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What Impact Will Windows Azure have on Cloud Computing?

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Phil Wainewright: What impact will Windows Azure have on cloud computing?

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  • I must confess, I always see 'Microsoft' and get a rush of marketingophobia. Much like their explosive ECM penetration with the $500M marketing of Sharepoint, its possible they can do the same with the cloud. This time they may struggle a little more if the buyers are different (less business, more IT). Will a tech-savvy crowd fall for the advertising dollars?

    I guess the cloud seemed to be ticking along nicely without Microsoft, and the story of open platform support on a closed / proprietary platform just signals a risk of lock in. It says something when IT has learned to trust an online seller of books as much (or more) than the vendor of their server OSs.

    I think Microsoft may just be another face in the crowd at the big cloud event.

    Phil Ayres
    http://blog.consected.com

  • Of all the Cloud platforms, Microsoft's is the only one I have seen to date focus on the issues of integration with the Enterprise environment. Most of the other Cloud providers and Cloud tool providers are focusing on green field environments. As usual, Azure will have an advantage in Windows/.NET development shops as the platform for deploying and scaling Windows/.NET applications.

    Personally, their approach is also a bit more interesting than a virtualized OS Cloud. It seems they may be in a position to set some leadership in more fine-grained resource utilization.

  • I think one factor will hinge on how open towards integration Microsoft intends to be with other Cloud Offerings like Amazon ECS. The customer should have choices and exercising those choices or conducting trials of the various offerings should not be a cost-prohibitive exercise. If Microsoft implements too much vendor lock-in and negates the proposed advantages of the Cloud, powerful as MS appears to be, it could give all of Cloud Computing a bad image.

    On the other hand, if Microsoft throws its muscle and stature into making the overall perceived benefits of Cloud Computing( including Scalabilty, Low Cost, Integration, Security, Elasticity, Best Tool(s) for the task at hand, etc ) a reality for all, then I'm sure Cloud users and clients will welcome its presence.

  • Microsoft is a little late to the game. Then again, being late is not always a bad thing and can often be an advantage. Considering all of Microsoft's software bets (excluding gaming and the like), they will have to bet big on Azure because this is where the real war for the big bucks of the near future will be fought. Three years from now, if we look back at some of the big fights, this will inevitably get listed near the top. Every five years or so there is a big battle (hardware, OS, browsers, Connectivity). Cloud infrastructure is the next one. There will be a few interesting smaller players that will start to get gobbled up for nice sums next year. Most will whither and die without making any money. And in the end there will be a few big players (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, ?).

    Brian Reale
    http://www.processmaker.com

  • Good topic for discussion. With the official launch of the Windows Azure Platform today, competition in the marketplace can only increase. When this happens, customers benefit.

    Over the past few weeks, Amazon.com has added a couple of features (an RDBMS and .NET SDK) to their cloud computing service, EC2, in anticipation of Windows Azure's likely popularity upon release.

    What does this mean to the market? More options and better ones, for the end user.

    The concern over "vender lock-in" is a valid one. However, right now most of the major cloud computing service providers are proprietary. The services offered by Amazon.com and Google are both proprietary. In fact the types of services are so different (Amazon is an Infrastructure as a Service, while Azure and Google are both a Platform as a Service) that significant changes can hardly be avoided when moving from one to the other.

    I see significant benefit coming to the cloud computing market as Microsoft launches the Windows Azure Platform.

    (I am contracted by M80, working with Microsoft to promote Windows Azure)

  • For anyone in doubt about cloud.. Microsoft has just sprinkled 'holy water' on the concept.

  • I Think the observation by JP Morgenthal about Microsoft focussing on the issues of integration with the enterprise environment will be a strong influence.

    Like in the past, there will be those Microsoft loyal organizations that will choose to bet on an MS offering over other comparable options available to them. There is no doubt that such Microsoft loyal organizations will consider it convenient/safer/comforting to go the Azure way.

    Microsoft can build a good story on the cloud if they can focus more on benefits rather than increasing MS dependency, while at the same time giving customers better leverage of other products(including theirs)

  • Windows Azure will surely provide a strong cloud offering for the .Net application space and for some of dynamic language applications. Azure also marks Microsoft's entry into the commercial cloud computing space. If we look at it from the pricing perspective it sits in comparison to other cloud providers. In a way, Azure has been introduced as a defensive move from Microsoft to ensure that its existing customers do not move away for their cloud needs. With Azure, Microsoft will surely now want to target small medium business (SMB) enterprises more aggressively. For overall cloud market this is a significant addition to set of applicable choices (where applicable from .Net perspective).

  • Check post by CloudBzz http://bit.ly/2m5I6W.

    JP also notes that MSFT is focusing on the enterprise and certainly they have the installed base of apps built on .NET to leverage. But it seems that they are counting on inertia to win the game more than anything else. In fact their strategy appears to be to continue the lock in to the .NET platform, but just change the installation/delivery point of the software.

    Nor have I seen a significant change in the license costs of the various bits of software that run on Azure. Will Office no longer cost $400/user? Will they reduce the cost of SQL, Biztalk, etc? If they don't what's the point. If they do, the financial impacts on MSFT are pretty huge (although they probably realize that the gravy train will end at some point, so my not cannibalize themselves).

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    If you are paying attention at all, you know Microsoft will "embrace and extend" the cloud like they do everything. Open Platform as a Service (OPaaS) http://www.openplatformasaservice.com is the real deal and the one to watch in this space.

  • I believe Windows Azure will have a big long term impact on Cloud Computing. Over the past two years while other cloud-based platforms have been announced by other mega brands, millions of .Net developers have been waiting and wondering how they leverage their existing skills and jump into the movement to the Cloud. Windows Azure is finally here that lets them build and deploy custom .Net applications without having to learn other tools or platforms. The benefits of pay-as-you-go and elasticity will cause a shift in .Net custom app development and management from on premise environments to the Azure platform. But this will not be overnight but over time as organizations get more comfortable with the Cloud. However, it is evident that Windows Azure is definitely a key fabric of Microsoft’s bet for the future.

    Microsoft’s approach to Azure is also different from what they’ve followed in the past – they’ve recognized that the future will be a ‘hybrid’ world where customers will have a mix of different cloud and on premise applications. Consequently, they’ve adopted a more ‘open’ approach with the platform, a conscious change from the homogeneous approaches of the past. They’ve made the Azure platform interoperable with other cloud environments and technologies both via platform features as well as partnerships with integration providers. From a customer’s perspective, having this ease of interoperability and integration will be one of the key criteria to adopt the Azure platform.

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