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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Quick Thoughts on the SDS Announcement

While the changes coming to SQL Data Services (SDS) are not exactly news, I wanted to weigh in on it.

I was familiar with SSDS before I knew anything about Red Dog Storage Azure Storage.  When I found out about the latter, my initial concern was that Microsoft would confuse developers by offering two overlapping services. Such overlap isn’t too surprising considering that these two projects came out of competing parts of Microsoft.  At the time, there was a pretty consistent message that SDS would someday support relational operations, but to me that meant they should  hold off on SDS until that day came.

Microsoft often offers multiple technologies to solve specific problems — often this is a result of legacy technologies — in this case it seemed a shame to start off with such overlap.

Because of all this, I am very happy to see this clear differentiation between the Azure and SDS services.  This is a good decision for Microsoft, Microsoft developers, and given the roadmap for SDS, an excellent decision for Microsoft’s enterprise customers.

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The Cloud Services Stack — Infrastructure

I posted Cloud Services Continuum a couple of weeks back.  In that post I articulated a simplified view of cloud services and how they fit together.  This was simple by design — others had found this view useful, so I wrote it down.  I intentionally ignored some kinds of services, greatly simplifying the Infrastructure piece.  In this post I delve deeper into infrastructure services.  I’ll move on to platform next.

BTW: Stack is a more fitting word than continuum for various reasons, so I’m using that instead.  And a shout out to Matias Wolsky — check out his SaaS Taxonomy Map.

Infrastructure as a Serviceimage

In my earlier post, I defined IaaS to include provisioning of hardware or virtual machines on which one generally has control over the OS; therefore allowing the execution of arbitrary software. This definition isn’t really enough, because there are many other kinds of infrastructure.  Take a look at the services that are out there:

  • connectivity / messaging services.  Examples: Microsoft BizTalk Labs and Connectivity Services, Gnip.
  • identity services. Countless OpenID identity providers, again the BizTalk Labs Identity Services.
  • data storage.  Examples: Amazon’s S3 and SimpleDB, Microsoft SQL Server Data Services.

One might argue that together these services create a “platform” — and they get close — but since none of these host general user-written code, they don’t quite get there.

Then, of course, there is flexible machine provisioning like Amazon EC2.  These are definitely infrastructure — where the platform is the OS, Web servers, and other software.

Calling this all IaaS is fine — it is all infrastructure — but, maybe we should further divide these:

  • Virtual Hardware Infrastructure
  • Storage Infrastructure
  • (Other) Infrastructure Services

Granted, these names need some work, but I think the categories are useful.  And I won’t make them into acronyms because I think we have enough of those.

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