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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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July 14, 2009 10:19 AM

Microsoft announces pricing for cloud computing on Azure

Posted by Sharon Chan

Microsoft brought some form to its cloud this morning, giving pricing details for Azure, its cloud computing platform.

The service is now in technical preview phase, but will go live at the Professional Developers Conference in the fall of this year, Microsoft said this morning.

With cloud computing, Microsoft hopes to persuade business customers to shift from hosting and running software on their own servers to hiring Microsoft to host and run the software for them. Here is a story we just ran explaining how the Ethiopian school system is using the cloud.

The pricing plan offers several options. Businesses could choose to pay based on usage, as with a utility; on a monthly basis, like a magazine subscription; or on an annual basis, like a car registration.

Here's asn example of what the first option, metered usage of Windows Azure, would cost:

Computing: 12 cents per hour

Storage: 15 cents per gigabyte
Storage transaction: 10 cents per 10,000KBandwidth: 10 cents in/15 cents out per gigabyte


It's like trying to figure out your monthly electrical bill based on the price of a kilowatt hour.
Prashant Ketkar, director of product marketing for Windows Azure, said not to focus on the price points. "While the actual per-unit price is interesting, in the end context, it doesn't really matter," he said. "They're only as significant as when you take a specific application and move to the Windows Azure environment."

Figuring out how much that would cost will require sitting down with Microsoft or a Microsoft partner (at the Worldwide Partners Conference happening today in New Orleans) and calculating the total cost of running an application, he said.

It's a lot less straightforward than at least one cloud competitor, SalesForce.com, which is offering cloud computing for $20 per user per month.

Here are more details on Microsoft's cloud pricing, if you really want to know:

SQL Azure Web edition database, with 1 gigabyte relational database: $9.99

Business edition database, with 10 gigabyte relational database: $99.99
Bandwidth: 10 cents in/15 cents out per gigabyte

.NET Services
Messages: 15 cents per 100K message operations
Bandwidth: 10 cents in/15 cents out per gigabyte

Service Level Agreements
Compute connectivity: 99.95 percent guarantee
Storage: 99.9 percent guarantee
Automated service management

Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Microsoft , Windows Azure |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 18, 2009 5:21 PM

SalesForce.com pitches cloud computing in Microsoft territory

Posted by Sharon Chan

Marc Benioff_20009.jpgSalesforce.com was in Seattle on Thursday promoting its cloud-computing product ahead of Microsoft's anticipated announcements this summer about its competing product Azure. Chief Executive Mark Benioff gave a speech at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle to customers in an event called CloudForce, which is touring the globe.

While better known for its Web-based software that helps sales teams track and close deals, Salesforce.com is moving aggressively into cloud computing and creating a platform where software developers can make applications and deploy them from servers that SalesForce.com runs, rather than on the PC or a company's server. It has beaten Microsoft to the market and is already selling developers on the cloud product.

For instance, Starbucks approached SalesForce.com shortly after Christmas with an idea: Create an online campaign and Web site called Pledge 5 to encourage community service, launching the same day as the presidential inauguration. Also, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was scheduled to be on Oprah to promote it, so the site had to be built tough enough to withstand hundreds of thousands of visitors. Systems integrator Apperio built the application, which allows users to seek out volunteer opportunities in their neighborhood, in three weeks.

In another example, a small Bay Area company that manufactures kitchen countertops from recycled glass, Vetrazzo, talked about how they managed their supply chain, each countertop slab and travel expenses with custom programs that one developer built on Salesforce.com's cloud platform.

Amazon.com is also a player in cloud computing. Microsoft is expected to make announcements about how it will charge people to use Azure, its cloud product, this summer.

(Photo of Marc Benioff: SalesForce.com)

Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Enterprise , Microsoft , Windows Azure |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 1, 2009 2:03 PM

Microsoft's Ray Ozzie talks about cloud computing and heralds this a golden age

Posted by Sharon Chan

biz1microsoftpdc28.jpg
Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, sat down for a question and answer session at the Technology Alliance lunch today at the Westin in downtown Seattle.
Ed Lazowska, a computer science professor at the University of Washington, asked questions and took a few from the audience. Ozzie talked about the cloud, netbooks and took a stroll down memory lane to describe the first Internet-ish system he used in 1974.


(Photo credit: Microsoft, 2008)

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Microsoft , Netbooks , Office |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 25, 2009 6:26 PM

Q&A: Microsoft chief strategist Craig Mundie on global competition, government IT

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer, said Americans seeking to update their technology skills should look to the nation's community colleges for training.

Mundie took a break from the company's Government Leaders Forum -- Americas on Wednesday to talk with me about global competitiveness, the government IT spending environment, prospects for cloud computing in government IT portfolios and more.

Earlier in the day, Mundie talked to the gathering of Latin American governors and ministerial-level leaders about using technology to improve health care and education. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to address the group, meeting in Leesburg, Va., on Thursday.

Here are edited excerpts from my talk with Mundie:

Q: You remarked on the idea that technology has been a great global leveler, contributing to developing nations' transition from industrial and agricultural economies to knowledge-based economies. What's available for people in this country who are facing layoffs now and want to compete on that global playing field that technology creates?

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Data centers , Education , Public policy & issues , Security & privacy , Strategy , Tech Economy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 11, 2009 6:29 PM

Microsoft cloud services progress report

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

For a few years now, Microsoft's mantra has been "software plus services," the idea that customers can chose how they buy and consume the company's products. For example, a business may choose whether to buy Exchange for e-mail and run it on its own servers or have Microsoft host Exchange in its data centers and provide it as a service for a per user, per month subscription. For many products, there are also third-party partner companies that offer similar hosting models for Microsoft's business applications. Last week, I talked with three Microsoft executives about which among these options looks the best to Microsoft from a financial perspective, and how the online businesses are evolving.

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Enterprise , Financial , Online services , Windows Azure |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 9, 2009 10:38 AM

Google licenses Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft for new mobile service

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

mobile sync logos.JPG Google today launched Google Sync, a service that allows people to easily move and synchronize contacts and calendar items between devices. The company is licensing patents from Microsoft "covering Google's implementation of the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol on Google servers," according to a Microsoft statement.

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Devices , Google , Mobile , Online services |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 10, 2008 3:15 PM

Data center construction delays?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

InternetNews has a thorough report today pointing to several signs that Google and Microsoft are slowing construction on their expensive data centers to save costs against the backdrop of recession.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Data centers , Google , Tech Economy , Windows Azure |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 8, 2008 3:16 PM

Dell's Humidors packed with 'puro' servers for Microsoft?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Ellen M. Banner / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Stacy Thrasher, great grand-daughter of F. K. Kirsten, poses for a photo inside my favorite local humidor.

Wondering who's going to build all the shipping containers preloaded with server computers to supply Microsoft's ambitious modular data center strategy? Dell, for one, is already scoring some of the business with a double-decker model code-named "Humidor."


Before we go much further, isn't that just a great code name? There are so many awful code names in tech, it's nice to see one that makes sense.

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Hardware , Server and tools |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 2, 2008 12:47 PM

Microsoft planning more modular data centers

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is taking a new approach to building the massive data centers that run its growing suite of online services, which are fast becoming central to its business. The company plans to build modular data centers, which use shipping containers preloaded with up to 2,500 server computers that can be built in half the time as conventional data centers.

More details and a video explaining it all after the jump.

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Data centers , Online services |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 24, 2008 4:57 PM

IT forecast: Cloudy

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Here are a handful of interesting developments/observations on the emerging cloud computing market, including new efforts by IBM, a glowing review from Microsoft's first enterprise hosting customer and a comparison of Amazon.com and Microsoft's offerings.

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Comments | Category: Cloud computing , News roundup |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 3, 2008 4:02 PM

Microsoft news roundup: Salesforce beats the cloud drum; GOOG-YHOO revamp search ad deal, while Icahn says a Microsoft search deal still makes sense; MSN vet goes to Yahoo

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Salesforce.com, the software as a service company that loves to put Microsoft's business model in its cross hairs, today announced a Web hosting service for enterprise clients called Force.com Sites. It was one of several Salesforce announcements Monday, including partnerships with Amazon.com and Facebook, all of which elevate the company's cloud computing offerings as competition for these services continues to intensify. (See Microsoft's cloud platform expansion from last week.) Here's coverage from Reuters.

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Comments | Category: Carl Icahn , Cloud computing , Coming and going , Google , Miscellaneous , News roundup , Salesforce.com , Yahoo |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 2, 2008 3:59 PM

Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff says his company is ahead of Microsoft on cloud computing

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The San Francisco Chronicle published an interesting interview with Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff on Sunday. When asked about Microsoft's cloud computing efforts and its new Windows Azure platform, detailed last week, Benioff did not seem threatened. (It doesn't appear if they asked him for his reaction to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's plans to declare Monday, Nov. 2, "Microsoft Innovation Day" in the city. That also happens to be the first day of Salesforce's Dreamforce conference.)

Here's an excerpt from the Chronicle's interview with one of the early proponents of "software as a service" and cloud computing:

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Salesforce.com |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 27, 2008 10:50 PM

PDC: Microsoft's Muglia on profit margins for Windows Azure, opportunities to work with Amazon

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's server and tools business, shared his expectations of the impact Microsoft's new services platform will have on company profit margins, where he sees opportunities for collaboration with Amazon.com -- the company's biggest cloud competitor not named Google -- and more in an interview earlier today.

Check out these edited excerpts of our conversation. I've put the particularly interesting bits in bold for easier scanning.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Financial , Online services , PDC2008 , Server and tools , Strategy , Windows Azure |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 27, 2008 6:53 AM

PDC: Looking into Microsoft's cloud strategy

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- Good morning from Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference. While the big headline for the show this week will likely be Windows 7, the company's strategy for cloud computing is a close second. The cloud strategy will get most of the attention today, with a keynote speech from Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, set to begin in about 90 minutes.

For background, check out this story from today's paper, which notes the competition Microsoft faces to attract software developers -- the primary audience at this show -- to its emerging cloud computing platform. Formidable competitors in the form of Amazon, Google and other smaller players are also vying for developer attention.

Comments | Category: Cloud computing , Online services , PDC2008 , Strategy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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