April 28, 2011 News Thursday: LinkShare Chooses Windows Azure Platform, Research Teams Compute in the Clouds, Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 Complete Common Criteria, and other Server and Tools News

Windows Azure AppFabric Caching Service Released

At the MIX conference we announced that the Windows Azure AppFabric Caching service will be released soon. Today we are pleased to announce that the Caching service has been released. The Caching service is a distributed, in-memory cache that can be used to accelerate the performance and scale of your cloud applications built on Windows Azure and SQL Azure. See this post on the AppFabric Team blog for more details on this release.


Customer Spotlight: LinkShare Chooses the Windows Azure Platform in Bid for Global Cloud Solution

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that LinkShare Corp., an online performance marketing firm, has adopted the Windows Azure platform for development of LinkShare Lightning, the next generation of its online marketing application, and in turn has gained greater efficiencies and reduced IT costs through cloud computing. LinkShare made the choice after assessing the cloud offerings from Amazon Web Services and Google Apps Engine. “Cloud innovation and feature development are proceeding at a fast pace at Microsoft, which made Windows Azure a great choice,” said James Chen, chief technology officer of LinkShare Labs. “With a steady stream of new Windows Azure development tools at its disposal, our team of three developers built LinkShare Lightning in just three months, putting us that much closer to our vision of a global, cloud-based, online performance marketing solution.”

For more information please visit Customer Spotlight press release, Windows Azure blog, and Case Study.


The Sky Is No Limit: Research Teams Compute in the Clouds

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the awardees who will be funded through the collaborative cloud computing agreement that Microsoft Corp. and NSF announced in February 2010. The agreement will offer the award recipients--individual researchers and research groups—two free years of the Windows Azure platform that enable faster, less expensive processing across geographically distributed datacenters. By extending the capabilities of powerful, easy-to-use PC applications via Microsoft cloud services, the program will help broaden research capabilities, foster collaborative research communities, and accelerate scientific discovery.


For more information please visit the NSF website.


SQL Server News You Can Use

There have been multiple updates this past week to SQL Server to help make our customer’s database environments easier and more manageable. Following are some specific updates from this past week:

· SQL Server Migration Assistant v5.0 – Today Microsoft announced version 5.0 of our SQL Server Migration Assistant products. This version contains a refresh of SQL Server Migration Assistant products that ease the transition from Sybase, MySQL, and Access to SQL Server. For more information on this release, visit the SQL Server team blog.

· SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CTP – last week Microsoft released a SP1 CTP for SQL Server 2008 R2, which helps to address customer feedback and customer issues. For more information on ken enhancements, check out the SQL Server Team Blog.

To stay up-to-date on future SQL Server product enhancements, visit www.microsoft.com/sqlserver and subscribe to SQL Server Team blog at http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/.


Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 Complete Common Criteria

Over the past two months, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 SP2 32 & 64 bit Enterprise Edition (English) completed the Common Criteria (CC) certification process and achieved Evaluation Assurance Level 4 with augmentation (EAL4+). Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 were certified on March 24, 2011. SQL Server 2008 SP2 was certified on February 11, 2011.


Common Criteria certification is an international standard for ensuring that IT products conform to stringent security requirements, is recognized by the 26 member nations of the CCRA, and used in procurement requirements by governments around the world. In particular, Common Criteria evaluation of operating systems and database management systems (DBMS) is a mandatory procurement requirement for U.S. defense and national security customers.


For more information, please visit the FutureFed blog.


New Releases from Business Intelligence TV

Tim O’Reilly: The Future of Business Intelligence is Now

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc, predicted years ago that data collection would change the traditional model of business intelligence. Now, collective intelligence, automation and algorithms are the heart of competitive advantage. Mature data applications work in real time, from mobile devices telling you where to get good Chinese food to complicated retail buying applications making automated purchases for international chains. Also, considering a mashup of data to supplement your own might be a major benefit to your company...perhaps could even save you $30M! Watch the video to learn more.

America’s Debt: Get the Facts

The United States has a massive debt problem. Many politicians talk about why we're in this position and what we need to do about it, but Tyler Chessman decided to take a look for himself. As a data scientist, not an economist, Tyler analyzed data from several government sources to determine where the problems lie. His new book, Understanding the US Debt, not only highlights the problem areas but also suggest 7 steps for becoming debt free. Could one of the world's superpowers' problems be solved using free data, Excel and PowerPivot? Visit the BI TV blog to watch the video and download the apps so you can decide for yourself.

Wine, Movies and Love: Data Can Predict Winners

How could you predict the taste of a bottle of wine that’s never been opened? Or know how much money a Hollywood film will make before it’s even been shot? Or choose a perfect stranger to be your soul mate? Dr. Ian Ayres, author of Supercrunchers, shares amazing examples of predictive analytics being implemented in a wide variety of industries, as well as who is embracing these probabilities and who is resisting them. Watch the video.