Thursday, February 18, 2010

SQL Azure get its first update - SU1

The first service update for SQL Azure - SU1 was introduced on February 17th, 2009.

Things that are new:

* Bug fixes to the original

* Ability to between editions Web[1GB] and Business[10GB] (downgrade or upgrade)

* Better algoritm to terminate Long running transactions

* Idle connection timeout increased to 30 mts.

* Monitoring with Dynamic Management the following Views which improves monitoring, tuning and performance


Read full story here.

Working with data gotten a lot easier with DACPACs: Data-tier applications in SQL Server 2008 R2

A Data Application Component is an entity that integrates all data tier related objects used in authoring, deploying and managing into a single unit instead of working with them separately( introduced in SQL Server 2008 in late 2009).
Programmatically DACs belong to classes that are found in The Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Dac namespace. DACs are stored in a DacStore and managed centrally. Dacs can be authored and built using SQL Server Data-Tier Application templates in VS2010 (now in Beta 2) or using SQL Server Management Studio. This article describes creating DAC using SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov-CTP(R2 server in this article), a new feature in this version.

Data-tier applications are not supported on SQL Azure databases. This may change in the future as more funcitonality is added to SQL Azure.

Data application Component extraction and deployment are wizard driven and easy to follow. The next two figures shows the two important stages of this process.

Extraction: The next screen shot shows how data is extracted

Deployment: This one shows how it is deployed

Does it not remind you of detaching and attachning a database?

Read this article to get the full story

Working with Data Application Components in SQL Server 2008 R2

Friday, February 12, 2010

Azure Cloud opens up to big time science

The recent agreement between Microsoft and NSF (National Science Foundation) is sure to usher in an era of rapid progress in scientific research. Presently many researchers access resources at the National Computing Facilities or National Laboratories.

One thing that needs to improve is that the Azure System is built and targetted for businesses primarily. To cater to science, the Azure cloud may have to open up for more applications to the level available at the present resource centers. With the instant availability of resources, and if resource provisioning is guaranteed with required security then Azure Cloud may even be utilized for placing whole National Laboratories' computing needs on the cloud including those needed for automation "End points".

Of course organizations such as NERSC themselves are thinking of setting up "Research Clouds", even so Azure System could interact with them if and when they materialize and share resources.
We need to sit and watch how this pans out. This is really great stuff.

Monday, February 08, 2010

You can't, GO with Windows OS

Google's GO programming language is not ported for Windows. You can run it only on Linux and Mac OSX. It has separate compilers for AMD64, X86 and ARM. It's an Open Source project (translates to free) distributed under BSD like license. Get on to this language which you may encounter more often in the future here. It is still an experimental language designed to overcome some of the perceived deficiencies of C and C++, and somewhat more like JavaScript and Python.

Watch a promotional video here.
Lack of resources is cited as the reason for not porting to Windows.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Microsoft Azure cloud programs evolving fast

Microsoft delivered on its promise and XDrive is now a virtual reality called  Windows Azure Drive. This allows you to backup Windows applications automatically to the Micrsoft Azure. Read details here.

Windows Azure drive is implemented as a NTFS formatted Virtual Hard Drive for persisting data which may be accessed. It is implemented as Windows Azure Page Blob which means if the application using the drive crashes for any reason the data is still available.

In order to use this drive you should use Windows Azure Guest OS 1.1 (starting Feb 01,2010). Prior
December version was 1.0.

The APIs which goes with this support the following operations:

Create Drive
Initializa Cache
Mount Drive
Get Mounted Drives
Unmount Drive
Snapshot Drive
Copy Drive

More details are found here.

Technical documentation (Brad Calder and andrew Edwards ) may be found here.
In a very short time the verison has gone up from 1.0 to 1.1 where a number short comings of 1.0 has been fixed. The support for the forthcoming VS2010 RC is also included. The developers need to be on thier toes if this pace is kept up in releasing versions at this clip. How does the backward compatibility work? What happens to applications created with VS2010 Beta 2 with the new 1.1 version of Windows Azure?
These will surely crop up in the forums in the near future. Protection Status