ORLANDO, Fla.-As Microsoft moves into a new era of developer enablement with its .Net platform, data becomes a first-class citizen in how developers create and work with applications.
Indeed, Jonathan Perera, general manager of Microsoft’s Application Platform Division, said part of what Microsoft is trying to do is “take a developer that knows .Net and empower them to use that tool set in new and interesting ways.” One of those ways is to better integrate data into the applications they build on the platform.
“The story is about how Microsoft is helping developers of all shapes and sizes without causing them to learn new skills,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division. “We are a platform company at heart, and we expect developers to be able to build on our platform. The developer audience is our most important audience, and we continue to deliver products and tools for developers to build on our platform,” Somasegar said at the Microsoft Tech-Ed Developer 2008 conference here.
However, “as much as we’ve expanded the tools and services, the one thing we continue to have is the commitment to a single programming model,” Somasegar said. “The saying used to be write once, run anywhere, well we say ‘learn once, run anywhere,’ because once you learn the Microsoft programming model you can use it to build applications anywhere” on the platform, he said.
Moreover, “data has become an integral part of an application,” Somasegar said. “A data enabled application is becoming more core to application development. LINQ [Language Integrated Query] allows us to bring together programming and data,” he said. “And with SQL Server, the .Net Framework and Visual Studio, we think we have a fantastic platform where you can store, model, query and sync your data, and also be able to visualize and understand your data.”
As one of the core announcements at Microsoft’s Tech-Ed event, the company is also announcing a new CTP (Community Technology Preview) of its Microsoft Sync Framework, a synchronization platform that enables collaboration and offline scenarios for applications, services and devices.
“And with SQL Server 2008 coming later this summer we enable you to manage any type pf data-structured data, images, spatial data” and more. Microsoft supports SQL Server for devices, as well as large enterprise systems, “and we now have SQL Server data services to take advantage of cloud storage so you see scale like you’ve never seen before.”
Meanwhile, from the framework side, with support for Microsoft’s ADO.NET, a developer can model databases, Somasegar said. And with SQL Server 2008, the .Net Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008, “we let you query data from within your program using the same language constructs,” he said. Moreover, “one of the reasons we get excited about TFS [Team Foundation Server] is we can store everything in TFS-all the stuff from your software- development experience. The more we can do to enable you to store your data-we feel like we are doing a great service.” TFS is Microsoft’s offering for source control, data collection, reporting, and project tracking, and is intended for collaborative-software development projects.
What SQL Server Needs
Meanwhile, David Campbell, a Microsoft Technical Fellow, working in the Data Storage Platform division, said he has specialized in how developers work with data-having been with the SQL Server team for 14 years-after coming from Digital Equipment Corp. “We’ve extended SQL Server down to devices and scaled up to large servers, and now are building a cloud service. And we support all types of data-from just relational to BLOB [Binary Large Objects] to now integrated,” Campbell said
In SQL Server 2008, two new things appear-support for spatial data and file stream support, he said. The new release also supports a broader array of operations over the data, including the ability to integrate, analyze, visualize, report on and synchronize the data, Campbell said.
“The thing with SQL Server is it’s a database product, but what’s in the box is a BI [business intelligence] platform as well,” Campbell said. “There are reporting services in the box. We’re making BI be more real-time and embedding it in applications.”
Meanwhile, at Tech-Ed, Microsoft is announcing Velocity, a distributed explicit, coherent cache, “to place a cache above the database and the application,” which can be integrated with ASP.Net as a session cache, Campbell said.
Velocity is most like Oracle’s Tangosol technology, Campbell said. Oracle acquired Tangosol last year. Tangosol’s Coherence product, now subsumed into Oracle simply as Tangosol, provides a proven, reliable in-memory data-grid technology designed to meet the new demands for real-time data analytics, compute intensive middleware and high-performance transactions-often referred to as XTP (Extreme Transaction Processing). Memcached is a similar solution in the open source world, Campbell said.
“Tangosol is probably the closest in terms of what it’ll [Velocity] look like,” Campbell said. “And if you know .Net, you’ll know Velocity,” he said, noting that it will be integrated into the platform.
“The issue is the reduction of latency and getting data from one place to another,” Campbell said. “We have to design as if the cost of storage has gone to zero,” he said.
Primarily, “it’s a matter of getting the right data in the right form at the right time,” Campbell said. That is what Microsoft is delivering. And customers such as NewsGator are buying. NewsGator is using SQL Server 2008 to manage 2.5 billion articles, Microsoft officials said.