Monday, May 10, 2010

4 things Microsoft needs to do to catch up with the cloud

Phil Wainewright from ZDNet wrote an article called "VMforce.com redefines the PaaS landscape". Boy was he ever right. The VMForce announcement sets a new bar for PaaS providers. In case you missed the announcement, VMWare and force.com announced they will let java developers work in SpringSource IDE and publish their native java applications on the force.com platform instead of force.com's proprietary APEX language. In a single stroke, VMforce has increased their developer count by about 4 million, eliminated a major risk in using their platform (proprietary), and solidified a standard IDE for java.
Now Microsoft needs to play catch-up. It's Azure platform has been lagging behind and with this announcement from VMForce, it has a lot of ground to make up. One advantage Microsoft has always held is it's IDE and it's ability to deploy to all it's platforms (mobile, desktop, etc...). The IDE doesn't allow for deployment to it's cloud with a simple push. So, that's the first thing MS has to do:

1) Allow for deployment at the push of a button of .net applications from Visual Studio into Azure environment.
2) Use real C# code and not a reduced subset on Azure
3) Release MS Office and CRM on Azure
4) Everything on Azure automatically works on mobile devices (including the iPad)

Although VMForce is not yet available, Microsoft must be able to offer these four things to combat it when it does. This time, the vaporware promises that Microsoft will someday have it are not gonna cut it. Force.com and VMWare have too much momentum already.

1 comment:

hk404 said...

Windows Azure in V 1.0 laid a strong fondation for service execution. Finally Force.com gotten over its own weakness of a closed platform with vmforce.com.

Openness of a cloud platform is exhibited by portability and interoperability. If SpringSource brings portability to VMForce.com, Windows Azure portability is characterised by its ability to run Java servers like Tomcat, Jetti, and numerous other Java app server distributions. BTW, it also runs ASP.NET applications.

In comparision with Windows Azure, VMForce.com is more closed than the Microsoft cloud platform.

Windows Azure supports interoperability through REST and OData web service interfaces. Nothing is more interperable than REST and OData interfaces.

The four things you mention, here is the reality:
1) It is only natural for Windows Azure deployment model to evolve into something you suggested for non-enterprise class deployments. Current model caters for enterprise class deployment in which the deployment rarely happens from IDE

2) Windows Azure runs full version of C#; in fact you can take a typical ASP.NET application and run it unmodified on Windows Azure so long as virtualizes physical resources.

3) Microsoft CRM Online is already availble as a cloud service. End users don't care where it runs. Migrating to Windows Azure is merely a business decision and not indicative of the weakness in Azure technology. Microsoft is taking small steps in delivering Office applications through cloud. They will come in due course.

4) Application compatibility and user experience on mobile platforms and iPad is the primary responsibility of the application owners; Windows Azure provides all the necessary platform components to build mobile and iPad web applications.

I hope this offers clarification on your suggestions for Windows Auzre.

- Hanu Kommalapati (MSFT)