A (Microsoft) Code Name a Day: Blue

Today's Microsoft Codename of the day: Blue. If you guessed "Blue" might have something to do with "cloud," you're seemingly on the right track.

I'm resuming my Microsoft Code Name a Day series that I started in December 2006. The goal: To provide the back story, each day in August, on one of Microsoft's myriad code names. Some of these code names might be familiar to Microsoft watchers; others (hopefully) will be brand-new.

Microsoft code names offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint. And not every product group is moving to boring, numbered codenames (like Windows 7 and Office 14).

Without further ado, let the codename games begin.

Microsoft code name of the day: Blue

Microsoft code name of the day: Blue

Best guess on what it is: A Microsoft-hosted version of its SQL Server database

Meaning/context of the code name: Blue, as in "blue sky," is my guess as to the origins of this codename... especially since "Blue/Cloud" and "Cloud/DB" (the file-system-based storage system powering Microsoft's "cloud" architecture, according to sources) are often mentioned by tipsters in the same breath.

Back story: Blue/Cloud and Cloud/DB are elements of the back-end infrastructure powering Microsoft's cloud-computing services. While some have described these database-focused pieces as part of Microsoft's "Cloud OS" (a term about which many Softies are none too fond), they also can be thought of as key components of Windows Live Core, my tipsters say.

Blue also may debut as part of commercialized Microsoft-managed services, according to my sources. Last I heard, Microsoft planned to roll out Blue to a very limited set of customers and partners some time in 2008. Microsoft officials have said they are working on a managed business-intelligence service, which will integrate managed SQL Server, SharePoint Server and PerformancePoint Server; perhaps Blue is a component of this.

Additional info: The Windows Live Core team is comprised of some very senior Microsoft managers. One of them is database expert James Hamilton. An architect on Windows Live Core, Hamilton is "interested in multi-tenant hosted systems, the management of very large scale systems, massively parallel data management systems, database security, and unstructured data management."

Got a Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page. You can also check out this video-whiteboard I did recently on Microsoft codenames.