Microsoft to eat its own cloud dog food with Photosynth

Microsoft has begun moving new and existing Photosynths to Windows Azure and its Azure CDN. The company also is cutting the price of Azure storage.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has started moving the 40 terabytes of photo data created with its Photosynth photo-stitching technology to Windows Azure.

In an October 18 post to the Photosynth blog, company officials said the process of moving all Photosynth synths and panos to Azure had begun. Moving the entire 40 terabyes should take a number of weeks, but shouldn't interfere with users' ability to view old synths or upload new ones, according to the post.

Microsoft execs have said since Windows Azure launched in early 2010 that the long-term plan was to host most of Microsoft's own cloud services on Azure. Most of the company's new services are hosted on Azure from the get-go these days, but some existing services -- like Dynamics CRM, Office 365, Hotmail and Xbox Live -- are hosted in Microsoft datacenters, but are not running on top of Azure.

The Photosynth team noted in its post that three years ago when Photosynth launched, Microsoft didn't have its own general-purpose cloud-based storage and distribution network, so the team used a partner for storage and content-distribution-network (CDN) services.

"But things have changed dramatically in the last few years, and our own  Windows Azure is now among the strongest cloud solutions in the industry," said the October 18 post. "We're excited to be 'eating our own dog food,' as we say, and moving every last Photosynth pixel to Azure.

As of last week, half of new Photosynth uploads worldwide were being directed to Azure and served using the Azure CDN. If all goes well, Microsoft was expecting to increase this to 100 percent within a few days, and then begin migrating existing content.

In other Windows Azure news, Microsoft is cutting the price of Azure storage, officials said on October 28. For those storing less than a terabyte of data on Azure, the price is going from 15 cents per month to 14 cents per month per gigabyte. For those using up to 50 terabytes, the price is dropping to 12.5 cents per gig. For those using up to 500 terabytes, the new price is 11.2 cents per gig; for those using up to a terabyte, it's 10.3 cents per gig; and for those using up to 5 petabytes per month, it's dropping to 8.5 cents per gig. Those using above 5 petabytes per month can call to negotiate their new storage rate.

And on the rumor front, Business Insider is reporting that Kevin Timmons -- Microsoft's former datacenter services general manager who joined Apple to head up its datacenter efforts back in April 2011 -- has left Apple to join datacenter solutions vendor CyrusOne. BI says that according to its sources, Timmons didn't take the post at Apple due topossible non-compete issues with Microsoft.

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