Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Huron" Sync enabled cloud data hub

To my surprise the Microsoft Sync Framework team has teamed up with the SQL Services Lab to produce "Huron".

"Huron" is a combination of SQL Data Services and Sync Framework. Which actually means that an arbritary database can be published to the SQL Data Services (which is a part of the Windows Azure Services) and after that Sync Framework kicks in.

For example: You have some sort of SQL Database which contains information that you want to share with your colleagues (on mobile devices for example). It's fairly easy to publish this database to the "cloud" (SQL Data Services). The Data Service will store your database as a blob in the cloud. After you've uploaded your database, sync framework does a first sync of the data in the database. Another user can subscribe to your database, this means that a template of the database is downloaded to their local drive and sync framework does a first sync of al the data. This user also get a range of primairy keys he can use for adding rows. Which means that a user can add a row and the primairy key of that row will not be the id of the last row + 1, but will be the first number in the primairy key range. This little trick is done to reduce the sync logic. (Two users adding a row which gets the same id, sync framework can't determine which row is should be persisted in the real database).

Everyone who have been working with Sync Framework won't see anything new here accept the fact that the database is now out in the "cloud" and not in the company. So actually nothing new here, just a hype to sell Live Services. I understand that for smaller companies which don't have the money to provide the cost of administration, deployment and availability this could be a good solution. For bigger companies who already have the network and the maintenance departments (and the budget) for supporting these kinds of technologies, this can be an option if you want your data up in the "cloud", but I think there are better options.

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