More Cloud Container Pictures

Posted on November 30, 2009 12:33 by mikesnell

I posted earlier on the cloud container at PDC09. I wanted to add a few more pictures that I took of this awesome hardware.

The Front

Notice the slotted panels: this is where air comes in through the water-drip cooling filter.


The Back

Air is pushed out the top of the container. Not sure if these glass panels are just for the show piece or if they exist in all the containers.




In this version, you can actually walk inside the unit in order to do maintenance. You can see the filter panels (left). You can also see the environment monitoring units hanging from the racks.


The Cloud Container at PDC09

Posted on November 18, 2009 14:59 by mikesnell

Microsoft dropped a cloud container to the PDC. This thing is awesome in its size and scope. A couple cool facts:

  1. It is designed to run outside … even in extreme heat. You drop it into a secured area next to a cheap power source and let it go. No need to house it in a building or data center.
  2. It is water cooled. No air-conditioning … just a water drip.
  3. You can walk inside it to change filters, drives, etc. I have a picture of me inside it (pulling a drive) that did not turn out (thanks Lars) … will try and shoot another one.
  4. It takes one guy about 4 days to build out the container itself. Very nice process (need to find the video on that).

A picture of me next to the container (back side) … this thing was running (not too loud):


PDC09 Day 1 Thoughts

Posted on November 17, 2009 17:07 by mikesnell

The first, full day of PDC is almost over. I've been able to sit through the keynotes, some Azure breakouts, 1:1's, side meetings, and lunch. I thought I would blog a few points about what I've seen and heard on day one:

Codename “Dallas”

Microsoft site / product, codename "Dallas", is a new marketplace that enables the ability to share, discover, and consume data. This means people with large data sets can post their data here and developers can enable new applications that leverage this data. I think this is just brilliant. Enable a way for data providers to monetize the usage of their data while enabling developers to create applications that leverage the same.


Another marketplace, Microsoft PinPoint was announced. It is a site for sharing applications, bits of applications, and services. The key is a central location for sharing, discovering, and consuming applications and services. It seems Microsoft will be pushing this new marketplace heavily on many of their other sites when companies, consumers, and developers are looking for solutions. I really like where this is going in that it enable new opportunities for developers.


Microsoft has really come a long with Azure since last year’s PDC. So far, in fact, that the production launch data has been announced (Jan 1, 2010) and a pricing model was presented.

Surprise! -- Azure now supports hosting application outside of .NET. This includes MySql, PHP, and more. In fact, anything you can run on computer hardware looks like it will be supported on this new cloud platform. This seems to put Microsoft at the center of the hosting world.

Microsoft announced the ability to mount a SQL blob as an NTFS drive and program against it. This allows you to write the same file I/O code you would if you were coding against a hard drive on a box or network.

The new service bus for Azure allows for securely connected applications over the internet, across networks, across organizations. Hope to see more on this.

Got an walkthrough of an data center container – WOW! Hope to post a picture soon.

SQL Azure

The SQL Azure stuff has just been awesome. What a great job the team seems to have done with this stuff. It really is a relational database as a service. For example, you can create a SQL Azure database and just count on the fact that replication just happens, failover just happens; it is not a hosted database but a service with an endpoint. Amazing.

I saw a good demo where an Azure team member had an existing application using SQL Server. They grabbed a connection string from a SQL Azure database service. The same code then connected and ran against SQL Azure. It really brought home the promise of using existing tools and code inside this new cloud!


We heard Ray Ozzie stress that Microsoft is focused on making Silverlight the single client solution on Windows, Mobile, and TV (Xbox, etc.). It seems that Silverlight has a ton of momentum … can’t wait to see Scott Gu’s stuff tomorrow on the Silverlight platform.