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Is Microsoft the answer to the cloud quandary?

Steve Duplessie | July 31, 2013
The company could rediscover relevance because it understands that the companies using its cloud services require flexibility first and foremost.

This is where Microsoft has a distinct advantage — it already runs in your world. In the new world order, it has the right concept — it adapts to you. Microsoft lets you, the customer, stay on top of cloud phenomena that are changing faster than you could possibly keep up with on your own — without any negative impact to existing workloads. It lets you have your cake and eat it too.

Microsoft is the only provider (today) that offers infrastructure and application management capabilities that can execute the same way inside your own data center, at a service provider's data center, or in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Because of its (free!) Hyper-V hypervisor, workloads can execute unmodified in any of those situations. Your private data center/cloud, some service provider's cloud, or Microsoft's cloud. Better yet, if you put stuff in one and don't like it, you can move it. The control stays with the customer — not at the vendor.

I love what Amazon has done with AWS, but you can't run an AWS VM locally, or move it to another provider without a major (a.k.a. nightmare) conversion and migration exercise.

Microsoft also has System Center to manage everything — anywhere. On-site or at a provider — you will run System Center somewhere, or everywhere.

Better still, I can move my Microsoft apps to the cloud with Office 365 and stop dealing with software (the same way Salesforce did it with CRM) all together. I can use Microsoft Azure to set up my platform-as-a-service offerings, enabling me to start developing in the new world without any heavy upfront investments.

So I am not telling you that this is a fait accompli. I am telling you that Microsoft the giant has a massively unfair advantage in that you already run all its stuff. The completeness of its vision and capabilities to execute stuff everywhere you could conceive of executing it — and the ability to change your mind, are enormously compelling. Will Microsoft get it all perfect? Of course not, but it has the money, brand, brains and market muscle to pull it off.

Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.


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