Oslo, Dublin, and ... Amazon?

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What a day for news! Today marked the the passing of the $700B dollar bailout for Wall Street (at least as far as the senate is concerned) and more details about what Microsoft's Oslo initiative will entail, specifically the new Windows application server nicknamed "Dublin". As reported on Microsoft's Web site, Dublin is "a set of enhanced Windows Server capabilities" or, in other words, new roles that you will be able to add to Windows Server. These new features will help with "deployment, configuration, management, and scalability."

With the $700B dollar deal and Dublin stealing all the headlines, you may not have noticed a new piece of info from Amazon out today: their Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2, will support Windows Server this fall! If you don't know what EC2 is, basically, it's a ton of VMs that can be controlled via Web services which Bezos charges you for on an as-use basis. This is really exciting news.

Initially, I imagined that Oslo would provide a way to graphically design Web services (a la WSSF), thus bringing Web service development to the masses in much the same way that Microsoft brought GUI programming to a broader base by lowering the technical bar with Visual Basic. I supposed that the "D" modeling language was needed to represent messages, data contracts, service interfaces, etc. However, it seems that "D" is for data, and will be about modeling business-specific concepts not services. I also had a hunch that Oslo would be launched around the time that Microsoft would be rolling out something akin to EC2. With the research initiative being invested into BizTalk Services and SQL Server Data Services (SSDS), I imagined that news of some virtualization platform like EC2 from Redmond would soon be plastered across RSS readers everywhere. It may very well be, however, with the long delay of Hyper-V Live Migration in Windows Server and the failed acquisition of Yahoo! earlier this year (which would have given Microsoft a bunch of new data centers on which to host this "MS EC2"), it looks like this might not be in the cards for Oslo either.

Because the scope of Oslo may not be as grand as I previously envisioned, this announcement from Amazon is even more intriguing. This means that many innovative, creative individuals and companies can utilize Oslo, Dublin, and EC2 to get a leg up in the marketplace before Microsoft's PaaS offering is rolled out — and it will be rolled out, if not with the initial release of Oslo, then with a subsequent one. Can you imagine: You're in your cube using Visual Studio "10" (or "11" or "12") to design some complicated service in a graphical manner, you click the publish button, it's uploaded to Microsoft's compute cloud, and you have a service that is hosted on a bunch of VMs that are dynamically started and stopped based on demand, paying only for what you use!

So, keep your eye on Norway, Ireland, and the rest of good old Europe, use the bits from PDC to come up with new, innovative service-oriented architectures without limiting yourself to the server machines you can afford, and host them in Amazon's arsenal of Windows Server and Dublin (hopefully) virtual machines.