process. Over the next ten years, it'll be an exciting ride!
We should also point out eWeek's recent story on eleven Apache technologies that have changed computing in the last 10 years.
Peter Galli: What do you hope to see coming from the community over the next years?
Justin Erenkrantz: Our purpose in founding the ASF ten years ago was to bring the "Apache Way" to a broader community than just the initial HTTP Server. Our goal is to continue that process: we realize that developers are best at coding and shouldn't have to worry about the gnarly details - be it setting up servers, distributing files, accepting donations, handling legalese, organizing events, etc. - and just focus on creating terrific code. So, we hope to see more ideas for projects come our way through our Incubator and Labs!
by Sandy Gupta on October 27, 2009 08:00pm
It is great to see the work that started last year with the Eclipse Foundation at EclipseCon 2008 in Santa Clara, California continues its exciting journey.
Today at the Eclipse Summit in Germany, the Interoperability team at Microsoft announced a number of updates with our partners Tasktop and Soyatec. Microsoft is providing funding to these projects and architectural guidance.
Here are the goodies:
Windows Azure SDK for Java developers to facilitate the use of Windows Azure component by Java developers
You can get more details in the blog from Vijay Rajagopalan in Microsoft Interoperability team, who is leading this effort.
Ian Skerrett's blog also mentions a recent survey targeted at Eclipse users, which shows that more than 64% of respondents used Windows Server or Client as their development platform for Eclipse. These users are a mix of Java, PHP, Ruby and C/C++ developers.
This is good data to show why we care to make Windows the platform for choice for these Eclipse users. These are our customers.
Microsoft already participates in projects under both the Eclipse Foundation and Apache Foundation. A couple of weeks back I blogged about our participation and code contribution to the Apache Qpid project. We will continue to serve our developer customers in the open source world.
by Peter Galli on October 26, 2009 06:20pm
Great news on the data portability front: today, Microsoft announced that it will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format - the format in which data is stored in Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders.
Even better is the fact that the documentation will be released under Microsoft's Open Specification Promise when complete. This lets anyone implement the .pst file format on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way.
But it is important for me to point out that this documentation is still in its early stages and the work is ongoing. However, Microsoft is also engaging directly with industry experts and interested customers to gather feedback on the quality of the .pst technical documentation to ensure that it is clear and useful.
As an increasing amount of information is stored and shared in digital formats, it is vital for people to be able to reuse their data across various applications and platforms. Giving access to the documentation will facilitate interoperability and let customers and vendors to access their data in .pst files across a variety of platforms.
This is also just another example of how Microsoft is listening to its customers and responding to their requests for greater interoperability, in this case around data portability.
Also, enabling customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms allows developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice.
"We're excited about the possibilities created for our customers and partners by this kind of effort, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the industry in our pursuit of improved interoperability with Microsoft Office," said Paul Lorimer, the Group Manager for Office Interoperability at Microsoft, in a blog post.
by saraford on October 20, 2009 04:11pm
In my first post for this series, I stated that "Agile is the single greatest things a team could do to significantly improve the user experience and quality of their website" and "not designing the full 100% is a true blessing in disguise." By putting these two concepts together, you can fully embrace the power that is Agile: Course Correction.
Making Design Changes in Waterfall
In the traditional waterfall, a Program Manager writes a specification, in which all members of the team and the associated business owners review and approve. Then, the development cycle begins to code to the specification word for word. Once code complete, the test team takes over reviewing the code to ensure it matches the specification.
But, what if half way through, someone on the team realizes the specification is wrong? Or more practically, what if the requirements change sometime during development? In my Microsoft experiences, this is called a Design Change Request (or a DCR), and it is extremely costly. New designs need to be made and reincorporated with the rest of the specification. Dev needs to re-code the feature. And the test team has to restart any prior testing, especially for regressions. In other words, DCRs are not good things.
Making Design Changes in Agile
One of the light bulb moments for me on CodePlex.com was accepting the fact that Agile is really just a series of mini waterfalls. Instead of designing a waterfall release cycle that will span the course of several years, you're only designing for a waterfall process of a few weeks. There's a Planning Phase, a Development Phase (which encapsulates the Test Phase, but is beyond the scope of this blog post), and the Deployment Phase. It's waterfall, but waterfall moving at an incredibly fast pace.
Now let's reconsider those Design Change Requests, but on an Agile team. The work is very, very scoped, which implies less ambiguity. (Yes, you could have a perfect specification that isn't ambiguous at all, but if that spec is 60 pages, the risk of human error is higher. Trust me, I've seen this, where I was the human in error.) And, recall that you're only doing 80% of the work. The cost of the design change is already accounted for in the remaining 20% of the development cycle. In other words, it's in the spirit of Agile that you're going to make changes along the way to better the product, or "course correct," as it was initially described to me. In agile, DCRs are good things.
Regardless whether you discover that you need to make a course correction during the Development Phase or the Deployment Phase, it's okay because Agile by its very nature can adapt and respond to these changes quickly.
An Example of Course Correction
Below is a screenshot from the original ratings and reviews designs. Notice how I circled the downloads count.
During implementation, a developer realized that the download count could be confusing. Did it mean total downloads for the entire project, total downloads for the release, or just recent (past 7 days) downloads for the release? We realized that given these designs we couldn't really convey the information we felt necessary to provide the right user experience to our visitors. So, we went back to the design and made a few tweaks. Again, we weren't trying to completely redesign the project directory. Even if we wanted to, there was no time to do anything radical. At the time the developer noticed this issue, we were going to finalize the build for deployment in a little over a week.
What we did instead was "course corrected" by making slight changes to the project metadata on the left-hand side to finish the current feature (or user story, if you're more aware of that terminology). Circled below is the metadata we added. We also added the * next to the number of page views and downloads, where we state at the bottom of the page "in the past 7 days."
Aside: CodePlex shows past 7 days data as a way of reinforcing release early, release often, which we continue today in the project directory. The screenshot below was taken at the time of this writing.
Conclusion of Part 2: Course Correction
This concludes my second post on Program Managing an Agile team.
If you like what you see, let me know! And if you don't like what you see, please don't hesitate to let me know. Seriously, I love discussing my Love / Hate Relationship with Agile development, as depicted on my personal blog.
Up Next: Putting it All Together - How the CodePlex team Builds Software
by saraford on October 19, 2009 02:16pm
Before I became the Program Manager for CodePlex.com, Microsoft's open source project hosting site, I worked on the Visual Studio team on four different product cycles. Since Visual Studio uses traditional Microsoft product lifecycle releases, I had to learn about Agile development alongside learning about open source development when I joined the CodePlex.com team. Making the switch from releasing every three years to every three weeks didn't happen overnight!
One of the things I discovered is that Agile is used a lot in open source communities. In fact, many of the people who I've worked with personally on learning Agile have strong roots in OSS. Also, the fact that Microsoft is starting to adopt Agile philosophies shows how the company is changing, becoming more transparent, finding more ways to connect with the community, and embracing other schools of thought. And this is why I am here, to be on the inside to push for these cultural changes within Microsoft.
Although Agile is the single greatest thing a team could do to significantly improve the user experience and quality of their website, I believe it can be quite challenging for anyone not in a developer role to get accustomed to. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can help others in non-developer disciplines on an Agile team.
In this series of blog posts, you'll discover how I learned to program manage an Agile team after six years of waterfall (the traditional method of software development).
Three Major Takeaways
If I could go back in time, here are the three things I would tell myself about Agile.
1. Design and plan for the very next step.
It's not about reaching the moon, but getting out of your front door. Sure, you can design the perfect feature, but if it is going to take you six months to get there, it is useless to an Agile team. It's about designing the journey towards the perfect feature that matters.
2. Break down work into the smallest possible functional sets.
Adding work is fun and rewarding, but removing incomplete work due to a lack of development time is painful and risky. But, you can't deploy a half-written feature either. First, break down the work into the smallest pieces. Then, put together the smallest functional sets that have to be deployed together for the feature to make sense. Your development team will tell you how many sets they can do per release.
3. Design and plan only 80% of the way.
Not designing the full 100% is a true blessing in disguise. Since you have another release right around the corner, you have the time to collect user feedback and incorporate it into the next design. Not only does this solve the remaining 20% (getting you closer to the perfect design with less cost), but also allows your customers to be virtual members of your team.
The Program Manager Release Cycle
To begin, here's an Agile release cycle from the point of view of the Program Manager. For simplicity, this illustration only depicts a single release cycle, without any overlap of previous or future cycles.
Ratings and Reviews: An Example
To further illustrate, consider the ratings and reviews feature on CodePlex.com as an example. Users can rate a release and write a review for projects on CodePlex.
One quick aside about ratings and reviews: CodePlex users rate an individual release instead the entire project. For example, consider Stephen King as an author. What does it mean for me to rate Stephen King 4 out of 5 stars? I find some of his books to be awful, like the Tommyknockers. I want those 7 hours of my life back. 1 out of 5 stars. Yet, for me, some of his other books are incredible, like The Dark Tower. 5 out of 5 stars. Hence, we allow users to rate an individual release to provide more relevant information to potential downloaders of the project.
Let's explore the ratings and reviews feature step-by-step in the Program Manager shoes.
1. Design Phase Part 1: Limit the scope to designing the minimum to make the feature useful and meaningful. For ratings and reviews, the feature must have the following:
a. User can rate a release. User can view the rating.
b. User can write a review. User can read the review.
c. User can sort by highest rated releases in project directory.
2. Design Phase Part 2: Bucket into smallest deployable functional sets. For me, personally, I use sticky notes to illustrate the "must have" pieces for each set.
a. Sticky Note #1: Rate releases / View rating
b. Sticky Note #2: Write a review / read review
c. Sticky Note #2: Sort by highest rated releases
3. Iteration Planning Meeting: To start the development cycle, meet with the development team to discuss costing.
a. In the case of ratings and reviews, my devs said they could do Sticky Notes #1 and #2, but the project directory sorting feature would have to wait for the next release.
4. Dev Cycle: Because the designs are closer to 1-page specifications rather than fully-documented implementations, questions will come up from the dev team. This is where you, the Program Manager, will:
a. Answer any questions about the missing 20% of the specifications / wireframes
b. "Course correct" (more on that later)
c. Add more feature work if time allows
5. Deployment: The release goes live. Now you can collect user feedback and incorporate it into the next development cycle.
a. The very first tweet I saw regarding the ratings and reviews feature was "Sara, is there a way to sort by highest rated?" Here, I was able to ask the user questions about how this feature should work to confirm our designs. Most of the time we don't inform users what's coming up next (we like surprises.) But in this case, it was pretty obvious.
Here's the visual representation of the ratings and reviews feature in the Program Management agile release cycle:
Conclusion of Part 1: The Agile Program Management Cycle
This concludes my first post on Program Managing an Agile team. Since I could go on endlessly writing about topics I'm passionate about (and those who know me will confirm this is not an exaggeration), I'm going to pause here to conclude this initial train of thought.
Up next: The concept of Course Correction.
by hjanssen on October 07, 2009 12:06pm
Hello again! It has been a pretty busy couple of months for us, and I wanted to give you an update on what we've been doing.
We just completed the first step in another major milestone for Hyper-V. As you can read from Mike Neil's Blog, Microsoft and Red Hat just completed certification in each other's virtualization program.
This means that customers now can deploy Microsoft Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and a range of select applications, virtualized on Red Hat and Microsoft hypervisor virtualization software, knowing that the solutions will be supported by both companies.
This again demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to its virtualization platform, and the Hyper-V team's continuous investment in interoperability and heterogeneity through the datacenter.
And I am very proud that my team has been working very hard on getting the Red Hat certification completed.
But, for my group, this is just the first step: we worked on and got certified for Hyper-V running Red Hat in emulated mode and, now, the next step for us is to get certification for enlightened mode, the mode where the guest OS is Hyper-V aware,and can thus access Hyper-V functionality directly.
So, what is needed for enlightened mode? Well, to get that step, we needed to get the Linux Integration Drivers submitted to the Linux kernel, and then we needed those drivers officially accepted in a mainline kernel.
This has now happened as well, as we have been accepted into the mainline kernel. We are in Linux Kernel release 2.6.32, and that release is currently going through development and testing. Once that one is final and officially released, we can take the next step, which is to get those official Linux Integration Component drivers certified with Red Hat.
The timeline for that is not completely set in stone right now, and I do not know if there is an official expected release date for 2.6.32 as yet. But we should be able to move forward with the enlightened mode certification soon after the 2.6.32 final release.
And we are, of course, continuing to work on the Linux Integration components, adding new features and all that good stuff. But I will write more about those items in the near future.
by Peter Galli on September 29, 2009 10:31am
Microsoft continues to deliver on its ongoing promise to build bridges between different technologies, and this week jointly announced with Noelios Technologies a new interoperability bridge between Java and .NET through REST.
The Microsoft Interoperability Technical Strategy team has been working with Noelios to build an extension to the Restlet Framework. As such, Noelios has released a new bridge for Java and .NET. It is shipping a new version of the Restlet open source project, a lightweight REST framework for Java.
This includes the Restlet Extension for ADO.NET Data Services, which makes it easier for Java developers to take advantage of ADO.NET Data Services, a set of recently added .NET Framework features that provides a simple way to expose a wide range of data sources, such as relational databases, XML files, and so on, through a RESTful service interface.
This announcement is yet another example of Microsoft's continued commitment to openness and interoperability, and demonstrates the ever increasing use of web standards in our technologies.
Formerly known as Project Astoria, the ADO.NET Data Services defines a flexible addressing and query interface using a URL convention, and supports the usual resource manipulation methods for data sources, including the full range of Create, Read, Update, and Delete operations.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 fully support ADO.NET Data Services, including the capability to create and consume data services directly from the development environment.
You can find all the technical details of this announcement on the Interoperability team blog here, as well as on the Noelis blog. You can also find a tutorial on this here.
by Sandy Gupta on September 29, 2009 06:15am
Microsoft recently made a significant code drop to the Apache Qpid project. For those of you who don't know, Qpid is Apache's implementation of the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (aka AMQP), which is an exciting new reliable messaging protocol developed by some of the world's biggest messaging users (think names like JPMorgan Chase).
What we've done is a Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Channel for AMQP. Our goal is to provide a first class AMQP experience for the .NET developer. And, since this is an Apache project we're talking about, all our code is obviously open source.
A couple of years ago the announcement of Microsoft making a major contribution to an open source project would have been sensational news, but things have moved on a little bit since then. Now it's just another day's work at Microsoft.
As the manager of this effort at Microsoft, I'd like to talk a little about what we bring to the open source table. We joined the Apache Qpid project, which was essentially focused on Linux, to help the community develop a port on Windows and integration with the .NET stack.
That was reflected both in the code itself and also in the build environment it used (autotools). One of the areas where we invested was the introduction of a cross-platform build and test environment (CMake), so as to smooth the way for cross-platform work.
We have continued to adopt our typical product development quality assurance mechanisms when working with open-source. These include team-based design and code reviews. We also use automated code-quality tools, such as StyleCop, to ensure consistent style and to detect common programming errors.
We developed the initial version of the WCF Channel on a private Subversion repository and used a private bug database for logging issues and work items. Now we have made the initial drop to the community, we intend to do all revisions in the Apache repository and switch to using the community Jira-based bug tracking system.
Today we have a group of 5 engineers working with Qpid, both vendors and full-time Microsoft employees. Over time, it's our goal for many of these folks to achieve committer status on the project.To date, we've worked on the following work items:
For me, leading AMQP initiative at Microsoft has been quite a learning experience. Our collaboration with the community has been strong and we have received full support from our executives.
Here at Microsoft we understand that AMQP can become the SMTP for Messaging. This means AMQP is going to have a huge beneficial impact on all kinds of users in the years to come, and we want to help make that happen.
Helping develop the open source AMQP reference implementation at Apache Qpid as part of a broad community effort is our way of moving the AMQP ball forward. I'll have a lot more news to report about our efforts in the months to come.
by Peter Galli on September 24, 2009 08:31am
GroundWork Open Source, Inc., a commercial open source company that produces network management software, last week announced the availability of the GroundWork Connector for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.
The company has also become a member of the System Center Alliance.
GroundWork Monitor, which already has more than 1,500 plugins available, integrates with System Center Operations Manager and extends monitoring and management coverage to non-Windows systems, applications and devices.
The new GroundWork Connector pulls information from System Center Operations Manager and displays it within GroundWork Monitor Enterprise, giving customers a deeper visibility into the availability and performance of all critical infrastructures on a single console. The connector gives insight into applications, databases, virtual machines and network devices that may be running on Linux, Unix, Windows or embedded operating systems.
I talked to David Dennis, the company's senior director of marketing and business development this week about the move, which he feels is a great follow-up to the release of the System Center Cross Platform extensions earlier this year.
That release broke new ground for using System Center in heterogeneous environments. "In the field, we have more and more users asking about how they can integrate the management of Windows with open source tools for managing network infrastructure, Unix, Linux, and the applications that run on top of them," he told me.
The dialog also no longer seems to be about choice between Windows or Open Source but rather "I want both - now how do I make them work together," he says. Even though GroundWork Open Source is an open source company, about half of the operating systems managed by GroundWork Monitor are running Windows.
"The combination of System Center Operations Manager and GroundWork Monitor provides a full-featured alternative to traditional systems management frameworks, but with greater openness and at a much lower price point," Dennis says.
by Peter Galli on September 22, 2009 09:00am
Today, Zend Technologies announced the Simple API for Cloud Application Services project, which is a new open source initiative that allows developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers.
This new project is designed to encourage widespread participation and contributions from the open source community, resulting in the availability of Simple Cloud API adapters for virtually all major cloud providers.
Zend, Microsoft, IBM, Nirvanix, Rackspace and GoGrid are all co-founding contributors to this community project, which aims to facilitate the development of cloud applications that can access services on all major cloud platforms and whose initial goal is to provide a set of programming interfaces for PHP developers to facilitate the development of applications that have basic cloud storage needs.
The first deliverables will include interfaces for file storage, document database, and simple queue services from platforms like Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network and Rackspace Cloud Files, allowing developers to deploy software applications to access services in these environments without making time consuming and expensive changes to their source code.
As Andi Gutmans, the CEO at Zend Technologies, notes in the press release announcing the project, "cloud computing offers irresistible value to enterprises of all sizes, but the lack of portability across cloud application services for even the most basic operations has been an impediment to broader adoption of cloud services."
An initial Simple Cloud API proposal and reference implementation is already available now for community review and participation, while a technology preview of the PHP client libraries for Windows Azure can be found here.
Microsoft is also contributing Simple Cloud API adapters, along with the official PHP client libraries for Windows Azure storage, to future versions of Zend Framework. These adapters will allow applications to take advantage of many Windows Azure features through the Simple Cloud API interface, while Microsoft's client libraries will put Windows Azure innovations, such as transaction and partial upload support, at the fingertips of cloud application developers.
"The Simple Cloud API is an example of Microsoft's continued investment in the openness and interoperability of its platform. We're excited to see how this project will foster adoption of cloud computing platforms by PHP developers and hope that many of these developers are encouraged to use Windows Azure," Doug Hauger, the General Manager for Windows Azure, notes in the press release.
Microsoft's involvement started a few months ago, through our work with Real Dolmen on a Windows Azure SDK for PHP developers. This SDK has been submitted to the Zend Framework, and it now forms the basis of Microsoft's contribution to the Simple Cloud API project.
As Vijay Rajagopalan, a Principal Architect at Microsoft, notes in his blog, the Zend Adapter for Windows Azure will leverage Microsoft's contribution. PHP developers will now be able to program against Windows Azure - in a way that is consistent with other cloud platforms - by tapping into the main features of Window Azure Storage.
Those PHP developers who need to use specific Windows Azure features not included in the scope of the Simple Cloup API (like transaction), will be able to combine the Zend Cloud Adapter with the dedicated Windows Azure SDK for PHP.
"This will allow developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers. Simple API for Cloud also gives PHP developers more choices, and this is a great opportunity for them to think about using Windows Azure," he says.
by billhilf on September 10, 2009 12:47pm
It's been a while since I made an appearance on Port25. I felt it was important to provide some thoughts to the Port25 community on Sam Ramji's impending departure from Microsoft.
After many years helping to carry the open source software banner for the company, Sam is leaving Microsoft at the end of this month. You may have also heard that he has accepted the position of interim President of the CodePlex Foundation as well as a leadership position at a startup in California. (I'll let Sam and his new company share more details there.)
Sam joined my team three years ago to drive open source technical strategy. I have eagerly supported him as he passionately articulated a vision that Microsoft could coexist - and even thrive - in a heterogeneous IT world.
The perspectives on OSS at Microsoft have evolved to the point where Microsoft's open source strategy is no longer just locked in a single ‘lab' on campus - now OSS is an important part of many product groups and strategies across the company. We have become increasingly clear on where we work with open source - development methodologies, projects, partners, products and communities - and where our products compete with commercial open source companies or platforms. Today, there are engineering and business leaders across the company, myself included, looking at how to drive interoperability for customers and as a lever for new growth.
And, because we recognize the importance of having that strong internal advocate for open source, we are actively seeking someone to fill Sam's shoes at Microsoft.
We will not waver in our commitment to open source.
To my friend Sam: Best of luck to you and your family as you move on to your next great adventure, and THANK YOU for all of your efforts and passion.