Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Project Atlanta and Quest Software's Azure Services : Cloud based services related to SQL Server

I'm reading: Project Atlanta and Quest Software's Azure Services : Cloud based services related to SQL ServerTweet this !
Entire blogosphere related to SQL Server is cheering the release of SQL Server Denali CTP1, and everyone seems to be in a race to figure out the new features in this CTP. Some of the road blocks for developers to test this CTP are limited supported operating systems and number of issues during installation. SSIS seems to be loaded with a lot of enhancements with some great sounding support for data quality with new tools and controls.

Coming to the topic of this post, after the availability of Database Manager for SQL Azure, SQL Azure Reporting is one step forward in bringing SaaS model in SQL Server ecosystem. Project Atlanta and Quest Software's Azure Services are two of the cloud based SQL Server related SaaS / PaaS (as I have not analyzed it thoroughly) services.

Microsoft's official description for Project Atlanta is as follows: "Microsoft Codename Atlanta is a cloud-based service that analyzes installations of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (and later) and provides proactive alerts to help you avoid downtime and adhere to Microsoft's best practices. Detection of potential issues is based on knowledge provided by experienced Microsoft Support engineers who keep it up to date to leverage the most recent experience in supporting SQL Server deployments around the world". Though it sounds very exciting, there is another dimension to this offering, which Brent has described in his
post. Do not miss the conversation between Brent and the Program Manager of Project Atlanta. This is one case study where one can take few lessons, that can be helpful in developing proprietary solution offerings on similar lines.

Seems like Quest software already had the same idea in mind. An excerpt about the video where executives from Quest Software shares their views and perspectives about their cloud based IT services on Windows Azure platform in as follows: "Quest is an early adopter of the Windows Azure platform. They’ve built out an extensive services framework as well as a few initial service offerings that sits on top of Windows Azure Framework and Windows Identity Framework. One of the key elements in the design of Quest’s framework is secure communication and authentication between all the service components and layers, whereby encryption is based on certificates stored within the dedicated certificate store provided by Windows Azure". This is one another case study from which lessons can be taken for your future solution offering on Windows Azure / SQL Azure platform.

If you analyze the trend of the wind, you can easily make out the SQL Server product vendors are gearing up to provide cloud based solutions, some of which might be effective and some might be not. From a solution provider point of view, when your client might request a PaaS / SaaS solution on Windows Azure or SQL Azure, case studies like these can provide good insight from an architecture as well as designing of solution offering standpoint. I am wondering what would be Red Gate 's answer to these services, as SQL Toolsbelt might not be sufficient when cloud comes into picture.

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