"We want to provide this network overlay otherwise it is going to be a nightmare because you have to manage security [in many places], you have this policy and that policy, so if you have the overlay it can be thought of as one network," Srivastav said.
Microsoft showed a demo of Sydney as part of an internal auction application that incorporates a database running on-premises at Microsoft and a front end hosted in the cloud, where the performance is supplied to handle the churn of auction bids before depositing the final result in the internal database.
Another key piece introduced is the AppFabric, an application server layer that spans the cloud and internal servers so developers have a single, consistent environment for .Net applications. The AppFabric combines hosting and caching technologies formerly code-named Dublin and Velocity. Beta 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 was released last week and a beta for Azure will come in 2010.
In addition, Microsoft gave two .Net Services components the AppFabric name: the AppFabric Service Bus, which provides an IPv6 and IPSEC pipe between internal networks and the cloud; and AppFabric Access Control, which supports identities federation so access controls can be shared across components no matter where they run.
In addition, Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, said that Visual Studio 2010 will include templates that allow movement of cloud applications between hosted and internal networks.
Microsoft also introduced a tool with Visual Studio called VM Roles that will let users put legacy applications in the cloud using virtual machines. While those applications won't be able to take advantage of some cloud features, VM Roles will help corporate users move some workloads to the cloud so they can focus resources on mission-critical applications.
Also, Bob Muglia, president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, said a cloud version of System Center management tools would go into beta in 2010. They will provide a unified console for managing on-premises and cloud assets in the same way.
Microsoft said the platform would span operating systems (Windows and Azure), relational databases (SQL Server and SQL Azure) application services (AppFabric), programming models (.Net), and applications (including both internal and cloud versions of Exchange, SharePoint and Dynamics).
Another piece of the puzzle focused on directory technology and Microsoft's claims-based identity system. Microsoft introduced NGAD (Next Generation Active Directory), which is built on a database that provides powerful querying and performance gains.
NGAD is a "clip-on" for AD, not a replacement. It gives IT the ability to deploy numerous NGAD instances to provide claims-based access controls that support exclusively cloud applications or services.
NGAD is populated with data from current Active Directory deployments and shields the main directory from schema changes NGAD requires and from the usage spikes NGAD will handle.
At PDC, Microsoft also released to manufacturing WIF (Windows Identity Foundation), formerly called the Geneva Framework, which helps developers build applications that incorporate a claims-based identity model for authentication/authorization. WIF is part of the .Net Framework programming model that stretch across enterprise and cloud.
In all, the bridging technologies that Microsoft introduced are only a handful of what is likely needed to connect internal IT systems with the cloud and do it in a secure and managed way that will support mission critical applications.
"The full dimensions of the problems will develop over time as organizations step into the cloud," Gartner's Valdes said. "When that happens then unanticipated problems will surface, but for the moment, I think Microsoft is actually looking pretty far ahead to the needs of its clients in the cloud arena."
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