Quick, raise your hand if you're writing code using SQL Server Data Services right now.
How about, raise your hand if you've even heard of SSDS?
Microsoft's nearly-spanking-brand-new cloud data offering, SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) is a Google BigTable-like horizontally-structured data cloud, still in beta.
Horiztonally what? The basic data model is authorities, containers and entities. Using authorities, one is able to geographically distribute one's data -- not unlike Amazon's Availability Zones, and something Google App Engine and Google's BigTable betas don't yet offer.
Truly scalable web applications beg for this sort of backend. For a slight trade-off in latency, you have extremely affordable, dynamic, distributed capacity.
My friend Michael O'Neill over at crisatunity, one of those DBA guys, isn't a big fan of the data cloud model, at least not at the oustset of this conversation. We're going to have a blog back-and-forth on this topic over the next few weeks, as we both test out the beta, and I prepare for a couple of presentations for an upcoming Code Camp and local user group.
Not only do I come at this from a Developer (vs DBA) perspective, but this sort of service is the sort of thing that's helping drive down the cost of starting up a new business. As CTO of Change Round-Up, I believe cloud services offer us the ability to address a Top 50 retailer's peak transaction volumes, without having a lot of over-priced under-utilized in-house capacity.
I look forward to seeing where this conversation takes us, and if anyone's opinion on SSDS, or cloud services in general, is swayed.