Research Study About The Ball

One big thing of the year 2013 for the Ball was the master thesis work around it done by Michael Gurschler. The thesis is the first good neutral conclusion around the Ball – and was quite good perspective for things to improve. Many of the things especially related to developer clonability and production environment setup have been greatly improved since Michael set up his own instance for the study.

Michael Gurschler’s Thesis About The Ball (PDF)

I’d like to take this opportunity and personally thank Michael for his invaluable work on demystifying the Ball!

This is good conclusion for the year 2013, looking forward to reach whole new set of milestones during 2014!


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Web site on The Ball on Azure: 99% Cost Consolidation

Yes, the number is correct.

No, it’s not 99% more bang for the buck, it’s 99% less of the buck for (actually even better) bang. If you want to have the same number in traditional consolidation ratio let me include the exact decimals as well: it was 99,21%. The consolidation ratio is 125 to 1.

The Ball Consolidation Summary

The Ball Consolidation Summary

The numbers are even more radical if the focus changes to consolidating CPU only, now they also include the network cost, that’s making majority of the Ball cost. This is kind of an obvious outcome, as the Ball architecture is so simple and it underlines the primitive level control. Now that same control can be used to detailed cost-payment directions to every single group within same instance.

There is no magic – the Ball platform is able to consolidate the resource usage between all the groups that operate within the same infrastructure. Thus the groups are able to take advantage of all the web/worker role capacity altogether.

This is ultimately good news for small groups or even individual developers (much like myself), who can also take advantage of the opportunity and slice the costs and unify the maintenance for all of their solution base. At least for what comes to cloud-back-end…

I made the video for the presentation and scenario that was captured from our test site. It’s available in The Ball Solutions playlist. I’ll put the standard UI on all the groups likely during the coming week. The presentation slides including the reports are available below.

Radical Consolidation on The Ball (PowerPoint) (PDF)



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Enabling Open And Private Data Community-Driven Development

Thanks to Finnish Environmental Institute with its partners, we had great seminar about “Smart Environmental Information” today!

In the seminar I presented under the topic “Accelerating Open And Private Data Service Development”. The presentation was spoken  and shortened explanation of more detailed Open Data Ecosystem – Infrastructure model that we introduced in June.

Unified Community

Unified Community

The video is posted in Demo Videos under “Smart City Ecosystem”. The slides of my presentation are available as well Accelerating Open and Private Data Development (PDF).

Looking forward to the Azure DevDays seminar day on 11th of November, where my goal is to introduce and demonstrate the consolidation factors by very detailed resource usage numbers.

Stay tuned!


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Windows Phone on The Ball on Azure

This has been busy week so far :-)

I have considered adding support for Windows Phone straightforward, as all the web socket negotiation stacks worked even for Mono. Thus I kind of didn’t bother to do it, but kept claiming that it’s straightforward… until this morning.

For the preparations of my next week seminar presentation I wanted to demonstrate real-time private location against open-data. Anything else than demonstration with real mobile device would have been lame, so I gave the Windows Phone support a go… started around 9:00, ended with functional version around 12:00. Then wrapped and polished the whole package to GitHub and proceeded to make demonstrational video of the thing.

So here you go – runs as-is against

The video is also available in Demo Videos under The Ball – Solutions.

… now the next thing to add is the information processing from inputs/outputs/device connections… to make that location appear automatically and in real-time.



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The Ball Group Input-Output-Device Demo Available

Getting up and then realizing that I need my “private” as well span off motivation to demonstrate the Ball network communications.

I just added two new videos to The Ball – Solutions playlist at Demo Videos.

  • The Ball Input-Output Explained

This has the explanation of design choises and user/group level control of what’s inputed and outputed.

Input Output Device Sketch

Input Output Device Sketch

The sketch is getting drawn with explanation on this video.

  • The Ball Input-Output Demo

The actual demonstration, starting with demo case explanation and going through steps in demo. The steps in the demo are:

Demonstration Details – Case “Common categories” & “Common Content”
- Introduce device client details
- Perform Negotiation
=> validates client, requires validation on device connecting side
- Introduce input, validate
- Introduce output, validate
- Download from input => verify from storage
- Upload to output => verify from storage
- Make category to demo., make textcontent to test.
- Rerun download/upload => verify from storages

These demos can be run as-is with the available demo/test sites, however they need to be hooked up with processing to be visible elsewhere than in the storage containers, where there is no group-level user interface available right now.

I aim to add soon Android/real device connection that will update real-time private location to my private account area. That’s going to start real internet-of-things demonstrations finally :-)!



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The Ball Demo Site (Finally) Up And Running!

Today I finally finished up the recording of initial videos for the demo/test site of the actual running platform. The site is used for feature tests and technology previews, so while I do call it “demo” site, it’s not production-grade demo site. It’s used for customer and partner dialogue rather than passive videos or static documentation.

All technology features are first rolled through demo site and see if they cause any issues there. So be prepared for bumpy ride :-).

There are some recently discovered issues with OpenID login occasionally giving errors. There are certain version(s) of Firefox that get the error more regularly, but it appears occasionally also on other browsers.

If you are interested on pilot/demo with stable content, please email me directly ( and I set you up on our other production focused Caloom instances. Also if you’re a software/cloud architect with technology skills, I’m happy to hook you up with enough info to clone your own instance of the whole platform on Azure. The process has been greatly simplified during recent months, and I’ll document it properly in near future.

That being said, I’ve just added new section to Demo Videos that helps you get started with :-)!



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The Ball Showcases Incoming – Meet Us in Seminars!

As with last year, this year after vacation time started quite hectic. While lot of things were developing in parallel it was easier to wait for concrete things to happen before publishing any updates.

We are quite far solving collaboration challenges with real customers. As the progress has been quite rapid, including design decisions and refactoring of user-experience, it also meant that pushing neutral demo-site and demo-environments up were postponed. Now we’re finally reaching concrete :-)


I’m happy to announce few seminars where the Ball approach is going to be presented.

The perspective of presentation is to combine open data with private data in developer productivity accelerator manner.

This presentation will present content management customer cases and digital application development frame on the Ball running on Windows Azure.

Academic Publication & Deployable Demo Incoming!

Right after the vacations, the first week of August I had really enjoyable and hectic week. I worked with Michael Gurschler, an Italian university student who wrote his master thesis all around the Ball and Information Ecosystem it enables. This study includes fair evaluation of what the platform feels to develop against. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine for mainstream developer, but it also will underline the bigger scope of distributed the Ball architecture model.

Moreover when working with Michael, the clonability of the Ball was proven, but also greatly improved since the early days of August.

In the coming week I will post about the Michael’s thesis and introduce already up and running the Ball demo instance/site with known issues and developer clonability guidance.

That’s all for now! I’m looking forward to post concrete cases around the summer’s posts for Smart City Ecosystem models and Open Data Infrastructure, as they emerge.

Chilly Autumn from Helsinki, Finland

Kalle & the rest of the Ball team

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