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Quick Take: Microsoft’s Azure – Ctrl-Alt-Del

March 23, 2009

It is not surprising that Microsoft’s cloud computing “technology preview” platform called Azure took a nose-dive. What’s more, it’s no surprise that a automated maintenance service caused the platform to crumble. As indicated by the Azure team, the failure was due to:

“During a routine operating system upgrade on Friday (March 13th), the deployment service within Windows Azure began to slow down due to networking issues.  This caused a large number of servers to time out and fail…”

“…We have learned a lot from this experience.  We are addressing the network issues and we will be refining and tuning our recovery algorithm to ensure that it can handle malfunctions quickly and gracefully…”

“…For continued availability during upgrades, we recommend that application owners deploy their application with multiple instances of each role…”

Did they really think that “Friday the 13th” could buy them some sympathy? In any case, running two instances of the same image does not seem like a way to CONSERVE resources to me, and it seems to fly in the face of “green” practices. Given that graceful maintenance processes can be handled – on-line – by simple vMotion in VMware “clouds” – it makes me wonder if Azure is nothing but a bunch of Windows-on-Hyper-V servers managed by untested PowerShell scripts…

Oddly, the cure-all of running multiple instances is proven not to be 100% effective, as evidenced by their subsequent admission:

“Any application running only a single instance went down when its server went down.  Very few applications running multiple instances went down, although some were degraded due to one instance being down.”

But rest assured, there will be no charge for the kludge, er, fix to the problem:

“We will not count the second instance against quota limits, so CTP participants can feel comfortable running two instances of each application role.”

SOLORI’s take: This reminds me of the early VoIP days, when everyone released a VoIP product and very few were ready-for-prime-time. That made the entire industry – good and bad alike – take a black eye and probably delayed broader adoption of VoIP by a solid 5-years. Could this really be Microsoft’s strategy: to undermine the concept of cloud computing so that it is only fully-baked when they “proclaim” it to be?

SOLORI’s 2nd take: I question the sanity of anyone trusting Microsoft with their cloud computing initiative. Microsoft proclaims their product delivers: choice, low risk and fewer distractions. What about Uptime? Performance? Cost? Management? Responsiveness? Isn’t that the bread-and-butter of cloud computing? Too many questions – not enough answers…

Check-out TeckWorld’s article for their perspective…

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