Microsoft’s Azure: When Clouds Encircle Islands, Things Get Foggy…
Microsoft’s announcements today at OzzieFest (Microsoft’s PDC) include the unveiling of Windows Azure.
The Azure “services platform” is described as:
operating system and a set of developer services that can be used individually or together. Azure’s flexible and interoperable platform
can be used to build new applications to run from the cloud or enhance existing applications with cloud-based capabilities. Its open
architecture gives developers the choice to build web applications, applications running on connected devices, PCs, servers, or hybrid
solutions offering the best of online and on-premises.
Holy buzzword bingo, batman!
Look, when I’m forced into vendor lock-in in order to host my applications and I am confined to one vendor’s datacenters without portability, that’s not ” the cloud” and it’s not an “open architecture,” it’s marketing-speak for “we’re now your ASP/XaaS service provider of choice.”
Azure doesn’t run “in the cloud.” It’s a set of hosted services connected to the Internet. In this case the “cloud” is more like fog which encircles the islands of data inhabited by Dr. Moreau and his ghoulish API-infected creatures. (Ed: In full disclosure a year later this strategy makes a crap-load more sense. I simply didn’t get it at all back when I wrote this post)
Amazon has their hosting infrastructure and API’s/SDK’s, Microsoft has theirs. Google, too.
You might convince me there is such thing as THE cloud if there was ONE standardized API subscribed to by everyone who claims membership in the cloud. But there isn’t. Everyone is announcing their own little island with their own API, own “datacenter operating system,” etc.
I go back to my recent rant titled “Will You All Please Shut-Up About Securing THE Cloud…NO SUCH THING…” wherein I stated:
There are many clouds, they’re not federated, they don’t natively
interoperate at the application layer and they’re all mostly
proprietary in their platform and operation. They’re also not all
“public” and most don’t exchange data in any form. The notion that
we’re all running out to put our content and apps in some common repository
on someone else’s infrastructure (or will) is bullshit. Can we stop selling this lemon already?
Just like there are many types of
real billowing humid masses (cumulonimbus, fibratus, undulatus, etc.)
there are many instantiations of resource-based computing models that
float about in use today — mobile.me, SalesForce.com, Clean Pipes from
ISP’s, Google/Google Apps, Amazon EC2, WebEx — all “cloud” services.
The only thing they have in common is they speak a dialect called IP…
Again, I’m not suggesting that this model is not reasonable, warranted or worthwhile. I am a big believer in leveraging open architectures for the interoperable exchange of data as well as resiliency, scale and utility computing.
I’m simply suggesting that re-branding the word “Internet” and implementing ROT13 to arrive at “Cloud” is really confusing and intellectually dishonest.
It’s not FUD, it’s FOG.