Friday, November 7, 2008

Azure Layer Zero

There is a deafening silence around Azure Layer Zero - aptly named given that's how much information was released at the PDC about it. Here's David Chappell's response on asking him about it:

J Healy : November 06, 2008 10:50 PM

David, is there likely to be detailed information available on Azure Layer Zero. I know Cutler doesn't 'do' talks, but I felt some sort of presentation on this was a glaringly absent from the PDC.

David Chappell : November 06, 2008 11:03 PM

I think it's likely that Microsoft will talk more about this at some point, although I'd bet they view some aspects as proprietary. There's nothing at this level of detail in my talks, though--I'm focused on what the Azure technologies expose to the world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dave Cutler - Red Dog

All of us ex-DEC, ex-VMS folks have wondered if Dave simply fell of the edge recently, but after the PDC keynote it's clear Dave has simply been busy. He's been off writing a global operating system. Given it's up and running, I basically consider it a global operating system deployment, or "GOD", for short. Dave was never short on ambition and not everyone gets to create a god in their own image (isn't it normally the other way around...?).

Can't believe he isn't here doing any of the Azure / Red Dog sessions...! Bummer, but I don't think he's into crowds...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In L.A. for PDC 2008...

With a few highly lamentable conflicts yet to be resolved, these are the sessions I'll be trying to hit:

- "Oslo": The Language

- "Oslo": Building Textual DSLs

- "Oslo": Customizing and Extending the Visual Design Experience

- "Oslo": Repository and Models

- "Dublin": Hosting and Managing Workflows and Services in Windows Application Server

- "Dublin" and .NET Services: Extending On-Premises Applications to the Cloud

- Architecting Services for the Cloud

- A Lap around Cloud Services Part 1

- A Lap around Cloud Services Part 2

- Live Services: Building Applications with the Live Framework

- Architecture of the Building Block Services

- Logging, Diagnosing, and Troubleshooting Applications Running Live in the Cloud

- Messaging Services: Protocols, Protection, and How We Scale

- Service Bus Services: Connectivity, Messaging, Events, and Discovery

- Services Symposium: Enterprise Grade Cloud Applications

- Services Symposium: Cloud or No Cloud, the Laws of Physics Still Apply

- Workflow Services: Orchestrating Services and Business Processes Using Cloud-Based Workflow

- Architecture without Big Design Up Front

- Framework Design Guidelines

- Modeling Data for Efficient Access at Scale

- Managed Extensibility Framework: Overview

- Improving Code Quality with Code Analysis

- Microsoft .NET Framework: Declarative Programming Using XAML

- WF 4.0: A First Look

- WCF: Zen of Performance and Scale

- WCF 4.0: Building WCF Services with WF in Microsoft .NET 4.0

- WF 4.0: Extending with Custom Activities

- PowerShell: Creating Manageable Web Services

I really think the next PDC needs to run for a full five days, rather than four, with more duplicate session in order to resolve lots of unfortunate session conflicts. As it is, Andy Sherwood and I are going to have to split some of them up so we get good coverage between us and we'll still miss some good ones. Hope they record all the session so we can catch the ones we miss as can all those who couldn't attend...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sure, blame the Democrats

This is a rare, off-topic cross-post on my part from the Yosemite rock climbers' forum site, (yes, they are as split as anyone else...). I wrote up this analysis of the current crisis in response to Republican claims that Democrats are really to blame for this mess. Sure they are...
Let's be real clear here. Reagan (and Bush I) expicitly and enthusiastically embraced financial socialism in the housing market to boost a lagging economy. Only under their administrations, the mortgage giveaway was exclusively aimed at the middle class. In 1992, the Democrats were just finally saying so long as you're giving away government largess, how about at least spread it marginally wider. Their intentions were good, and in fact the Clinton Administration put breaks on the whole affair in its first term, though loosened up in their second while under siege.

But the party really only hit high-gear after Senator Phil Gramm killed Glass-Steagal's Depression-era firewalls. And once the hyennas in W's administration got in office, they further greased the tracks of the runaway train by crippling much of the remaining oversight and enforcement. They deliberately did nothing to stop it because they realized the housing market 'bubble' was the only thing that could prop up their long-planned war in Iraq.

Note in particular, the rise of Asset Backed Securities (ABS) issues coincides with the war; just in time to prop up the economy as it started to correct itself in the face of that crisis. Oh, and it wasn't just mortgages - those ABS issues also comprised the Student Loan Crisis which saw a parallel frenzy of fraud as the banking community figured they could roll those loans into the ABS mix along with autos and credit card debt. Essentially, all forms of our common debt were rolled into the MBS/ABS slice-and-dicer to feed a very large and all encompassing Ponzi scheme built on 'vanishing' risk.

In fact, if your read the details of the 'technical analysis' currently all the rage in the financial sector today, it all revolves around the fact that all our debt was sliced-and-diced so finely and repeatedly that it is now largely impossible by almost any means for the ABS holders to trace those instruments back to individual houses, automobiles, students, and cardholders - the whole debt market effectively acted as a massive money laundering operation the scale and scope of which the Mafia could only have wet dreams about.

A good friend, who in the late 80s got his Ph.D. in Accounting (Auditing / Regulatory Oversight), summed it all up succinctly:

"Corporations, absent appropriate regulatory oversight, are indistinguishable from organized crime."

He said it was pretty obvious from the go-go, junk-bond 80's where this was all headed. He noted that that same crowd mounted sustained and continuous attacks against government oversight from the 90's on once the 'easy money' and lootable piles of unprotected cash of the 80's dried up and they were all faced with the prospect of actually having to go back to [honest] work.

So, while there is plenty of blame to go around, make no mistake about it - this was all a socialist party thrown by Republicans and then crashed at the eleventh hour by financial felons in the banking industry and the hooligans on Wall Street...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MEFz - The Little Blue Pill For That Certain Part Of Your Application...

Glenn Block threw another MEF post up on his Technobabble blog. This one corrals a couple of links to examples beyond those up on the MEF CodePlex site. He also has some links to new posts in the ongoing [community] attempts to differentiate MEF from the usual IoC suspects which I believe is beginning to get some traction. I'm personally very excited over all the potential MEF's metadata interrogation unlocks. This should be a fun ride between now and when .NET 4.0 hits the street.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Unit Tests For Rocket Scientists...

Bummer. The rocket scientists at SpaceX beefed up the the power and runtime of the their first stage booster before Flight Test 3, but then forgot to add a comensurate delay to the timing of the Stage 1 seperation. The result? The first stage separated clean, but then still had enough juice to come back at the rocket and bump it wildly off course. I would have thought they'd be modeling their systems and simulating launches, but it looks like maybe not so. A remarkable video of the unfortunate flight can be seen here. Flight Test 4 will be at the end of the month and I bet they make orbit.

Programming For The Rest Of Us...

An interesting discussion has twittered by and flowed on to Oren's blog with his post titled: 'Coddling is consider harmful'.

In reality it's a difficult problem and one that highlights the current state of software development. I liken that 'State-of-the-Art' to us having emerged from the Dark Ages into a Renaissance where a relatively small number of great minds feverishly trade ideas amongst themselves, each putting out a great product. But that is still a long way from an 'Industrial Age' where knowledge then becomes something easily systemitized, packaged, and delivered in forms useful for ordinary folks to accomplish heretofore remarkable tasks.

In other words, we're a long way from the day bright sixth graders or entry level devs are writing solid enterprise apps...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Roman Kiss on CodeProject - Contract Model for Manageable Services

The redoubtable Roman Kiss has dropped another big one on CodeProject - 'Contract Model for Manageable Services'. Pretty much a pre-Oslo, manageable services tour de force (akin to Gregory Leake's .NET StockTrader Configuration Service 2.01 reference app). This is just the latest in a spate of great articles he's crafted for CodeProject. Here's some recent gems:

VirtualService for ESB
NullTransport for WCF
Fire WorkflowEvents from AJAX

Great stuff, and you should head over to CodeProject for a complete listing of Roman's contributions. I personally can't wait to see what he does with .NET 4.0 and Oslo (and things like MEF, if he's so inclined).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oslo, Red Dog, and Virtual Computational Substrates - Oh My!

Of late I've been contemplating the interplay between Oslo and lower level aspects of Microsoft's cloud initiative. This recent Microsoft job listing provides some insight into those basement levels of Microsoft's 'cloud stack':

"The Cloud Infrastructure Services (CIS) team is responsible for creating the Microsoft Utility Computing Platform, also known by its early codename Red Dog (RD). This platform is one of the lowest levels of the services software/hardware stack and includes an efficient, virtualized computational substrate, a fully automated service management system and a comprehensive set of highly scalable storage services. The platform will enable services to scale to millions of machines distributed globally throughout Microsoft data centers. Further, it will provide the lowest operating costs per-node, and will lead the marketplace as the best platform for rapid development, deployment, and maintenance of internet services and applications. CIS is a young and hungry team that is on the path to delivering a V1 product to external customers in the coming year."

What I'm curious about is what role Oslo's modeling and repository plays within this 'v1 product' and in the command and control of 'virtual data centers'. I'm interested because that is the implication of what is represented in the following image - just how far down the 'cloud stack' will Oslo's modeling language and repository reach?

My own guess is - really deep - as in the possibility we'll see some new infrastructure variants of XAML related to the configuration, deployment, provisioning, and administration of not only the 'Red Dog' cloud application layer, but also the lower 'virtualized computational substrate' layer. One can also guess PowerShell will play a leading role managing this 'cloud stack' as well, so I'm equally curious about how PowerShell will be woven into the mix with Oslo's modeling and repository.

All in all, it will be interesting to see exactly how things unfold as it looks like Microsoft is counting on a high level of [virtual] data center automaiton being key to the success, reliability, and differentiation of their cloud initiative.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

.NET StockTrader Configuration Service source to be released...

Gregory Leake of the Connected Systems Division, and author of the .NET StockTrader sample app, has announced that the previously unreleased [full] source for the accompanying Configuration Service will indeed be posted up on MSDN in the coming weeks. Should be interesting to get a look at this code.

But with PDC2008 around the corner it does beg the question: what will configuration look like in a .NET 4.0 / Oslo world? Inquiring minds really do want to know! 

Welcome to the shelter for wayward musings...!

With occasional diversions, this blog will be devoted to software development with an emphasis on .NET technologies. I have to date successfully resisted joining the wording fray, content to simply lurk and devote any time available for blogging instead to rock climbing and other futile pursuits. Why the change? I'm not entirely sure, and I also can't say that this blog won't offer more questions than answers over time, but then I suppose that's the nature of the journey we're all on...