App-centric: Expect New On-Ramps to Windows Azure
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie, who is transitioning out of the Developer Division to lead the newly created Windows Azure Application Team, according to a leaked memo, whose contents were reported last week by Mary Jo Foley, has clarified his new role at Microsoft to a certain extent.
Guthrie replied to comments about his upcoming transition in his ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update blog, on May 3, 2011:
>>>>>> Scott, very sad to hear you are leaving .NET team :-( YOU were the main mentor to reach .NET to this stage...God bless .NET!
Don't worry - I'm not leaving .NET. I continue to run a lot of the core .NET teams (ASP.NET, WCF, WF, AppFabric, IIS, VS Web Tools, WebMatrix, among others).
I'm also spending a lot of time on Azure. But I'm not leaving .NET :-)
He offered a similar response to another commenter on his EF Code First and Data Scaffolding with the ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update on May 5, 2011:
>>>>>>>> As detailed and clear as ever! This is really kool !! Scott is the news(or rumor) of ur imminent transfer to the AZURE TEAM real ? I just hope Redmond is making a right calculation here.I will suggest you head both Azure and Dev Div teams together. Missing the kind of mentoring u'v shown the community will be a disaster to say the least...
I'm now involved in Azure - but am also very involved with .NET and VS too. I still run a lot of the .NET and some VS teams (including ASP.NET, WCF, WF, AppFabric, VS Web Tools, IIS, WebMatrix and more).
So don't worry - I'm not going anywhere... ;-)
Of course, Windows Azure is based on Windows/.NET and the applications are developed in Visual Studio. However, Windows Azure and the Windows Azure Tools are not part of the Developer Division, which is responsible for Visual Studio and the core .NET platform.
Migration of ASP.NET Web apps to Windows Azure is one of the paths to Azure but that transition is not as straightforward as it sounds – at least at this point.
Guthrie's leadership of ASP.NET and extensions like ASP.NET MVC, which is designed for scalability, according to Microsoft, combined with his new role as head of the Windows Azure Apps Team, points to another .NET platform-as-a-service that could serve as a model for an easier on-ramp to Windows Azure. AppHarbor, which is in public beta, is a .NET platform-as-a-service provider that takes your source code and then builds, tests and deploys your app in the cloud – currently on Amazon Web Services.
Several Microsoft developer evangelists have talked about AppHarbor in recent months, namely Scott Hanselman, who interviewed AppHarbor's Rune Sørensen in a podcast, and Aaron Evansteed.
Evansteed lauded AppHarbor and explained the PaaS in his blog in January:
Instead of managing a number of virtual machines on a service like EC2, you manage a number of application instances or some other such abstraction. PaaS combined with a continuous build / deployment system is a powerful combination indeed and allows for unparalleled productivity for agile web developers and startups.
.NET developers have had PaaS available to them for a couple of years in the form [of] Windows Azure, but Azure is really meant to service the needs of rapidly growing services and cloud applications, not brand new projects that have no users yet.
AppHarbor fills two needs that are unmet by Azure – it makes it easy (and currently, free) for .NET developers to have access to a Git-enabled continuous development environment, something which our friends on Rails have had for a long time, and it supports the sorts of rapid build / test / deploy workflow that is common among agile groups and startups in particular.
This, in my opinion, makes AppHarbor the perfect starting place in the lifecycle for any new ASP.NET or WCF project.
AppHarbor is modeled after Heroku, a Ruby PaaS that offers a simple deployment mechanism and doesn't require code modifications, according to Sørensen.
A similar offering from Microsoft, or partnership with AppHarbor (based on Guthrie's openness to innovative .NET frameworks) may be on the horizon.
Have you checked out AppHarbor? Express your thoughts on the Heroku model, will it work for Microsoft's cloud? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Kathleen Richards on 05/10/2011 at 10:42 AM