PDC 2008: .NET, Hosting & Identities

Microsoft PDC 2008: Sitting here in row 4 of the press section (John Fontana/NWW is just a few seats down). I'm impressed at the breadth of what Microsoft is announcing here at PDC. Windows 7 has taken a back seat until tomorrow. The focus here is on Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, or "cloud OS" as it was previously leaked. Windows Azure is the project code named Red Dog. Now, back to breadth. There's been speculation that Microsoft would announce a number of things; management tools for deploying applications, hosting services in the data centers they've been building, Oslo, .NET for the cloud, etc., etc. Well, Windows Azure has pretty much been all of the piece parts everyone's been predicting (or, that Microsoft's been leaking.)

Microsoft's really pushing that .NET is in the cloud, and the idea of federated identity with the cloud. Now that I think about it (and this is something Eugeno Pace emphasized on my most recent podcast with him), federating identities between enterprises, partners and the cloud, is critical for cloud services to become truly mainstream. How do you manage identities with SaaS and cloud services? Scripts? That' been a nagging problem no one has tackled and solved well, and if more than anything else, this is one huge differentiator Microsoft wants to carve out for themselves in market. Microsoft Biztalk Labs (using Windows Cards) has probably been a bit of a distraction. The real solution is connecting a corporation's Active Directory into Window Azure federated identity services in the cloud.

Again, two PDC themes stand out so far; comprehensive services for the cloud, and federating identities in the cloud.

Clearly Microsoft has targeted Amazon EC2/S3. Ray Ozzie even paid tribute to them for making mainstream the idea of cloud computing and storage.

Microsoft Online Services - "In the future all, our enterprise software will be offered as a service"  

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