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Mark Russinovich: How Microsoft is building its cloud future

Eric Knorr | March 4, 2014
In an exclusive interview, Mark Russinovich opens the hood of Windows Azure and discusses how IT should prepare for its inevitable cloud transition

InfoWorld: So tell us what's coming for Windows Azure.

Russinovich: We're constantly adding new functionality and features. Like I said, the cloud is new. If you look at the mature environment of the on-premises IT world, there's not just one thing that does whatever you want it to, but probably 20 or 30 different vendors that offer products that do what you're talking about. The cloud is not there yet. There are a lot of holes in the basic functionality, in the layered functionality of the services that would be added on top of that. This is why it's going to be just a great economic opportunity for lots of people.

InfoWorld: Isn't latency still a huge issue with the cloud? What is Microsoft doing to mitigate that?

Russinovich: Right now we're creating these regions in the geographic areas that companies want to be in. There are two reasons. One is the latency issue. The other reason to go regional is data sovereignty.

InfoWorld: That's another big issue, in the European market especially. I guess you're still getting blowback?

Russinovich: Yeah. People are still reacting, especially when something new comes out every two weeks.

InfoWorld: One last question, Mark. What do you say to IT professionals who see the cloud as a threat to their livelihood?

Russinovich: I've got a good friend, Mark Minasi, who is an IT speaker and writer. He does these pitches to IT pros at conferences and he asks: How many of you are still setting IRQs on sound cards? How many of you are still walking around with CDs and installing software onto individual computers? If you look at the evolution of IT, people aren't doing today what they were doing ten years ago. Change has just been a fact of life all along.

Now, of course, some changes are bigger than others. But change has been there all along. And if you're not adapting, you shouldn't be in this business. IT professionals, I think, have to step up and play a key role in this migration for their companies. Because if they don't, shadow IT is just going to go around them.

That puts the company at risk when that happens. If IT can't get involved and help, and help with immediate deliverables as well as the overarching goals of the corporation, then the whole corporation is going to be at risk.

InfoWorld: So IT needs to provide a framework.

Russinovich: That's right. Basically, providing a governance framework and actually going out and establishing the business relationships — making sure that the tooling and the operational systems are in place. So when a business unit does move, they're not having to make it up as they go and get it wrong.

Souce: InfoWorld


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