Tuesday, November 04, 2008
During PDC, I was lucky enough to film a short video with Marc Hoeppner, one of the Regional Directors from Germany and the Managing Director of NeoGeo New Media GmbH. Marc was involved very early with SQL Data Services and has provided some valuable feedback to us on features and direction.
I managed to get Marc to show me his company's media asset management product, neoMediaCenter.NET. What struck me during this interview was how his team did a hybrid approach to cloud services. That is, their original product uses SQL Server on the backend for storage and querying. Instead of forcing customers to make an either/or decision, they took the approach of offering both. You can move your data seamlessly between the cloud or the on-premises database.
There are some real advantages to using SQL Data Services for this product: namely, with a click, you can move the data to the cloud where it can essentially be archived forever, but still available for consumption. We like to term this 'cold storage'. Imagine the model where you have thousands and thousands of digital assets. For the assets that are temporally relevant, you can store them in the local on-premises database for the least latency. However, as the data ages, it tends to be used less and less frequently. Today, companies either invest in a bunch of new storage, archive it off to tape, or just delete the content once it gets to a certain age. Instead of forcing customers to make one of these choices, Marc has added the capability to move this data out of the on-premises store and out to the cloud seamlessly. It still appears in the application, but is served from the cloud. This makes accessing this data simple (unlike tape or deleting it) as well as relatively inexpensive (unlike buying more disk space yourself).
Once we have multiple datacenters up and operational, you also get the geo-location aspect of this for free. It may be the case that for certain sets of distributed customers, using the geo-located data is in fact faster than accessing the data on-premises as well.
This is a very cool demo. If you watch towards the end, Marc shows a CIFS provider for SDS that allows you to mount SDS just like a mapped network drive. Marc mentions it in the video, but he managed to build all this functionality in just a week! It is interesting to note that Marc's team also made use of the SSDS REST library that provided the LINQ and strongly typed abstraction for querying and working with SDS (it was named before SDS, hence SSDS still). I am happy to see that of course since I had a bit to do with that library. :)
Watch it here