Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

Summary: One of Microsoft's biggest selling points for its cloud platform is that developers can use .Net, Visual Studio and other programming tools they already know to write Azure applications. But that's not the end of the story.

SHARE:

One of Microsoft's biggest selling points for its cloud platform is that developers can use .Net, Visual Studio and other programming tools they already know to write Azure applications.

But that's not the end of the story. Microsoft researchers are working on a next-gen cloud programming model and associated tools. As those who've downloaded the Microsoft codename tracker I update each month know, something codenamed "Orleans" was beleived to be Microsoft's cloud programming model. But it's only recently that I've found more details about what Orleans is and how it is evolving.

Blogger and cloud expert Roger Jennings was the one who first tipped me to the Orleans codename. Back in February 2009, he discovered a reference to the Orleans software platform, which described it as "a new software platform that runs on Microsoft’s Windows Azure system and provides the abstractions, programming languages, and tools that make it easier to build cloud services."

So what is Orleans, exactly? Orleans is a new programming model designed to raise the level of abstraction above Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR). Orleans introduces the concept of "grains" as being units of computation and data storage that can migrate between datacenters. Orleans also will include its own runtime that will handle replication, persistence and consistency. The idea is to create a single programming model that will work on clients and servers, which will simplify debugging and improve code mobility.

Here are a few slides from a recent Microsoft Research presentation that describe the platform in more depth:

(click on image to enlarge)

(click on image to enlarge)

(click on image to enlarge)

There are some interesting related references in these slides. "Volta," mentioned in the first slide, was a Microsoft Live Labs project that disappeared with little explanation a couple of years ago. Volta was considered a competitor to the Google Web Toolkit and was designed to enable the creation of distributed applications. There's also something called "DC#" in the third slide. I'm wondering if this might be "Distributed C#.) Any other guesses?

One of the leaders of the Orleans work seems to be Jim Larus, who previously worked on Microsoft Research's Singularity micokernel operating system. These days, Larus is Director of Research and Strategy for Microsoft's eXtreme Computing Group, which the company established "to push the boundaries of computing." One of the places computing's boundaries are being pushed the furthest is in the cloud, where vendors are racing to make their datacenters bigger, faster, greener and more performant.

There is no mention in any of the new materials I found as to Microsoft's planned schedule for Orleans. I can't even tell if Orleans exists as a research prototype or is simply slideware at this point. Maybe we'll hear more about it at Microsoft's upcoming cloud-focused Professional Developers Conference in late October... Meanwhile, if anyone has any more Orleans information, whether it be real details or guesses, let's hear it.

Topics: Software Development, Microsoft

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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

24 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Interesting Thing on Slide 2

    The "Clients" in slide 2 look quite interesting. The black device has a shape usually only found in tablets (slates), yet it clearly appears to be running something that looks like Windows Phone 7.
    dunraven
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @dunraven I think HTML 5 is something for the client, whereas Orleans seems to be able to run in the client and/or cloud. The way I see Microsoft's cloud is like they are atomizing computing and storage. Instead of paying for a hosted server or hosted SQL with X space, you pay for "records" which are individually stored. This would be a more scalable model - it would lower Microsoft's costs - and hopefully they would pass the savings to the customers...

      I bet Kinect will not be magical either.<br><br><a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">sohbet</a> could have made <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">chat</a> magical if they wanted to, they could have hired a man in a turtleneck to give a magical presentation and BAM... a <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com.tr">mynet sohbet</a> Event (maybe a <a href="http://www.forumuz.net/">forum</a> product too, who knows.)<br><br><a href="http://video.trsohbet.com">izlesene</a> would have been much cheaper to <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com.tr">cinsel sohbet</a> too. No wonder <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com/portal/">portal</a> overtaking <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">chat sohbet</a>, <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">sohbet odalari</a> know where NOT to spend their money. <a href="http://www.sohbet35.com">sohbet</a> <a href="http://www.cinselsohbet.gen.tr">cinsel sohbet</a> <a href="http://www.mircalem.net">mirc</a>
      atrok
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @dunraven It sounds like you sir, are drinking <a href="http://bloguay.com/arabaoyunlari">araba oyunlari</a> the Redmond Koolaid. I can't even find a dedicated Mobile <a href="http://arabaoyunlari.buenblog.com/">araba oyunlari</a> Computing research group at that site. They "talk" about "mobile computing" in <a href="http://arabaoyunlari.obolog.com/">araba oyunlari</a> few research groups, but none of them focus on it solely. They even have a "health and well being" research group. Ridiculous. <a href="http://www.enunblog.com/arabaoyunlari/">araba oyunlari</a> They openly admit that <a href="http://arabaoyunlarix68.wikispaces.com/Araba+oyunlar?+oyna">araba oyunlari</a> the computing <a href="http://arabaoyunlarix44.wetpaint.com/">araba oyunlari</a> world is heading in <a href="http://quizilla.teennick.com/stories/18806585/araba-oyunlar-oyna">araba oyunlari</a> direction where mobile devices will be <a href="http://arabaoyunu837696.webs.com/apps/blog/show/7124008-araba-oyunlar-305-">araba oyunlari</a> THE personal computer... but it's like they're asleep at the wheel or something. Just as well by me. I haven't liked a mobile product from <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.tripod.com/arabaoyunlarix09/">araba oyunlari</a> Microsoft in a long, long time. Apple's iPhones and iPod Touches (<a href="http://arabaoyunu837.xanga.com/748228449/araba-oyunlar%c4%b1-oyna/">araba oyunlari</a> ) have been around for a few years <a href="http://www.thoughts.com/arabaoyunu837/araba-oyunlar-oyna">araba oyunlari</a> and Microsoft doesn't even look like they're playing <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.blog.com/2011/05/21/araba-oyunlari-oyna/">araba oyunlari</a> catch-up. In fact, IT DOESN'T EVEN LOOK LIKE THEY'RE PLAYING AT ALL. Finally after 34 days and 183 rounds the 3G finally arrived on Indian shores!!!!
      After the Mega success of the 1st & 2nd 3G forums in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Network 18 Media and Investments !proudly announces the 3rd forum in this series on August 20th at the Oberois New Delhi.
      So Block your calendar to witness action packed experience on 20th August 2010 !
      This year the forum will be much bigger and larger than the previous years and is expected to be attended by over 300 senior decision makers from the telecom Industry including ? Government <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.edublogs.org/2011/05/21/araba-oyunlari-oyna/">araba oyunlari</a> Representatives, Operators, Handset manufacturers, VAS players, technology vendors, <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.bravejournal.com/">araba oyunlari</a> analysts and definitely the Media. The forum will comprise of 4 <a href="http://arabaoyunlari.edublogs.org/">araba oyunlari</a> high end panel discussions wherein the bigwigs from the telecom industry would discuss, debate and deliberate on issues, solutions, strategies, etc relating to 3G In India. The event will be extensively covered and promoted across all <a href="http://arabaoyunlarix93.shutterfly.com/21">araba oyunlari</a> media platforms and <a href="http://www.blurty.com/users/arabaoyunu837">araba oyunlari</a> will have <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.insanejournal.com/488.html">araba oyunlari</a> exclusive ? hour event coverage in our business channel CNBC Tv18. <a href="http://arabaoyunu837.livejournal.com/566.html">araba oyunlari</a> <a href="http://arabaoyunlari.buenblog.com/">araba oyunlari</a> <a href="http://arabaoyunlari.obolog.com/">araba oyunlari</a>
      Ay&Aring;Ÿem
      • Merhaba

        Ke??i??ren sat??l??k daireler veya ke??i??ren kiral??k daireler denince akla gelen ilk adres istevitrin.com, <a href="http://emlak.istevitrin.com/ankara/kecioren-ilcesi/emlak-konut-satilik-daire-ilanlari.html" title="keci??ren satilik daireler">keci??ren satilik daireler</a> 2011 y??l??nda en ??ok sat??lan daireler ve fiyatlar?? hakk??ndada ayr??nt??l?? bilgi alabiliriniz.
        ankara'n??n en ??ok talep g??ren b??lgesi olan ke??i??ren'de ortalama krize ra??men ge??en y??l ile bu y??l aras??nda daire fiyatlar??nda % 15 lik prim yapm???? olmas??n??n yan?? s??ra ke??i??ren yeni emlak projelerinin
        g??zdesi haline gelmi??tir. <a href="http://emlak.istevitrin.com/ankara/kecioren-ilcesi/emlak-konut-kiralik-ilanlari.html" title="kecioren kiralik daireler">kecioren kiralik daireler</a> i??in daha fazla bilgi i??in sitemizi ziyaret ediniz.
        kirismin
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @dunraven @RosePeters If you are <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/iffet">iffet</a> MSFT would you rush to develop a <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/iffet">iffet dizisi</a> specialized OS for a sub-prime chip like that of current
      tablet <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/iffet">iffet izle</a> computers knowing <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/kuzey-guney-">kuzey guney dizisi</a> fully well Intel's next Atom chips will come out of door slaughtering everything
      ARM has to offer. Throw a full-blown Windows eco-system at it, and it's gonna run
      just <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/kuzey-guney-">kuzey guney</a> fine with <a href="http://www.facebookvideoindir.us/kategori/kuzey-guney-">kuzey guney izle</a> great power efficiency. It's funny people even think MSFT needs to port Windows to ARM.
      concone
  • Oh No - not another thing to learn!

    I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say - HANG ON. Some of us are trying to forge a living out of MS technologies, and seem to spend more and more time learning this "Next Generation" stuff. Perhaps MS could slow down a little and refine what we already have rather than constantly bringing out all this new tech.

    I remember the good 'ol days when we could read the manual on a dev environment and feel comforted that if we poured over it enough we could learn it inside out. Don't feel that way any more - it's all just changing too quickly and what is delivered often takes many iterations to work where the "community" seems to be the testers and the documenters. (Don't get me started on the quality of MS documentation!)

    Bit overwhelming, somewhat frustrating and certainly really really annoying.
    KapaiNZ
  • FUD and vaporware

    No code, so micro$oftic.
    Linux Geek
  • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

    Hi, Mary Jo,

    Glad to see "Orleans" appears to have legs and thanks for keeping track of it. I was worried that "Orleans" had been relegated to software purgatory like "Volta."

    Cheers,
    Roger_Jennings
  • Orleans Runtime? Oracle's next legal target? What ever happened to HTML 5?

    I have a method to my madness, so please forgive me if my rant wonders a bit.

    Orleans run-time? Sounds like Oracle's next legal target.

    What will become the standard in Cloud Computing?
    I guess it is a battle of who will be left standing after all the legal wrangling, and market positioning is over.

    Okay, not to say that this Orleans run-time is not a good idea. I am the first to go and download whatever the latest snazzy SDK has just been released.

    I am not a business person, I am programmer, at heart.

    But with the economy sputtering I have little patience for wasting my already precious resources on the great many platforms and programming languages that are out there.

    Microsoft Azure, Orleans sounds a lot like other platforms already used for Cloud Computing.

    Whatever happened to HTML 5. Is it dead?

    What about building something that others can plug into with whatever they have got. Is not that what HTML 5 was about?

    I have to many clients who are playing there $budgets close to their chest. They are not ready to commit to one platform. Especially, if that platform is costly to implement and will go the way of the dodo in 4 to 5 years.

    So there it is. It bolls down to money and concerns over the technology cycle. To costly and to fast.
    daniel.pereznet
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @daniel.pereznet
      I think HTML 5 is something for the client, whereas Orleans seems to be able to run in the client and/or cloud. The way I see Microsoft's cloud is like they are atomizing computing and storage. Instead of paying for a hosted server or hosted SQL with X space, you pay for "records" which are individually stored. This would be a more scalable model - it would lower Microsoft's costs - and hopefully they would pass the savings to the customers...
      Roque Mocan
      • Re: Scalable $ Model - sounds interesting and Java Hell

        @Roque Mocan <br><br>A Scalable $ Model - sounds promising<br><br>Am checking and comparing $ scales in addition to security, data backup, fault tolerance, 24/7 percentage commitments, etc...between Cloud offerings<br><br>@dunraven<br><br>Point taken. For now, JavaScript is what we have to deal with<br><br>I have not yet seen something rich, deep, tested and debugged enough. Obviously Azure is an effort to provide an answer to that. I wonder what and if Oracle has teams working on the next generation to Java
        daniel.pereznet
      • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

        @Roque Mocan

        The same advertisers that brought us Seinfeld (lets play footsie and wiggle our shorts Bill), Laptop Hunters (that got all sorts of bad press for lies (incorrect pricing and customer never actually went into an Apple store) and portraying windows as "cheep"), And Windows 7 was Macs idea (where a college kid who can't get laid and get kicked out of his dorm room (by his Mac roommate) has to watch TV in the hall because he doesn't even have a friend whom he could visit).

        I bet Kinect will<a href="http://www.gopsohbet.net" title="cinsel sohbet" target="_blank">cinsel sohbet</a> not be magical either.
        IE8 had multi-process architecture before Chrome launched, and in fact<a href="http://sohbettir.com" title="sohbet" target="_blank">sohbet</a> was the first browser to announce the feature. <a href="http://www.gopsohbet.net" title="gay sohbet" target="_blank">gay sohbet</a> That's why both Chrome and IE use far more memory than the other browsers.<a href="http://www.alemchat.net" title="mynet sohbet" target="_blank">mynet sohbet</a> Chrome is a bit more strict than IE, IE will allow tabs with the same integrety level to <a href="http://www.eskimynetsohbet.com" title="mynet sohbet" target="_blank">mynet sohbet</a> share a single process.<a href="http://www.eskimynetsohbet.com" title="mynet" target="_blank">mynet</a> <a href="http://www.mynetci.com" title="mynet sohbet" target="_blank">mynet sohbet</a> Outside of that MS beat Google to the punch.<a href="http://www.mynetci.com" title="mynet" target="_blank">mynet</a> Good try though.<a href="http://www.indirmedenfilmizlehd.com" title="indirmeden film izle" target="_blank">indirmeden film izle</a>If MS came out with touch UIs for at least Word, Excel,<a href="http://sohbettir.com/forum" title="forum" target="_blank">forum</a> OneNote, and Outlook, with super slick, and highly<a href="http://eglence.sohbettir.com" title="youtube" target="_blank">youtube</a> effective integrated virtual keyboards, that would be mind blowing! I think <a href="http://sohbettir.com" title="canli sohbet" target="_blank">canli sohbet</a>that would be like lighting a rocket under PC touch computing.<a href="http://www.indirmedenfilmizlehd.com" title="bedava film izle" target="_blank">bedava film izle</a>
        exibir
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @daniel.pereznet

      If it gets me out of JavaScript hell, I'll take it hands-down.
      dunraven
  • Re: MS Cloud Storage?

    Hi all,
    The very last thing we all need is another part of computing that MS will take over. Cloud storage MUST be based on open standards, or it will be ruined. Don't let Bill Gates screw us yet again!
    nevertell
    • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

      @nevertell Funnily enough, Microsoft's cloud storage is closer to being based on open standards than any of the other providers.
      the.rendle
      • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

        I hope there will be more successful your site is very wonderful site. <a href="http://www.sikis.info/" title="sikis izle">sikis</a> Thanks to the efforts of. <a href="http://www.frepornmovie.net/" title="porno">porno</a>
        kirismin
  • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

    As a .NET Architect with a great deal of focus on Azure I can with 100% certainty say that the land of Azure Architecture is quite barren. Until now. Azure offers the optimal platform to enable raising the abstraction level.

    CLR is to Windows what Orleans will be for Azure.

    I'm loving it! Dare I be hopeful? The jury is still out.
    noopman
  • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

    I believe Rudy de Haas (Murphy) has room in his museum at the moment - why not apply?<br><br>I bet Kinect will not be magical either.<br><br><a href="http://www.kalitelisohbet.com">sesli sohbet</a> could have made <a href="http://www.muhabbetteyim.net">sohbet et</a> magical if they wanted to, they could have hired a man in a turtleneck to give a magical presentation and BAM... a <a href="http://www.garantichat.com">islami sohbet</a> Event (maybe a <a href="http://www.sohbetindir.com">mirc sohbet</a> product too, who knows.)<br><br><a href="http://www.izledinletr.com">video izle</a> would have been much cheaper to <a href="http://www.cetturk.net">cet</a> too. No wonder <a href="http://www.cinselliksohbet.org">cinsellik sohbet</a> overtaking <a href="http://www.chatkanali.net">chat</a>, <a href="http://www.chatlax.net">dini sohbet</a> know where NOT to spend their money. <a href="http://www.sohbetindir.net">chat siteleri</a> <a href="http://www.muhabbetteyim.com">cinsel sohbet</a> <a href="http://www.harbialem.net">mirc</a>
    harbialem
  • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

    I just couldn't depart your web site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often to check up on new posts.

    Regards,
    Dison
    <a href="http://www.whattodoinsydney.net">things to do in sydney</a> | <a href="http://www.gokartingsydney.com.au">go karting sydney</a> | <a href="http://www.uniquearticlewizarddiscount.net">unique article wizard discount</a>
    intelligente21
  • RE: Orleans: Microsoft's next-generation programming model for the cloud

    asdasd
    AdanaLy