Microsoft's upcoming cloud PDC: What's on tap?

Summary:Microsoft was not planning to hold a Professional Developers Conference (PDC) this year. But company officials changed their minds and announced this week that they will hold PDC10 in Redmond at Microsoft headquarters on October 28 and 29. What's on the agenda?

Microsoft was not planning to hold a Professional Developers Conference (PDC) this year. But company officials changed their minds and announced this week that they will hold PDC10 in Redmond at Microsoft headquarters on October 28 and 29.

This isn't going to be a traditional PDC. It will be focused almost entirely on cloud computing, rather than Windows, for one. Secondly, it will be a combined live and virtual event. It sounds like live attendance is going to be limited to about 1,000 or so people, with the rest of those interested being told to watch the keynotes and sessions via Webcast.

Developers and IT pros are still the intended audience for this year's PDC, as they typically have been for previous ones.  But the emphasis of this year's event will be on developing applications that can run on-premises and/or in the private and public cloud.

Microsoft is going to talk about what's happening with its promised virtual machine role capability for Windows Azure, known as Windows Server Virtual Machine Roles on Azure, at the October PDC, said Amitabh Srivastava, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Server and Cloud Division. Srivastava also said Microsoft will share more about its Project Sydney -- IPV6 technology designed to connect on-premises and cloud servers. (Last year, Microsoft officials said Sydney would be finalized before the end of 2010; I'm thinking a beta by the PDC timeframe is more likely.)

"IT (professionals) want infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service," Srivastava said. "Azure was our platform as a service play. The VM (roles) will be our infrastructure as a service play."

The VM role feature will help users run their on-premises applications in the cloud, but applications that are hosted that way won't be multitenant-capable.

Microsoft also is going to talk about some of the underlying systems-management application programming interfaces (APIs) that Azure will expose, enabling customers and partners to use third-party solutions to manage Azure-based clouds.  Srivastava said Microsoft will be talking about tooling that works with Azure APIs during the two-day event, as well.

Microsoft announced at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference that the company will be providing Windows Azure Platform Appliances -- containers of pre-configured Azure servers -- to Dell, Fujitsu and Hewlett Packard for customer deployment before year-end. Microsoft also announced eBay would be taking delivery of the Azure appliance before year-end as well.

"It's key for us that Azure will be (located) in our own datacenters," said James Barrese, Vice President of Technology for eBay. Barrese said eBay is spread out across multiple datacenters, which the company needs to leave in place for security and data latency reasons.

"Microsoft was willing to modify the (Azure) platform as we learned and they get to learn from everything we did," Barrese said. "We're a microcosm of the Internet."

I'm betting eBay will be attending and maybe speaking at PDC10. Anyone interested in going? If so, what are you hoping to hear there?

Topics: Software, Cloud, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Virtualization, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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