Microsoft’s latest cloud computing onslaught is a nascent “Data as a Service” offering launched this week at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
From his keynote perch, Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie urged attendees to keep information in mind when they develop cloud computing apps. Microsoft’s proposed data service, code-named Dallas, aggregates reams of public data and will make it available by subscription so that it can be parsed, reconfigured and displayed as needed and incorporated in other applications.
Microsoft watchers could be forgiven if they view this through Microsoft’s Google eyes. Google, a pioneer in cloud computing, made its name and fortune indexing and surfacing all sorts of data using an ad-based model that makes it available free to consumers. Dallas will be a subscription service, according to Ozzie.
Dallas was built on Azure and SQL Azure to be an “open catalog and marketplace of public and commercial data,” Ozzie said.
“Our world is increasingly wired with sensors that are recording unimaginable volumes of data, not only on us and what we do but on the physical world around us, healthcare, government, the environment,” he said.
“That data does no good unless we turn the potential into the kinetic — into apps and solutions wrapped around that data. Weave together that public domain content with your own content,” Ozzie said.
With a common API granting access to data across a number of providers, Dallas could require less developer effort to generate enterprise mashups, said Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. Such ad hoc data integrations often rely on HTTP, but can require considerable data access coding to tie together, he said.
The availability of good data at low cost would be a boon to anyone building e-commerce applications, added Carl Mazzanti, president of eMazzanti Technologies, a Hoboken, N.J.-based Microsoft partner. “Any time you can get good data delivered to you that is inexpensive and that you don’t have to maintain could be very useful,” he added.
What looks like a way to mine and harness data may seem like a boon to vendors, but a big brother nightmare to others.
Ozzie reiterated the Azure timeline already public on Microsoft Blogs and that the free Azure community technology preview (CTP) will continue through year’s end. Microsoft will test out reliability and payment systems in January, and the switch to paid services will happen Feb. 1, 2010.
PDC attendees can register for the Dallas community technical preview this week.
This report was updated Tuesday night with additional analyst and partner comments.
Rob Barry contributed to this story.
Barbara Darrow is the Senior News
Carl Mazzanti is Co-Founder and President of eMazzanti Technologies, Microsoft’s four time Partner of the Year and one of the premier IT consulting services for businesses throughout the New York metropolitan area and internationally. Carl and his company manage over 400 active accounts ranging from professional services firms to high-end global retailers.
eMazzanti is all about delivering powerful, efficient outsourced IT services, such as computer network management and troubleshooting, managed print, PCI DSS compliance, green computing, mobile workforce technology, information security, cloud computing, and business continuity and disaster recovery.
Carl Mazzanti is also a frequent business conference speaker and technology talk show guest and contributor at Microsoft-focused events, including frequent prominent roles at the Microsoft Inspire (Worldwide Partner Conference / WPC).
Carl, a serial Entrepreneur, gives back to the community through Entrepreneur teaching engagements at Georgetown University, the company’s ocean wildlife conservation effort, the Blue Project, and Tree Mazzanti.