Category Archives: Azure

Microsoft Jumps On Columnar Cloud Bandwagon, Provides Cloud Escrow

When we’re in a technical conversation about Business Intelligence (BI), the question about “which database do you use for BI” invariably comes up.  Whatever the database name is, chances are that the type of database will be described as “columnar“.  If you’re a frequent reader of this site, you may know that columnar and “NoSQL” databases are kissing cousins, and that we’re big fans of the Cassandra NoSQL database in these parts (though we advocate some tweaks).

We’re confident in our positions, but every once in a while its good to hear that we’re not just bleeding edge iconoclasts.  Today, Microsoft provided that reassurance when it announced its “Apollo” initiative to the masses.

In a Gavin Clarke interview published in The Register, Quentin Clark, general manager of the Microsoft SQL Server Database Systems Group, talks about, “new columnar technology called Apollo,” which Clark claimed could boost certain queries by between 10 and 50 times.

Other people were also struck by the new Apollo technology during a keynote Microsoft provided during the PASS Summit on Nov 9.  Here’s one blogger reacting:

” This is a great demo. We’re seeing a trillion rows per minute, filtered & reported on. It’s very slick. This is good. Same technology is also in the database engine. We’re seeing fantastic performance. I might be out of a job. It’s based on the columnar data store technology. It’s a very good thing.”

If you want to see the demo yourself, pull up this page in IE (you need Windows Media Player) and fast forward to about this point.

Though additional details on Apollo are sketchy so far, chances are that the fog will be lifted when the latest preview of Denali (the code name for the next version of SQL Server) is sent to subscribers on MSDN and TechNet, as Microsoft is promising near-parity of its on-premises and cloud-based SQL Server offerings.

Not lost on DivConq is the fact that by providing this level of parity between on-premises and cloud-based offerings Microsoft is giving its customers the ability to choose and later change their deployment models.  In other words, Microsoft is making cloud escrow a reality.  Who said they were evil?


Posted by on 2010-Nov-11 in Azure, Cassandra, Cloud, Other Organizations

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Microsoft’s New Cloud Strategy: Let’s Support Java

OK, so there was no DivConq in April 2010, but if there was, we would have posted an article about VMForce, the Java-based strategic alliance between and VMware.   This move allowed developers to host Spring- and Tomcat-based Java applications on top of (Sales) services.

There’s also Amazon’s Java option, which is essentially pull up a Linux image and run your Java apps on it – now sometimes for free.

With so much of the cloud rushing to embrace Java, Microsoft took the unusual step of promising an open Java platform on its Azure cloud in 2011 at its own PDC (as reported by mul ti ple sources).

According to eWeek’s Darryl Taft, Microsoft promises that, “this process will involve improving Java performance, Eclipse tooling and client libraries for Windows Azure. Customers can choose the Java environment of their choice and run it on Windows Azure. Improved Java Enablement will be available to customers in 2011.”

Amitabh Srivastava, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Division was similarly quoted. “The further we got into this journey into the cloud, we saw that more and more people were writing cloud applications in Java.  There are three things we need to do. One is tooling; we’re going to make the whole Eclipse integration with Azure be first class. Second is we’re going to expose the APIs in Windows Azure in Java. And third we’re investing in optimizing the performance of Java applications on Windows Azure.”

Java in “the .NET cloud”?  Of course, Java’s been supported in Azure for a long time, but it’s certainty not been accorded first class status.  TheRegister’s Gavin Clarke wonders if a race to the bottom in price, as well as developer accessibility, was the real driver behind this unusual move.

What’s also interesting to long time developers was that “Visual Studio” wasn’t mention in the same breath as”Eclipse”, leaving one to wonder if the “Eclipse tooling” represents a new frontier in Microsoft’s vaunted “embrace and extend” strategy.


Posted by on 2010-Nov-11 in Amazon EC2, Azure, Cloud, Elastic Architecture

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