Microsoft comes to the rescue of university research with the cloud

Microsoft has announced [Project Daytona](, but the licensing terms contain hidden dangers suitable for probing…It is an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure, code-named Daytona. Project Daytona is designed to support a wide class of data analytics and machine-learning algorithms. It can scale to hundreds of server cores for analysis of distributed data. Project Daytona was developed as part of the eXtreme Computing Group’s Cloud Research Engagement Initiative. As they describe it:

>Project Daytona on Window Azure is now available, along with a deployment guide, developer and user documentation, and code samples for both data analysis algorithms and client application. This implementation of an iterative MapReduce runtime on Windows Azure allows laboratories, small groups, and individual researchers to use the power of the cloud to analyse data sets on gigabytes or terabytes of data and run large-scale machine learning algorithms on dozens or hundreds of compute cores.

But check out the [license](

>In return, we simply require that you agree:

1. That you will not remove any copyright or other notices from the Software.
2. That if any of the Software is in binary format, you will not attempt to modify such portions of the Software, or to reverse engineer or decompile them, except and only to the extent authorized by applicable law.
3. That Microsoft is granted back, without any restrictions or limitations, a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, assignable and sub-licensable license, to reproduce, publicly perform or display, install, use, modify, post, distribute, make and have made, sell and transfer your modifications to and/or derivative works of the Software source code or data, for any purpose.
4. That any feedback about the Software provided by you to us is voluntarily given, and Microsoft shall be free to use the feedback as it sees fit without obligation or restriction of any kind, even if the feedback is designated by you as confidential.
5. You acknowledge that Microsoft provides Internet-based services with this software, and it may change or be canceled at any time, for any reason or no reason. The software connects to Microsoft or service provider computer systems over the Internet. By using this software, you consent to the transmission of this information. Microsoft does not use the information to identify or contact you. Please see the Microsoft Online Privacy Statement

3 is a kicker. This could include research funded with public funds. Poof. Gone.

I would have thought that Mellon or Sloan should now fund a map reduce set for deployment to *any* cloud that will allow researchers with data to leverage cheap cloud resources from the likes of Amazon or Google and *retain* the rights to *their* data. The tech is there, just need to wrap it up or even get a project together to provide an interface to an instance already running. It seems better to me for the public good to fund such a service out of other public funds than allow such licensing terms to take such data from publicly funded research. To the cloud, researchers, but not the black cloud!


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