Summary of PDC09 announcements

The two keynote days of PDC09 are behind, and the crowd has mixed reactions. At any rate, the most substantial launches seem to be over now, so it’s a safe time to write up some quick notes. Later on, it’ll be time to delve into each of these in more detail. The following list is not comprehensive, but contains my view of the most important stuff.

The Microsoft cloud story is slowly getting more ready. Various cloud-related aspects have been discussed, and many existing products have been announced to extend to the cloud.

  • Azure will now support virtual machines of different sizes (number of cores, virtual machines, prices) – pretty much like Amazon does.
  • New datacenters planned in Dublin, Amsterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong during 2010.
  • Launched Microsoft PinPoint, a directory of companies, applications and consultants available on the Microsoft field
  • Published Microsoft Codename “Dallas”, a data-as-a-service (DaaS) offering that aims to make various public data sets available as a service.
  • Mentioned Microsoft “Project Sydney”, a technology for opening IPv6/IPSEC tunnels between SQL Servers, allowing more seamless connectivity between on-premises datacenters and the public cloud
  • Mentioned “Windows Azure [X]Drive”, a facility that allows you to store a VHD-format NTFS volume on the cloud and then mount it.
  • Highlighted the platform capabilites of Azure, including features such as hosting Java/PHP apps, MySQL etc. on the Azure cloud.
  • For basic features of Azure, Microsoft is still on track for 1st January production, billing starts from 1st February

The application server story was once again refreshed. Dublin is dead, thanks for the past year. The current buzz is around AppFabric, which is now in beta for Windows Server, and a Windows Azure version will enter CTP phase during 2010. The AppFabric encompasses Dublin’s idea of having centralized monitoring and management for web services and workflows, but also throws in the distributed caching thus far known by the code name of “Velocity”. The basic idea is also to make farm and application management very symmetrical in on-premises/cloud, thus making it easy to move apps from software to service model and vice versa.

Silverlight 4 was an important announcement: It is now in beta. There are plenty of new features, including the following: printing, bi-directional text support, DLL sharing with pure .NET, designer support in Visual Studio 2010, support for local devices (webcams, microphones, USB storage), HTML embedding and full-trust offline applications (including access to local file system, COM automation etc). Release expected in H1/2010 (MIX10 would be a great time…).

The Oslo concepts were largely rehashed, again. What’s left of Oslo is centered on the application and data modeling, and is now renamed as SQL Server Modeling Services. Checking out Doug Purdy’s blog’s few last items may help in understanding this.

Windows Identity Foundation is now released. WIF is a set of .NET libraries enabling claims-based authentication support for various sorts of .NET applications. All in all, the claims authentication model received a lot of attention and will certainly deserve even more later on.

Internet Explorer 9 was published, although no binaries are out yet – according to Steven Sinofsky, the project is only a few weeks old. Key enhancement areas are standards compatibility, speed improvements and hardware-based rendering support.

OData is a web data transfer protocol intended for REST-style data transfer and updates. The protocol specification has been openly published by Microsoft, and Microsoft is trying to get Google to choose OData over their existing GData. See the OData FAQ for a rough scoping on what OData is.

The data services stack saw a couple of product renamings: The previous WCF REST toolkit parts are now branded “WCF WebHttp”, ADO.NET Data Services are now known as WCF Data Services and .NET RIA Services became WCF RIA Services. So in essence, the WCF umbrella is taking over about all of the data transfer. OData would seem to take the role as the major implementation protocol for this.

Pivot is a new approach to web browsing by Microsoft Live Labs. It arranges web resources (like Wikipedia articles or dog breeds) into metadata-driven collections, allowing exploration through visual grouping, zooming and filtering. Very interesting experiment, although creating the necessary collections will take some time. For now, Pivot is in private beta.

November 19, 2009 · Jouni Heikniemi · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: .NET, Cloud, Web, Windows IT

2 Responses

  1. Arttu - November 19, 2009

    Thanks for the informative summary! But what about the best part, SharePoint and Office 2010 betas released in time with the PDC – surely they got some attention there as well :)

  2. Jouni Heikniemi - November 19, 2009

    Actually, the betas went without much attention. Of course, Kurt DelBene's keynote (second day, last 35 minutes or so) talked about SharePoint, but everything worth announcing was already announced in SPC. Besides, many PDC attendees don't seem to have particular love for SharePoint… So no, not much new on that front.

Leave a Reply