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Microsoft making waves with Azure and Dallas at '09 PDC

At the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC) this year, Microsoft made headlines with its new “data marketplace,” Dallas, and surprised analysts with the announcement that Azure would run virtual machines next year.

“Windows Azure’s planned support for VMs with administrative access is a big step forward,” said David Chappell, principal of the Chapell and Associates consulting firm. “It addresses a concern that many customers have.”

Chappell said it was also a good move for Microsoft to provide access to public domain information with Dallas, like Amazon does with its Public Data Sets.

In the months leading up to the PDC, cloud computing consultancy LTech had a number of clients testing their own databases out in Azure. Ed Laczynski, the company’s CTO, said feedback has been mixed.

“The platform looks viable for small to mid-size applications,” said Laczynski. “But we’re still standing up Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server instances on EC2 despite the availability of Azure.”

Where a development team is building an application from scratch or undergoing a complete rebuild is where Laczynski said the early traction would likely be. But for larger enterprises to see the value, he believes the data architecture in Azure will have to get closer to matching the features of something like SQL Server Enterprise.

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