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Just A Reflective Bookmark: Microsoft’s Azure…The Dark Horse Emergeth…

November 17th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

darkhorseI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

Don’t underestimate Microsoft and the potential disruption Azure will deliver.*

You might not get Microsoft’s strategy for Azure. Heck, much of Microsoft may not get Microsoft’s strategy for Azure, but one thing is for sure: Azure will be THE platform for products, solutions and services across all mediums from Redmond moving forward. Ray Ozzie said it best at PDC:

The vision of Azure, said Ozzie, is “three screens and a cloud,” meaning internet-based data and software that plays equally well on PCs, mobile devices, and TVs.

I think the underlying message here is that while we often think of Cloud from the perspective of interacting with “data,” we should not overlook how mobility, voice and video factor into the equation…

According to Ozzie, Azure will become production live on January 1st and “six data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia will come online.” (I wonder when Amazon will announce APAC support…)

Azure will be disruptive, especially for Windows-heavy development shops and the notion of secure data access/integration between public/private clouds is not lost on them, either:

Microsoft also announced another of its city-based code names. Sydney is a security mechanism that lets businesses exchange data between their servers and the Azure cloud. Entering testing next year, Sydney should allow a local application to talk to a cloud application. It will help businesses that want to run most of an application in Microsoft’s data center, but that want to keep some sensitive parts running on their own servers.

It will be interesting to see how “Sydney” manifests itself as compared to AWS’s Virtual Private Cloud.

Competitors know the Azure is no joke, either, which is why we see a certain IaaS provider adding .NET framework support as well as Cloud Brokers (bridges) such as RightScale announcing support for Azure. Heck, even GoGrid demo’d “interoperability” with Azure. Many others are announcing support, including the Federal Government via Vivek Kundra who joined Ozzie to announce that the 2009 Pathfinder Innovation Challenge will be hosted on Azure.

Stir in the fact that Microsoft is also extending its ecosystem of supported development frameworks and languages, at PDC Matt Mullenwegg from WordPress (Automattic to be specific) is developing on Azure. This shows how Azure will support things like PHP, MySQL as well as .NET (now called AppFabric Access Control.)

Should be fun.

Hey, I wonder (*wink*) if Microsoft will be interested in participating in the A6 Working Group to provide transparency and visibility that some of their IaaS/PaaS competitors (*cough* Amazon *cough*) who are clawing their way up the stack do not…


*To be fair a year ago when Azure was announced, I don’t think any of us got Azure and I simply ignored it for the most part. Not the case any longer; it makes a ton of sense if they can execute.

  1. November 17th, 2009 at 11:24 | #1

    So, will Ozzie realize his dream on this try? He's got a bit of carnage in the wake of his past attempts, but he is a persistent bugger. And it is never a good idea to underestimate Microsoft.

  2. November 17th, 2009 at 11:46 | #2

    Good post Hoff. I really believe that MS can be an important player in the Cloud game. I just don't trust the existing leadership (minus Ray Ozzie) and, more importantly, the middle level managers out there.

  3. November 19th, 2009 at 09:04 | #3


    What I especially like is that Microsoft has been in the online business a long time and with that has come maturity when it comes to governance and compliance. For example let’s assume that Microsoft’s standardized its online services compliance: http://www.globalfoundationservices.com/documents… is part of how Azure is delivered.

    Add to that their privacy/security policy which is very detailed: http://www.microsoft.com/online/legal/en-us/azure

    And that they are:

    ISO/IEC 27001:2005 A.5.2.2 PCI-DSS V1.2 12.6.1 SAS70 – TBD HIPAA 164.531.b.1 SOX COBIT DS7 SLA = 99.95%

    And you have some great standards being put to use, transparent publication of which standards they use, and we’ll have to wait and see how much they reveal about their audit results once they go through the process with Azure (assuming they do – which based on what they are already doing – it is a bet I’d take).


  1. February 16th, 2010 at 21:45 | #1