There are a lot of questions circling around the blogosphere about Microsoft’s plans in the cloud. These plans are clearly secret and tangled up with code words, but some bits are public and getting more so.
If you haven’t checked out BizTalk Labs and the Internet Service Bus, you can get an overview here. But more than an overview, you can download version 12 — OK, 0.12 — of the SDK and get started very quickly.
The Internet Service Bus consists of three main parts:
- Identity Service. A service to unify authentication and authorization across the Internet Service Bus with support for other identity providers.
- Connectivity Service. A general service to connect applications with message relay when necessary.
- Workflow. A service that runs Windows Workflow Foundation workflows in the cloud.
Workflow was added this week. Before that, the Internet Service Bus looked mostly like infrastructure, but with this new addition, it is moving up the stack towards platform.
I played with the SDK earlier in the week. The Workflow Service supports a set of cloud activities included in the SDK. Using these activities as building blocks, you can build simple workflows hosted by Microsoft in the cloud. The available activities for the cloud are only a subset of the standard .NET 3.0/3.5 activities, but I’ll bet more are added as the service matures.
Now, this is all a CTP and final plans aren’t public, but, a quick glance at the ISB and some very interesting possibilities emerge. For example, the existing features in the CTP today, would greatly ease the engineering effort of extending a Digipede Network into the cloud. Pretty cool, huh?
BTW: A recent comment on my blog shows that some people aren’t aware of another Microsoft Cloud service: SQL Server Data Services (or SSDS). That one is in a limited beta, but you can sign up for it at Microsoft Connect.