Fluent.Interface


Microsoft’s cloud computing offering with SDDS

Microsoft weighs in with its cloud computing offering in the form of SQL Server Data Services.  Currently in beta, users are able to sign up for free access.

A good screen cast walks you through the new tiered ‘ACE’ architecture which is designed around a top level ‘Authority’ a unit of geo-location which maps to an explicit DNS address eg:

brightsparc.data.beta.mssds.com

Under this Authority are Containers, and within a container is a series of Entities.  The flat structure is analogous to Tables and Rows, however a Row can represent different Kinds of data that doesn’t necessarily conform to the same schema. In fact any data other then the core ID, Version and Kind attributes are ‘Flexible Properties’ and set similar to a key based dictionary.

Under the hood this functionality could well be implemented with the new Filtered Index and Sparse Column features of SQL 2008 which allow for efficient storage of such data.

SSDS is a web service accessed over the wire using a SOAP or simple REST interface currently secured with basic credentials over https.  To get started I recommend downloading the SDK to create / update and query your data using the explorer GUI.  In REST speak, use POST to create a record, PUT to update and record and DELETE speaks for itself.  Moving forward cloud computing security is a challenge for Microsoft, but will no doubt tie in with it’s claim-based Card Space initiative.

Ryan Dun has a great blog with some examples of what is possible right now with SSDS, as well as very nifty open source REST library that can wrap POCO’s for persisting them to the cloud.

Although I did experience some unexpected outage on the service, Microsoft do plan to charge for this service in the future so I’m sure they will be looking at SLA of at least two 9’s if they are planning on competing with the likes of Amazon and Google.


Data Portability got a little eaiser with GNIP

A new data portability company GNIP has been getting a bit of press lately.  They are positioning themselves as the goto-infrastructure-publisher-guy for the social web.  A one stop shop where you can get pushed all your feed data from twitter, digg, etc… without having to ping every single provider.

They have timed their market entry well given Twitter’s very public performance woes.  But GNIP offers the possibility of returning aggregated data in a consistent way, so may help speed up the standardization of the various microformats out there on the social web.

I like GNIP because of it’s simple RESTful approach to design and architecture.  Their V1 was built in 90 days, and followed up with transitioning the system into the cloud care of AWS/Ec2 running on top of TerraCotta and ActiveMQ.  Very cool!