Microsoft makes a place for Windows in the cloud

A month ago I wrote that VMware is ahead of its time due to their cloud vision and the "New Stack" that was laid out at VMworld.

A month ago I wrote that VMware is ahead its time due to their cloud vision and the "New Stack" that was laid out at VMworld. The "New Stack" is so different, in fact, that I got the feeling that VMware feels like there's no place for Windows in the cloud.

Last week, Microsoft announced that they feel differently. At their Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft revealed (Alessandro, MSDN)  the Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role for Windows Server 2008 R2, or WAVMRWS2k8R2 :) The VM Role will enable customers to run Windows VMs in the Azure cloud by building VHD images on site and uploading them to Azure, where they can then be accessed via RDP.

The point of the VM Role isn't actually to bring Windows to the cloud, but to provide a migration path for organizations to take advantage of Azure without migrating their applications to an entirely different platform.

We should see a public beta of the VM Role by the end of 2010. Eventually, we'll see the ability to build VM's directly in the cloud (ETA sometime in 2011), as well as support for both Windows Server 2003 and Server 2008 SP2 VM's (also, presumably in 2011).

Also mentioned (again) is Server App-V, which we've been waiting to see materialize for at least two years now. Server App-V will allow you to provision applications to servers the same way that you provision them to desktops using App-V today. With regards to the cloud, however, Microsoft announced that Server App-V will allow you to deploy these applications directly to the cloud without packaging them in a VM or rewriting them. Server App-V is expected to be available as a tech preview by the end 2010, with a final release in the second half 2011.

The fact that these two announcements happened at a developers conference is no mistake. Microsoft is banking Azure and their entire cloud model on the legions of Visual Studio developers in the world. If Microsoft only allowed new applications to run on Azure, there would essentially be two isolated groups of VS coders, one for Azure and one for regular old Windows apps. That's the kind of situation that would give VMware a leg up in the future cloud world.

These latest developments show that Microsoft plans to still be relevant in the future by allowing the developers to continue doing what they've always done, instead of learning something new and rewriting all of their code. How this applies to desktops remains to be seen, but you can bet that keeping Microsoft relevant as the world moves towards IaaS, Paas, and all the other cloud models is good for us all. What do you think? Is Microsoft poised to keep Windows going, or just delaying the inevitable?

Join the conversation

7 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Say what you will about WAVMRWS2k8R2, but it is still a better acronym than Microsoft BPOS, which constantly causes me to associate Microsoft with Big Piece of...well, you know.


Cancel

@Gabe - Can you ellaborate on your statement: "That's the kind of situation that would give VMware a leg up in the future cloud world?"


Cancel

You bet -


My thinking is that VMware is asking developers to switch coding platforms if their going to bring enterprise apps to their "new stack." Coding for Azure, as I understand it, uses the same coding skillset as any other Visual Studio app, local or cloud. That means that coders don't have to switch gears as much to develop for Azure as they would to develop apps in VMware's "new stack."


Now, if coding for Azure required a completely separate skillset, Microsoft would be asking coders to do the same thing - abandon what you're used to for something that you're not.


Of course, I reserve the right to be 100% wrong :) I'm not a coder, so I might not be getting it right. Still, it looks to me that Microsoft is doing everything they can to keep the legions of VS coders in their camp, rather than see them jump ship to a different platform.


Cancel

@Gabe - But this completely contradicts your earlier statement about VMware getting a leg up. I think it's Microsoft who's got a leg up on VMware and pretty much everyone else.


Cancel

@edgeseeker you're right. Developers don’t have to learn any new language or tools, and can start building cloud applications today with Windows Azure. We (I work for Microsoft) built Windows Azure with interoperability in mind. Developers have choice in programming languages, IDEs and dev frameworks including all languages that Windows supports to build cloud based applications.  And those apps can run in cloud computing environments hosted by the customer, a service provider or Windows Azure. VMware is committed to support Java and Apex based cloud applications.  More here: www.interopbridges.com


Cancel

I don't see how I'm contradicting myself. In the article, I say:


"If Microsoft only allowed new applications to run on Azure, there would essentially be two isolated groups of VS coders, one for Azure and one for regular old Windows apps. That's the kind of situation that would give VMware a leg up in the future cloud world."


Which is true - a split group of coders, or coders forced to choose would be a leg up for VMware.


The opposite is also true - writing code on the same platform for both Azure and Windows is a leg up on Microsoft.


Cancel

Microsoft is walking a fine line, indeed, by trying to keep itself relevant to the next-generation of IT platforms without sacrificing its Windows franchise. I think they are being smart by courting the large base of existing developers. Here's a recent interview with Bob Muglia in which he lays out the strategy. I think it's a sensible one. www.theinfoboom.com/.../microsofts-bob-muglia-details-cloud-strategy


Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVMware

Close