Microsoft Talks Windows Azure, Launches 'Dallas' Data Service

Microsoft will make its Windows Azure cloud platform available as of Jan. 1, 2010, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie says in a keynote speech at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. The company also announces a data-as-a-service solution code-named Dallas.

LOS ANGELES-Microsoft will turn on its Windows Azure cloud platform as of Jan. 1, 2010, said Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie in a keynote speech at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference here.

In his speech Nov. 17, Ozzie said Microsoft would continue to offer Windows Azure as a Community Technology Preview until the end of 2009, and then turn on Azure's cloud services for enterprises.

However, Ozzie said charges will not accrue for users in January 2010, but will begin in February.

"At its core, Azure is Windows-Windows Server," Ozzie said. He said Azure also provides an extension of Microsoft System Center's management capabilities in the enterprise. And for developers, the Azure development environment appears as an extension to Microsoft's Visual Studio tools.

Ozzie also said, "A handful of customers will go into production today. One company to highlight is Automatic, maker of WordPress, which is now live on Azure."

Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic, maker of WordPress, said his company is launching a new site called that runs on SQL Azure. And if it gets really popular the company will simply be able to add more capacity on Azure.

According to Microsoft, "The Windows Azure platform offers an intuitive, reliable and powerful platform for the creation of Web applications and services.

"The Windows Azure platform [comprises] Windows Azure, an operating system as a service; SQL Azure, a fully relational database in the cloud; and .NET Services, consumable Web-based services that provide both secure connectivity and federated access control for applications."

Ozzie said the kind of service Microsoft provides to Automatic is what the company calls "infrastructure as a service" that can respond to the growing or shrinking needs of customers for computing power.

Meanwhile, Ozzie also announced a new Microsoft technology called Pinpoint, which is a catalog of business applications and services for developers and IT staff. This will be syndicated in the Microsoft Partner Network.

In addition, Ozzie announced that Microsoft is releasing a CTP of a new "game-changing" subsystem of Windows Azure, code-named Dallas. Ozzie said Dallas is an open catalog for data, both public and commercial. It is a uniform discovery mechanism for data.

"By creating data as a service, Dallas might catalyze the use of data for developers," Ozzie said. "Data does no good unless we turn the potential into the kinetic."

Vivek Kundra, the nation's federal CIO, spoke via live feed from Washington and encouraged developers to take advantage of the vast amount of public data to create applications using the new Microsoft technology. Kundra also encouraged developers to look at the site. Developers can go there and see "all the data that's been democratized by NASA on Azure."