SaaS: Microsoft Shoots for the Clouds

first_imgFirst there were the desktop wars. Then the browser wars. Now Microsoft is challenging players like Amazon, Google, and smaller companies like Zoho for dominance in the Cloud. When the browser wars started, Bill Gates made a dramatic change in Microsoft’s business direction to pursue a new course. It’s clear that Microsoft is at the crossroads again and Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie are now struggling to chart out new territory for Microsoft.Microsoft’s On-Demand push since January include subscription versions of Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint which are expected to become available in late 2008.It’s been a little slow in coming, but Microsoft announced at the Mix08 Web developer conference an in-the-cloud data service called SQL Server Data Services (SSDS). The On-Demand service will be based on the popular Microsoft SQL Server technology. The new service is aimed at Web developers who don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing a database. Microsoft describes SSDS as “highly scalable, on-demand data storage and query processing utility services.” The focus is mostly on startups and small to medium sized companies. The interface to the database is via REST or SOAP web services.It’s interesting to note though that this isn’t at all a drop-in replacement of a SQL database. SSDS uses a new language called LINQ. SQL will return rows from tables of elements, LINQ (Language Integrated Query). The idea is that LINQ could support a wider variety of datatypes than what are in SQL. Search and query operators are standard programming language operators in LINQ. Equally interesting is that LINQ is not a language in itself, it is a language extension to .NET language supported by Microsoft’s CLR, like C# and Visual Basic.The bad news is that the program is only in beta and not expected to be non-beta until mid next year. But then Microsoft’s competitors, Google and Amazon, seem to be in perpetual beta with their services. Also the features of SSDS are a subset of the features available in SQL Server, and even a full-featured SQL Server lags behind the features of Oracle or DB2.With SDSS Microsoft competes against other in-the-cloud Databases that include DabbleDB, Amazon, CouchDB, GoogleBase, Zoho Creator and TrackVia.Currently SSDS is most similar to what Amazon is doing with their SimpleDB package. In some ways, Microsoft is ahead of the pack, at least ahead of traditionaldatabase vendors in starting an On-Demand presence, namely Oracle and IBM. Seems like another technology war is in the brewing.last_img read more

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The Unintended Consequences of Consumer Devices at Work

first_imgWorkers may believe that the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend makes them more efficient and productive, but what are the unintended consequences of utilizing consumer devices and apps as enterprise work tools? Unlike PCs, most smart phones and tablets on the market today are intended mainly for personal use. Many of the handy applications and features on consumer devices weren’t created with enterprise use in mind, and may actually expose the organization to risk.Speech recognition features are a good example to consider. Apple introduced its own “Siri” conversational interaction app for the iPhone 4S in October 2011, supporting applications such as messaging, calendar, clock, contacts, email, maps, music, notes and web browser, and causing an immediate stir. But what most users didn’t understand was that the lion’s share of Siri processing was being conducted in Apple data centers.This resulted in unexpected data plan charges for many unhappy users, requiring fast footwork by Apple to more clearly explain Siri’s complex computational model. In May of 2012, another PR fire broke out when IBM banned employees from using Siri after discovering that Apple routinely stores Siri users’ voice data for an undisclosed period (the company has since revealed that it keeps that information for up to two years). After Apple refused to answer questions about this policy and how the data would be secured, IBM pulled Siri’s plug.In contrast, the integrated speech recognition features planned for devices based on Intel’s “Haswell” processors will occur entirely in-system, allowing end users and their employers to manage voice-enabled applications and data in compliance with specific corporate and security policies. In addition, hundreds of developers have downloaded Intel’s Perceptual Computing SDK with the likely result that Haswell-based systems will have access to a host of innovative speech-based apps and services. For more information on BYOD’s affect on enterprise collaboration, please see Part 1 of this BYOD blog series.For a full report on this topic, please see the attached whitepaper. This whitepaper originally appeared as a post by Charles King on pund-it.com.For more conversations about IT Center and BYOD, click on the Hashtags below:#ITCenterOpens in a new window #BYODlast_img read more

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