Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

Summary: Microsoft is rejiggering its Live Framework and Live Services platform, somehow making it part of the Windows Live Wave 4 set of consumer-focused Web services and removing it from the larger Azure Services platform, company officials revealed on August 21.

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When Microsoft showed off its comprehensive Azure cloud "layer cake" diagram back at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in 2008, to me, it had somewhat of a slapped-together feeling.

Up until last fall, Microsoft was building two "cloud" developer platforms in parallel that were meant to provide programmers with a consistent set of programming interfaces and services: The Azure services platform and the Live Framework platform. At the PDC Microsoft officials made a case for a unified cloud platform, with Live Framework/Services and Azure's .Net Services happily coexisting.

It now looks like the unified-platform vision didn't hold together once the frosting dried.

Via an August 21  blog post by Corporate Vice President of Live Services David Treadwell, Microsoft officials shared the news that they are shifting gears. Microsoft is rejiggering its Live Framework and Live Services platform, somehow making it part of the Windows Live Wave 4 set of consumer-focused Web services that is expected to go to testers in the coming months. (Microsoft is telling developers it will provide specifics about how it plans to integrate the Live Framework into Windows Live in the coming months.)

Meanwhile, developers who've been using the existing Live Framework/Services infrastructure are going to have to download any data and/or code from the service prior to September 8, the date on which Microsoft is planning to phase out the current Live Framework. Company officials also are telling developers to remove any devices and controls making use of the Framework/Services platform.

Microsoft is telling testers that Live Mesh, its online synchronization and collaboration service, won't be affected by the change -- at least in terms of its availability to testers. Back at PDC, Microsoft officials positioned the Live Services platform as the underpinning for the Live Mesh developer stack... but it seems the two aren't as tightly joined as Microsoft execs may have hinted.)

From the Microsoft-provide Q&A on the Live Framework changes, posted on August 21:

"Q: What is changing in the Live Services developer portal (live.azure.com)? "A: The ability to create Live Framework-enabled web sites and Mesh-enabled web applications will be removed.  It will not be possible to edit the settings of Live Framework-enabled web sites and Mesh-enabled web applications and Analytics because these applications won't be available any longer.  Live Framework CTP tokens will no longer be valid and can be discarded."

A Microsoft spokesperson sent me the following statement when I asked about the company's long-term commitment to the Live Framework:

"Microsoft is very committed to the Live Framework. Our goal is to integrate this rich technology into one of the largest online offerings from Microsoft, Windows Live. This will enable developers to connect and create compelling solutions across the web and devices for the more than 500M users of Windows Live. Our goal is to give developers a great developer experience going forward with a more consistent programming interface for our services."

I had been thinking Microsoft might roll out the final version of Live Mesh at this year's PDC in November, given that the company is planning to remove the "beta" tag from Azure around that time. But with all these under-the-hood changes, now I'm starting to wonder...

Anyone have any observations, thoughts or guesses about what these latest moves mean for Azure and Windows Live?

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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5 comments
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  • Mesh

    I hope that this move will finally resolve the duplicity of some Live services and more tight integration for Live which has been strongly requested by many of the Mesh testers . . .
    Jan Kratochvil
  • RE: Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

    I think they are doing the right choice Live is not like the technology to coexist with Azure since it has been working good as the separate Windows Live services I think they both are different business models and we will see Live Framework to be more powerfull because of this change since its goind to be more accessible to developers and that's a win win for Microsoft, Azure will have to win customers by its own but since Azure hosted services could be able to communicate to Windows Live that should not be a problem
    keoz
  • RE: Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

    This was a long overdue "modification". Their Live Services was the elephant in the Azure room--didn't fit or belong with the rest of Azure. It's a great set of services, but why they ever attempted to market them as being linked to Windows & SQL Azure, I have no idea. (It's all online! It's services!)
    vhhughes
  • RE: Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

    I'd say it's time they really need to kill their overlapped offerings and provide a solid stack.

    Another area I'd like to see consolidated is storage. SkyDrive is one of the simplest/best out there, and it's free - although that's bothersome too (free = questionable sustainability). Why it's not the "core" storage for their other offerings is a mystery - you have 5 gigs of storage here, another x there, and well, at some point you're left confused, and asking why I can't use that 25g of SkyDrive?

    They have an "online storage system" thats ready and has been stable (to my knowledge), prime candidate for an API (if there is one, well, that's just it, no idea after the mixed soup of offerings), that screams "cloud storage".

    I'd like to see that offered in some type of "Pro version" and paid for (pay per use version), free can be left for the consumer version - sorry, not going to spend time on free services when it comes to business (free = no sense of stability).
    EdSF
  • RE: Microsoft to cut Live Framework and Services from its Azure cloud platform

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