To the cloud!

In 1984, John Gage – the 21st employee of Sun microsystems – coined the phrase ‘the network is the computer’.

In 1996, an article in Wired called this ‘a truism’.

Now, in 2012, it finally looks like Gage’s vision might be coming true.

A couple of weeks ago Amazon announced their ‘High I/O quadruple extra large’ EC2 instances. These machines have 8 virtual cores, 60GB RAM, 10 Gbit Ethernet and 2TB SSD storage. They cost $3 an hour to run.

In the same week, Microsoft announced that Azure Storage is currently storing over 4 trillion objects.

Here’s a graph (the big blue line) showing the searches for the term ‘cloud computing’. The other two lines are for ‘grid computing’ and ‘distributed computing’:


Note how the blue line seems to have peaked, and is now dropping a bit. My theory is that this is because the term ‘cloud computing’ is becoming generic and accepted and is not a terribly useful thing to search for any more.

So, what are we doing at Red Gate with and in the cloud?

Our Cerebrata tools help you manage your Windows Azure storage, and monitor Azure diagnostics data. They also include a set of PowerShell cmdlets to script administrative and management tasks.

We’ve built, a hosted service and a Visual Studio plug-in that lets you build mobile apps within Visual Studio.

The flagship tools in our SQL Developer Bundle work with SQL Azure and Amazon SQL Server RDS. That means you can compare and synchronise SQL structure and data between your on-premise databases and Microsoft’s and Amazon’s platform-as-a-service offerings. Interestingly, it took us more effort to get these tools working with SQL Azure than with Amazon with RDS because SQL Azure only has a subset of on-premise SQL Server, but RDS actually is a full SQL Server instance (more or less). Of course, these tools work with hosted virtual machines on Amazon and Microsoft’s infrastructure-as-a-service platforms too.

Red Gate Cloud Services lets you schedule backups of SQL Azure databases to blob storage or Amazon S3.

ANTS Performance Profiler now times database calls to SQL Azure and Amazon RDS so you can see what code generated the request, what request was sent and how long it all took.

We’re about to launch a hosted version of SQL Monitor. You’ll be able to monitor your on-premise SQL Servers from anywhere, with minimal installation. Connect to our web site from your laptop, desktop or tablet from outside your firewall and get detailed information on how your servers are doing. For a taster, check out the live monitoring of, our high-traffic, high-profile community site. And yes, that’s real data. If you want to be on the beta, sign up here.

SQL Backup Cloud Edition will mean that your business processes, not your free disk space, will determine your data retention policy. We’re putting some really interesting features into it that will mean you’ll never have to worry about recovering tapes from offsite storage again.

We’re working on other things too. They’re a bit too early to talk about, but look out some for interesting announcements over the next few months.

Want to help us create software and services for tomorrow’s software and data geeks? We’re hiring.

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