Launching “Learn the Cloud, Make a Difference” DC Effort

Two years ago, Jim O’neil and I developed a quick Azure training program called “@home with Windows Azure” – a way to learn Windows Azure and have some fun contributing to a well known distributed computing effort, Folding@home.  A few months later, Peter Laudati joined the cloud team and we developed the game RockPaperAzure.   RockPaperAzure was a lot of fun and is still active, but we decided to re-launch the @home with Windows Azure project because of all of the changes in the cloud since that effort in 2010. So, having said all that, welcome to our “Learn the Cloud.  Make a Difference” distributed computing project!  It’s been updated, as you can see on the page – a much cleaner and nicer layout, maintaining our great stats from the 2010 effort where we had a cumulative 6,200+ virtual machines having completed 188k work units!   (Of course, as happy as I am with the numbers, the Folding@home project has a over 400k active CPUs with over 8 petaFLOPS of processing power! Stanford University’s Pande Lab has been sponsoring Folding@home for nearly 12 years, during which they’ve used the results of their protein folding simulations (running on thousands of machines worldwide) to provide insight into the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow disease, ALS, and some cancer-related syndromes. When you participate in @home with Windows Azure, you’ll leverage a free, 3-month Windows Azure Trial (or your MSDN benefits) to deploy Stanford’s Folding@home application to Windows Azure, where it will execute the protein folding simulations in the cloud, thus contributing to the research effort. Additionally, Microsoft is donating $10 (up to a maximum of $5000) to Stanford’s Pande Lab for everyone that participates. We’ve provided a lot of information to get you started, including four short screencasts that will lead you through the process of getting an Azure account, downloading the @home with Windows Azure software, and deploying it to the cloud. And we won’t stop there! We have a series of webcasts also planned to go into more detail about the application and other aspects of Windows Azure that we leveraged to make this effort possible. Here is the schedule for webcasts, and of course, you can jump in before at any time: 3/15/2012 12pm EDT  @home with Azure Overview 3/22/2012 12pm EDT  Windows Azure Roles 3/29/2012 12pm EDT  Azure Storage Options 4/05/2012 12pm EDT  Debugging in the Cloud 4/12/2012 12pm EDT  Async Cloud Patterns

SQL Azure Pricing Changes

SQL Azure just got some better pricing!  Here are the details: Database Size Price Per Database Per Month 0 to 100 MB Flat $4.995 Greater than 100 MB to 1 GB Flat $9.99 Greater than 1 GB to 10 GB $9.99 for first GB, $3.996 for each additional GB Greater than 10 GB to 50 GB $45.954 for first 10 GB, $1.998 for each additional GB Great than 50 GB to 150 GB $125.874 for first 50 GB, $0.999 for each additional GB Notice the new 0 to 100 MB tier – finally, a good option for small databases, utility databases, blogs, etc.   Note, however, that when setting up a database, there is a maxsize property – currently, the maxsize can be set to 1 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, and then in 10 GB increments up to 150 GB.  (The 1 GB and 5 GB belong to the Web Edition, and the larger are part of the Business Edition.  Both offer the same availability/scalability.) So, if a database is set to maxsize of 1 GB, as long as the size stays at or below 100 MB, the reduced pricing will be in effect.  The price is calculated daily based on the peak size of the database for that day, and amortized over the month.  This is a breakdown of the changes from the previous pricing model: GB Previous Pricing New Pricing New Price/GB Total % Decrease 5 $49.95 $25.99 $5.20 48% 10 $99.99 $45.99 $4.60 54% 25 $299.97 $75.99 $3.04 75% 50 $499.95* $125.99 $2.52 75% 100 $499.95 * $175.99 $1.76 65% 150 $499.95* $225.99 $1.51 55% *Previous prices 50GB and larger reflect price cap of $499.95 announced December 12, 2011. For more information, check out the Accounts and Billing in SQL Azure page.  Also, my colleague Peter Laudati has a nice write upon the changes!

Funniest Slide Header I’ve Seen in a Long Time…

Credit to a colleague for this slide, but for those who follow Microsoft’s cloud platform might get this reference:

My Apps

Dark Skies Astrophotography Journal Vol 1 Explore The Moon
Mars Explorer Moons of Jupiter Messier Object Explorer
Brew Finder Earthquake Explorer Venus Explorer  

My Worldmap

Month List