Microsoft, Red Hat and Others Sound Off in a Busy Cloud Computing Week
This has been a huge week for technology platforms focused on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing. In conjunction with OpenStack Summit, Red Hat advanced its enterprise-scale OpenStack tools and services and took big steps toward offering complete OpenStack-centric support with its Early Adapter program and tech roadmap. And, Microsoft stepped up its competition with Amazon Web Services through its Windows Azure-related announcements. These include the public availability of Windows Azure IaaS with new VMI (virtual machine image) templates for SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and SharePoint. Azure will also work with larger VM sizes, works seamlessly with Ubuntu, and offers new prices on par with Amazon's.
Microsoft has a stronghold in the enterprise already and is positioning Azure as the ideal cloud computing enhancement for many organizations running tools like SQL Server and SharePoint. But it's a mistake to think that Azure and Amazon Web Services are squaring off in a proprietary-only technology race. As The VAR Guy astutely points out, Canonical has been enthusiastic about Ubuntu's apparently seamless integration with Azure -- "a move that makes much more sense than it might at first seem," he notes. Canonical likes the idea of Ubuntu running in the cloud, even if itis running via Microsoft's cloud platform.
For direct evidence of how Microsoft intends to leverage its presence in the enterprise with its Azure strategy, consider this from the announcement this week:
"Our announcement today is a significant step in our cloud computing strategy, which has been influenced directly by our discussions with customers and partners around the world. Throughout these conversations, one thing holds true in every discussion - enterprises know that success with the cloud lies in the power of “and.” Customers don’t want to rip and replace their current infrastructure to benefit from the cloud; they want the strengths of their on-premises investments and the flexibility of the cloud. It’s not only about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), it’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios. The cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organization’s IT fabric, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting."
"Customers don't want to rip and replace their current infrastructure," is a phrase right out of Microsoft's longstanding playbook, and Azure probably will attract some enterprise users of Microsoft's tools.
But, we also saw Red Hat take significant steps toward its ultimate OpenStack strategy this week, and OpenStack Summit was loaded with representatives from businesses interested in leveraging the open cloud. In the cloud, enterprises and individuals are facing more choices than ever.