“The two largest issues are concurrent requests and cooling. In order to handle concurrent requests Microsoft will most likely need to use a two-tier server architecture that requires two servers for each request: one to process the request and one to serve the data,” says the network consultant Nick McElhinney of MacTech Solutions. Shriram Natarajan of software developer Persistent Systems, pointed out geography and access concerns and the issue of availability. “With the user population so widespread and presumably using a variety of access networks, it’s going to be a challenge to ensure uniformity of access,” Natarajan said.
While Dave Laurello, CEO of Stratus Technologies said, “If ever there was the perfect cloud deployment this could be it, with its massive consumer base using a constant, static application set that’s not mission-critical.” With an application this large, there will be the challenge of supporting high availability. “High availability deployments are tricky to coordinate because you need to handle things like load balancer configuration and update certain groups of servers at a time. Because deploying a multi-component system to support 7.5 million users can’t rely on any manual steps it must be automated,” says XebiaLabs’ Phillips.
suraj.sun writes: In a blog post, Steven Sinofsky, and Chris Jones details the cloud services integration that will be featured in Windows 8 and Windows Phone and will serve as an update to Microsoft's Windows Live platform, which has not met Microsoft's expectations of "a truly connected experience." At the forefront of the company's cloud services will be a Microsoft account, which creates an identity to be used across Microsoft services, from the Xbox to SkyDrive and beyond. Microsoft accounts were previously known as Windows Live IDs. In Windows 8, a user's account settings will roam across PCs via the user's Microsoft account.
Windows 8 and Windows Phone will make use of the following Microsoft cloud services: Microsoft accounts, SkyDrive, Mail/Hotmail, Calendar, People, Messaging and Photos. According to Sinofsky, Windows Live services are currently used by more than 500 million users a month. Additionally, Hotmail has 350 million, Messenger has 300 million and SkyDrive has 130 million, active users.
suraj.sun writes: The Social Networking Online Protection Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), would prohibit current or potential employers from demanding a username or password to a social networking account. "We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private," Engel said in a statement. "No one would feel comfortable going to a public place and giving out their username and passwords to total strangers. They should not be required to do so at work, at school, or while trying to obtain work or an education. This is a matter of personal privacy and makes sense in our digital world.”
suraj.sun writes: Within hours of Google launching its new online storage service, the terms and service have come under heavy fire by the wider community for being able to potentially stifle innovation and harm the users' Google seeks to serve. While Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive allow you to retain your copyright and IP rights to the work you upload to the service, but Google Drive takes everything you own. A quick analysis of Google's terms of service shows how the search company owns the files you upload the minute they are submitted, and can in effect do anything it wants to your files — and that's final. But there is a small catch. Here's what the Google Drive terms say:
"Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps)."
The last sentence makes all the difference. While these rights are limited to essentially making Google Drive better and to develop new services run by Google, the scope is not defined and could extend far further than one would expect. Simply put: there's no definitive boundary that keeps Google from using what it likes from what you upload to its service.
suraj.sun writes: Today Microsoft has released SkyDrive preview for Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista users in 106 different languages worldwide, which was avilable for Windows Phone, iPhone and iPadsince December 2011. The company has also provided a preview version for Mac OS X Lion users too, providing access to SkyDrive documents directly within Finder. SkyDrive for Windows will allow users to drag-and-drop files (up to 2GB in size) to and from SkyDrive folders. Similar to Dropbox, all files and SkyDrive content will be managed in one central folder that syncs with Microsoft's online cloud storage. There is also a new fetching files option that allows SkyDrive desktop users to access, browser, and stream files from a remote PC running the latest preview of SkyDrive desktop — handy if you forgot to sync a particular file from your desktop PC while you away from your PC.
Microsoft also announced changes to its free and paid storage plans up to 100GB. All new SkyDrive users will be offered 7GB of free space, a reduction from the usual 25GB of storage, while for a limited time, any registered SkyDrive user who has uploaded files to SkyDrive as of April 22nd can opt in to keep 25GB of free storage while still getting all of the benefits of the new service.
suraj.sun writes: Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to ban employers from asking their employees and applicants for the passwords to their personal social media accounts(http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/09/maryland-bans-employers-from-asking-for-employee-social-media-passwords/). The bill passed both houses of the Maryland General Assembly — unanimously in the Senate, and 128-10 in the House — in the final hours of Maryland’s 90-day legislative session on Monday. Similar legislation is pending in Illinois, California, Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts, and a similar proposal may soon be introduced in New Jersey. The bill currently awaits the signature of Gov. Martin O’Malley. Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Goemann told The Daily Caller that the bill was a bipartisan effort and that she hadn’t “heard anything negative from the governor’s office.”
Congressional House Republicans recently shot down a bill at the federal level that would have instituted a nationwide ban against employers demanding the passwords to employee social media accounts.
suraj.sun writes: Ars recently attempted to delve into the inner workings of the security built into Apple's iCloud service(http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2012/04/apple-holds-the-master-key-when-it-comes-to-icloud-security-privacy.ars). Though we came away reasonably certain that iCloud uses industry best practices that Apple claims it uses to protect data and privacy, we warned that your information isn't entirely protected from prying eyes. At the heart of the issue is the fact that Apple can, at any time, review the data synced with iCloud, and under certain circumstances might share that information with legal authorities.
suraj.sun writes: Motorola's own patent war against Apple rages on, as the company has filed a new lawsuit in the US targeting Apple's iPhone 4S and iCloud service. Motorola's new lawsuit, filed in the US District Court of Southern Florida, asserts six patents against the iPhone 4S, with four of those same patents asserted against iCloud. This suit comes several months after two other federal lawsuits filed by Motorola against Apple, rounding out the list of Apple products that Motorola is going after with its patent portfolio.
The four patents Motorola is claiming against iCloud (hat tip to FOSS Patents for rounding them all up) include one for "multiple pager status synchronization," one that describes a "method and apparatus for communicating summarized data," a "system for communicating user-selected criteria filter prepared at wireless client to communication server for filtering data transferred from host to said wireless client," and a "method and apparatus in a wireless messaging system for facilitating an exchange of address information.
It's not hard to imagine scenarios in which a small business can bump up against that number. In this case, the new CEO had sent a getting-acquainted message to 400 of the company's customers and prospects. But it could easily happen to any small business. Imagine if your little company rolls out a new product that gets a mention on the Today Show or a high-profile web site like ZDNet. You could easily have 500 messages in your inbox when you get to work in the morning. If you try to respond to every one, even with a form response, you'll hit that 500-recipient lockout before your first coffee break.
suraj.sun writes: Microsoft’s Windows Azure has beaten all competitors in a year’s worth of cloud speed tests, coming out ahead of Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, Rackspace and a dozen others. The independent tests were conducted by application performance management vendor Compuware using its own testing tool CloudSleuth which debuted last year.
Compuware uses 30 testing nodes spread around the globe to gauge performance of the cloud services once every 15 minutes. The company performed 515,000 tests overall for a year’s worth of data covering August 2010 to July 2011, which Compuware released today. Each test requires the loading of a simulated retail shopping site consisting of two pages, one page containing 40 item descriptions and small JPEG images, and the second page containing a single, larger image of 1.75MB.
suraj.sun writes: Google also passes on European data to US authorities:
Google is making data that is stored in its European data centres accessible to authorities in the United States. When asked by the German language WirtschaftsWoche magazine, a company spokesperson saidGerman language that Google has passed on European user data to US intelligence services on several occasions.
US laws such as the Patriot Act require companies based in the country to make even data that is stored abroad accessible to the US authorities. In June, Microsoft had already admitted passing on European customer data from its Office 365 cloud service to US government departments.
suraj.sun writes: Microsoft took the beta tag off Office 365, launching the product at a New York City event today hosted by CEO Steve Ballmer. The new product is the software giant's effort to bring Web functionality to its widely used desktop applications as well as server products that are found primarily in large enterprises. Microsoft is betting that by offering products such as its Exchange e-mail server and its Lync online communications technology as Web services, it can expand the market to small and midsize businesses that don't have IT staffs and have traditionally shied away from those products.