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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 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 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 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 Peter Galli on September 04, 2009 11:52am
More good news with regard to Microsoft's embrace of open standards, this time out of the Windows Live group.
The Windows Live team is using a developing open standard called Activity Streams - an extension to the Atom feed format - which kicks in when users add Web Activity for Facebook and bring their status, photos, shared links, and more from Facebook into Windows Live to share in Messenger, Hotmail, and on their Windows Live Profile.
As Windows Live Program Manager Rob Dolin notes in a post on the team blog, what you may not know is that when you add the Facebook Web activity, the data is passed from Facebook to Windows Live using the developing Activity Streams open standard.
"With hundreds of thousands of users since release a few months ago, the Windows Live web activity for Facebook might be the largest implementation of Activity Streams today ... Just as many of our other web activities leverage community standards like RSS 2.0, Atom 1.0, and MediaRSS, I'm hopeful that Activity Streams will be a powerful enabling technology so users can bring their activities like status updates, posted photos, or shared links, from one service to another. We look forward to working with other partners to enable our mutual users to share their activities between services," Dolin says.
You can add the Web Activity for Facebook application here.
by Peter Galli on September 10, 2009 11:30am
Many of you will, by now, have heard about the formation of the CodePlex Foundation. In order to give you an in-depth look into the thinking behind Microsoft sponsoring the Foundation, I talked to Bill Staples, the General Manager for the Web Platform and Tools Team at Microsoft, a member of the interim CodePlex Foundation board and whose engineering team builds the Microsoft Web platforms.
"Before we dig into the details of the CodePlex Foundation, it is important to note that the Foundation is completely independent from Microsoft. The Foundation's mission to help the exchange of code and understanding between software companies and open source communities is really interesting to Microsoft. To help the Foundation fund its first year of operations, Microsoft is donating U.S. $1 million," Staples told me.
One thing that Staples was very clear about during our conversation was that the CodePlex Foundation will be complementary to the software ecosystem and is not designed to compete with any of the existing open source foundations. He hopes that the CodePlex Foundation will bring commercial and open source software development communities even closer.
"We need the community's involvement to make the CodePlex Foundation a success. We don't have all of the answers today. With today's soft launch, we hope to get critical input that will ensure the Foundation is a respected, neutral party that can enhance collaboration between participating companies, industry partners and open source communities. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be reaching out to many folks to get their feedback and to ask them to get involved with the Foundation," he said.
As such, an interim board has been established, with participation by both community and Microsoft individuals, and the plan is to work together with the open source community and other software companies over the next 100 days to really shape and define the foundation, he said. The intention going forward is to find the best candidates for the full-time board, with the expectation that the Foundation will be run by a combination of representatives from software companies and open source communities.
The interim board will also be creating a project governing process by which projects can be nominated and approved as part of the Foundation.
Microsoft's support of the Foundation is really the next logical step in our work with and engagement of open source software communities, and does not signal a shift in Microsoft's open source strategy, Staples said.
Over the past few years we have become increasingly supportive of open source, including sponsoring the Apache Software Foundation, contributing to the PHP Community, participating in Apache projects - including the Hadoop project and the Qpid project - and participation in various community events such as OSBC, OSCON, EclipseCon, PyCon, and the Moodle Conference.
"Our hope is that new opportunities will emerge for Windows and .NET developers to more actively participate in open source development through the CodePlex Foundation," Staples said.
You can read more about the new CodePlex Foundation at http://www.codeplex.org/.
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.