Friday, March 27, 2009

Azure, Google Apps Security, AWS

Microsoft Azure

This first link takes us to a list of white papers that have been written about the up coming Azure cloud service, the second link points us to the the most helpful of these white papers, called Introducing the Azure Services Platform. The components of the MS cloud software stack are:
  • Windows Azure - Still vague, but will probably be a virtual machine management layer similar to that provided by Amazon's EC2 service.
  • .NET Services - Access control, service management, application integration.
  • SQL Services - Their storage system (like AWS SimpleDB)
  • Live Services -Ways of integrating with windows Live applications (their office SaaS)
The details of these are still quite vague, so it is yet to be seen if they will pull it all together, but at a high level they seem to have the key elements covered. I am curious about which level they intend to provide access control at. I'm guessing it is at the cloud consumer level, similar to the mechanisms AWS uses to keep separate users isolated. Amazon doesn't provide much in the way of a Service Bus but I'm not sure what the difference is between MS's Service Bus and classic SOA.

It seems like they are going to face tough decisions about how much of Azure will be integrating current MS technologies (like .NET) and how much of Azure will be new infrastructure. Also, they are already failing at keeping things simple and easy to understand the way Amazon is.

Google Security

Comprehensive review of security and vulnerability protections

This is a google white paper about the obvious security measures that Google employs to protect the massive amounts of personal data they collect from their users. I was very disappointed that they spent the entire paper telling us that they employ all of the security measures that we would expect from even a novice company worried about getting sued by customers over privacy violations.

Amazons AWS

This White Paper on 'Cloud Architectures' and Best Practices of Amazon's web services begins with a high level description of a web grep application that uses SQS, SimpleDB, EC2, and Hadoop. The second part of the paper contains high level advice for developing cloud applications, including:
  • Use scalable and elastic components (obvious)
  • Use loosely coupled components, use queues (cool)
  • Think parallel (lame)
  • Use elastic components (redundant)
  • Handle failures as the common case (basically Recovery Oriented Computing)
One thing they ignore is the extremely high cost of running a single grep query using their system: 1 query against 10 million documents takes 6 minutes and costs 10 dollars. Compare this to a google search of somewhere between 20 and >60 billion documents which returns in tens of milliseconds and costs 0 dollars.

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