Microsoft: Cloud OS Cold Front
October 2, 2008
Update, October 2, 2008, 4 55 pm Eastern: Good Morning Silicon Valley has an interesting take on Amazon’s rush to support Windows on AWS. You can read this story here.
The newsreader is chock full of cloudy goodness. The warm front concern Microsoft’s announcement that a “Cloud OS” is moving from Redmond worldwide. You can read Jeremy Kirk’s “Ballmer: Microsoft Will Soon Release Windows Cloud OS” here. The announcement coincidentally overlapped Amazon’s news that that it would roll out “Amazon EC2 with Windows” soon. You can read the Amazon “official” announcement here.
For my own intellectual benefit, I want to look first at the Microsoft Cloud OS announcement and then the Amazon “Windows on EC2” announcement. To wrap up, I want to offer my view of these two developments. As I state in my editorial policies for this Web log, I may change my mind as I get more information. If this adaptability in the light of new information troubles you, click off to YouTube.com and watch a Google video. You will learn more than from me, the addled goose.
The Microsoft Cloud OS
A year ago, I had to grind through information about Microsoft’s Dynamics Live, a hosted customer relationship management service that Microsoft was building. I haven’t paid much attention to Dynamics Live or Live Dynamics (whatever it was called) for three reasons:
- Microsoft Dynamics is a collection of separate products such as Solomon and Great Plains accounting plus some other companies and Microsoft-developed solutions. I do recall at to use one of the products I had to learn X++. I did not spend too much time thinking about X++ then nor since.
- Microsoft’s own writes up about Dynamics Live or Live Dynamics contained confusing information. For example, the service would be available from Microsoft but via Certified Partners and directly from Microsoft under certain conditions. I couldn’t figure out what was available from whom until I encountered point three below.
- There was no service beyond some demonstrations to which I couldn’t get access.
Bottom line for my research: talk but no deliverable. The reason was that Microsoft lacked the plumbing to deliver on premises applications from data centers without stumbling into the roadblocks that hit ASP (remember the application service provide baloney) from five or six years ago. Bandwidth was an issue. Reliability was an issue. Performance was an issue. Security was an issue. In short, the ASP gold rush turned to fool’s gold because delivering enterprise applications from the cloud was different from service data or Web pages from the cloud.
Now I learn that “coming soon” will be a cloud operating system which Mr. Kirk describes as a “Windows cloud”, quoting Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. Mr. Kirk’s most significant statement in my opinion is this passage:
Ballmer was short on details, saying more information would spoil the announcement. Windows Cloud is a separate project from Windows 7, the OS Microsoft is developing to succeed Windows Vista.
I am looking forward to Microsoft’s Cloud OS. The system will have to address the issues I identified with the cloud-based CRM products in my analysis (performance, inter-program interoperability, and interface congruence) and the issues I identified as plaguing the ASP delivery of Microsoft Exchange in the ASP hay day, a short lived hay day I might add.
It is easy to write about technology. In my experience, it is harder to deliver technology that makes good on what speech writers and marketing mavens craft before hitting the local Starbucks’ for a mocha latte.
I am deeply curious about Amazon. The company is out Googling Google and cutting deals with the GOOG for music on T Mobile’s Android-based device. I keep thinking Google-zon, but maybe I should consider Ama-Google. Amazon faces fewer legal hassles than Google. And Amazon spends less on infrastructure than Googzilla. Furthermore, the Microsoft-Amazon relationship is one that I cannot pin down. Microsoft and Amazon are working in the same city and environs. The two companies don’t show much outward affection for one another. Yet I hear fragments that lead me to believe that Microsoft is a secret supporter of Amazon. This may be a false impression based on a skewed sample, but then I learn about Amazon deploying Windows Server on Amazon EC2. Here’s what Amazon’s chief technical guru said on September 30, 2008, here after reminding me that Amazon customers are asking to “run on Windows”:
There are many different reasons why customers have requested Windows Server; for example many customers want to run ASP.NET websites using Internet Information Server and use Microsoft SQL Server as their database. Amazon EC2 running Windows Server enables this scenario for building scalable websites. In addition, several customers would like to maintain a global single Windows-based desktop environment using Microsoft Remote Desktop, and Amazon EC2 is a scalable and dependable platform on which to do so.
So Amazon is able to date both Google and Microsoft. I find that clever.
My thoughts are simple minded. What do you expect from an addled goose:
- I am missing something in the Amazon – Microsoft interaction. Why would Microsoft announce a Cloud OS and almost at the same time allow Amazon to create its own cloud version of Windows?
- Microsoft has the burden of Vista plus the border skirmishes with Google in the enterprise. Can the Redmond whiz kids manage the Xbox business, Zunes, Windows 7, and the Cloud OS. Aren’t these quite different programming and marketing jobs?
- And Google? What’s the GOOG’s play in the cloud? So far, Google, compared to Amazon, has been lagging. Why is this? Does Google know something that I can’t get my beak into?
More information needed. Any of my two or three readers care to contribute? Use the comments section to this Web log.
Stephen Arnold, October 2, 2008