back to article Microsoft compares Amazon cloud to 'horseless carriage'

In the early days of the automobile, says Microsoft corporate strategy man Rolf Harms, cars were built like horse-drawn carriages. Some manufacturers even equipped their cars with whip holders. Others attached a faux horse head. Harms calls it "horseless carriage syndrome", and he sees it as the ideal metaphor for today's cloud …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    This system has encountered a BullShit as a Service (BSaaS) error.

    Please reboot.

    Seriously tough, VMs give you one thing the other stuff doesn't: You'll be free to dump MS and choose wherever to go. Even dump the whole cloud thing if it gets too stormy.

    So I'll keep my horse head thank you very much.

    and please stop with the .+aaS acronyms.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    What the crap?

    Public cloud? Platform cloud? Private cloud? Horseless carriage? WTF?

    EC2 is just a damn cloud. You pay some money and you get some compute time/bandwidth. How is any other cloud going to be any different?

    It's pathetic to watch Microsoft writhe around in fail.

    1. mcepl
      Jobs Horns

      You have rewrite ....

      Read and ... Microsoft wants to give on that damn HTML/Js/CSS which they control and return back to their lovely arms of locking in APIs, .Net and other crap.

      You should throw away everything you have and rewrite to their blood sucking APIs.

      Good luck!

      1. mcepl

        Correction of typo

        Of course, it should read “… which they CANNOT control …”

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Virgin Territory ...... NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT

    Harms says,"We're going through a transition ... This thing isn't going to change overnight. But it is going to change."

    Please be advised that whilst mainstream coax their Model T Cloud vehicles into life, ITs Master Pilots streak between Virtual Command and Control nodes in Dream Speed Machines ...... for Verticality through the Horizontal Applications Layers of Cloud Cumulations is a Exe.Mind Game for Stratospheric Thinkers and Fundamental Tinkerers. Time and Tide and Thought wait for No Man in No Man's Land and Cyber Space Realms and do not expect Rules and Regulations to be your Guide and/or Saviour if you choose the Low Road rather than High Way.

    "Public cloud? Platform cloud? Private cloud? Horseless carriage? WTF?

    EC2 is just a damn cloud. You pay some money and you get some compute time/bandwidth. How is any other cloud going to be any different?" ..... Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 11th March 2011 02:33 GMT

    Wow, are you in for an eye watering eye opener, AC. Surely you must realise that all clouds are not the same but they control releases of dynamic energy in a full range from soft static gentle rain to explosive kinetic tempestuous storm.

    You really haven't twigged yet what is going on, have you, and haven't quite fully realised the fact that traditional conventional news and media channels have been made virtually and practically redundant as a Leading Phorm Vehicle, with Modern Information and Future Intelligence now being exchanged Universally in Instants over Transparent InterNetsWorking.

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up


      What he said.

      (What was I on last night? That seemed to be making sense...)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Statistics and lies.

    I call shenanigans TCO graph is unrealistic. What sort of server between hardware/software/utilities/environment/labour will cost less than $500 over it's lifetime?

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    If Amazon is the Horseless Carriage

    Then Microsoft must surely be the 'Buggy Whip Maker'

    Now is that a Whip Maker who's whips are prone to failure (aka BSOD, Buggy Stroke of Doom)


    Are they a maker of Whips for use on buggies?

    Well there are certainly a little harder to throw than chairs..

    Ok.Ok, I know it is lame..... Gee up...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Your username and/or password are incorrect.

    "...if you're running 1,000 servers on a public cloud service and you expand to 100,000 servers – with server utilization hovering around 10 per cent – the all-important total cost of server ownership drops by 80 per cent."

    What the hell does this mean?

    I've been trying to figure this out for 20(now 30) minutes and I give up.

    1. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      Now we can see-

      How M$ calculate TCO figures.

    2. Mark 65


      Exactly, why the f*ck would you run that many servers at only 10% utilisation?

  7. gimbal

    "Horseless carriage," said the stableman to the Jaguar driver

    Sorry, guess I just gave the punchline away.

    If Microsoft really wants their customers to misunderstand the significance of Cloud Computing, they sure are on the right track for that, so far.

    Well enough, though, I suppose we may not need any overhyped contributions from Microsoft, in that domain, after all.

  8. The BigYin


    MS, who were late to the Cloud just like they were late to the Internet, are claiming OTHERS don't get it?

    The Cloud is a modern take on the old mini/main-frame idea, except with a mini-main-frame that can (if you have it set up to do so) expand/contract as demand permits and even move itself over to another data centre should the need arise (fail-over etc).

    Working in such away requires an OS that is perfectly happy to live "on" the network as it were and not expect to be a series of monolithic installs with a local user (probably running as an admin). It also helps if any GUI is network transparent, this means the server can do what its good at (crunching the data) and the client can do what its good at (making it look pretty). Perfect for low-power clients like smartphones, netbooks and tablets.

    In summary - the Cloud demands everything that the MS stack isn't, it demands a Unix or a Unix-a-like way of thinking, probably with a x-windows a-like to boot.

    MS's Azure is the horseless carriage, they've put it on a motorway already populated by articulated lorries, X5s and S1000RRs; and for some reason this is everyone else's fault.

  9. TwoWolves

    Narrow Band Strategy

    Well it all makes perfect sense if you only judge your IT projects by cost, so should satisfy the current generation of useless, consistently failing project managers. For those old-school amongst us who like to deliver solutions I think the problems are abundantly clear and this little spat underlines them.

  10. Youngdog


    "If you're just putting applications onto a virtual machine, you're just putting a horse's head on the front of a car"

    But stick one in someone's bed and you are making them an offer they can't refuse - go figure!

    Either way, you spend a lot less money on oats and less time shoveling sh*t - was that the point ? I don't know - I'm worried mere metaphors alone won't help me to understand just how much The Cloud will change my life!

    One thing that does reassure me however is that, if in doubt, the twunt saying 'paradigm' over and over again knows even less.

  11. Leeroy

    Mmmmmm i dont get it.

    Where do i draw the line with all this "cloud" / offsite IT stuff ?

    Hosted email is the first step, then hosted (Google) apps, then moving your apps to the cloud.

    How far is to far ? would you want to run Sage on a cloud instance, what about Photoshop ?

    I am worried that if we go down this route we may loose what i think is the most important thig about a PC, its ability to work unconnected to any external network. With Windows 8 apparently connected to the cloud what happenes if i move house and it takes a month to get broadband working ?

    1. fishman


      We had problems with phone service, and it took Verizon 3 1/2 weeks to restore our DSL service. So it doesn't take moving to have connectivity problems.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft perfected something?

    Microsoft platform: dynamically adds resources therefore the price goes up? And their software is shit and bloated. As it leaks it will cost more to run. The invoicing software is probably perfect except the rounding goes in their favour (probably).

  13. Charles Smith
    Jobs Horns

    Deja Vu

    In many ways Microsoft is very like the old IBM of the 1980s. The Microsoft way is the only way. If you don't use us you don't understand the problem...

    Microsoft used to have the sparkle of brilliance, now it is just a large corporation with an over bloated marketing budget. It is why we now have to suffer the marketing speak rubbish from them.

  14. Pahhh

    @What the crap? #

    "EC2 is just a damn cloud. You pay some money and you get some compute time/bandwidth. How is any other cloud going to be any different?"

    Ok, let me explain it in the same way I would explain it to some school children. "Cloud" stuff is a way to provide a scalable computing service.

    Some people offer the ability to run whatever applications you want on what appears to be a limitless amount of hardware. Its like having your own computers , as many as you want to do what ever you want on. That would be offerings like EC2.

    But other people offer a complete application which again is scalable and appear limitless. Its all managed and you dont have to worry if you need to use it a lot, it will grow with you. That would be applications like Salesforce.

    Now, there are things in between. Like buidling blocks. Some are storage others are application frame work.

    So the term Cloud can mean a lot of things and because of that it makes sensible people quite annoyed as it doesnt very well describe anything. But it makes marketting people and generally very silly people, very very happy as they can talk about things in vague terms and use trendy language.

    Unfortunantly, the people in between like AC 02:33 GMT just get mad as they just dont understand, errr anything.

    So there children, thats the danger of using the term "Cloud", think of it like a naughty word. Don't use it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "old skool software companies can name their price for their PaaS...

    ... to show any required ROI/NPV to the very same accounting savant buyers who locked their businesses into said software in the first place. What profit we might lose on license revenue we make up for in far lower sales & support costs. All we have to do is give the appearance of more functionality in the PaaS offering to get the customer even more locked to the platform, and create new tiered low functionality PaaS for new customers so we don't cannibalize the people used to paying the big $$. Nice."

    Larry and Steve (B) must be ****ing themselves laughing at the racket they have going with business customers. I bet SFDC wished there was some other database they could use.

  16. dogged


    please can somebody tell me how to stop reading "Rolf Harms" as "Rolf Harris"?

  17. Pahhh


    There isnt much not to get really. I actually think you pretty much covered it well to be honest.

    Some things lend themselves to running somewhere else, other things dont. I would be happy to use an external service for anything I dont want to manage myself and in doing so provides value.

    I keep mentioning Salesforce as I think its one of the success stories of something you can get as a service. Its great because geographically dispersed people can share the application. As an application its pretty straight forward to use and to customise. I dont have to worry about managing a server for it. I pay for what I use. I wouldnt go back to something like Goldmine.

    You could say the same thing about email services. Thats something I want to get completely shot of. We all already use ISP to deliver emails, wouldnt it be easier if we left it all up on a server at the email provider? Let someone else sweat keeping the email servers running etc.

    I would certainly consider using Sage as a service also. Why not?

    Now I'm not big on the idea that office productivity tools should be used as a service. For a lot of us it doesnt work. I like Word / Photoshop / etc running on my machine as its something I can do unshackled to a network. But bare in mind though some organisations work completely in the opposite fashion. Their users are super tightly constraits to what they can run, the machine they run the things on dont even store any of the application data and in fact they can log onto any console and resume their work. Effectively, for those environments have a "Cloud" *spits blood* service to deliver application makes 100% sense - but doesnt work for me.

    Now I'm not advocating anything other than there applications where bandwidth / security / trust where there are alternatives to the traditional setups and it makes sense. The truth is where it makes sense, those services are being used with gusto.

    What really pisses me off though is then endless promotion of cloud as the answer to all things. It isnt and the term gets on my nerves.

  18. CD001

    How is...

    How is cloud computing a completely new paradigm requiring a fundamental mind-shift (or some other BS)? Comparing it to a 'horseless carriage' doesn't really work because that tends to imply that everything we were used to is a bit like a horse-drawn carriage and cloud computing is something significantly evolved from that.

    What's happened here is more like we went from server-client architecture with mainframes and thin clients, to fat clients running the applications, to server-client architecture with applications on both the server and the client.

    For the horseless carriage analogy to work you have to say we went from cars, to horse-drawn carriages, back to cars again ... albeit slightly different cars with more features.

    In a nutshell - cloud computing is mainframe for the 21st century. With faster Internet connections the servers can be further away, you don't even need to own them. The only real change is going from an ownership model to a rental model - not just for the hardware but the applications as well (though software makers have been trying to convince us we only rent/license the software for years anyway).

    Hardly a new paradigm in computing.

    1. The BigYin

      It's a "new paradigm"... MS. MS are ramping up to compute like it's 1980!

    2. M Gale

      Not only the hardware and applications.

      Also all of "your" data. I know there's some real use for a rentable, scalable computing resource attached to a whacking great Internet connection, I'm just not sure my day to day computing or a company's trade secrets is it.

    3. Mike Pellatt

      We had a rental model before

      and we called it "bureau services"

      Remember Datasolve ??

  19. Pahhh
    Thumb Up


    Indeed. One important note however, Cloud "stuff" doesnt necessitate the change in ownership model. You can have "Private Clouds" where you still own everything. But that re-inforces your point of "what's new". "Private Clouds" are clustered / grid services.

    Maybe the difference is that some guy put the random "cloud" term to scalable provisioning and the moronic press found nothing else to write about. Then we got a whole bunch of born-again-cloud vendors that realised that actually they been doing this for years and get more limelight for their goods by waving the "cloud" banner.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Azure is a really bad hybrid

    with EC2 you have to treat everything like it's "real" server boxes and manage things accordingly (though they have some really nice tools coming on-stream to help with that)

    With AppEngine you don't have any clue as to the physical infrastructurte you just get billing based on the number of transactions (that's real elastic computing)

    With Azure... you either live in a VM like the EC2 world (*coming soon) or you have to re-write your app as a horribly abstracted thing using APIs to control startup and shutdown (and not knowing if you'll get stopped randomly bypassing shutdown anyway) and then to top it all off you still have to worry about machine role sizes and number of instances and control the former programatically (re-compiling if you want to change) and the latter thrrough a manual dashboard or powershell scripts

    None of these are really a great answer yet. ApppEngine is probably on the right path but hard to predict or manage charging, and very limited on language and database support but it's early days yet

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still driving horseless carriages

    People are still driving horseless carriages, this years Ford Mustang even has a horse stuck on the front.

  22. Bram

    MS Cloud

    I think he's just saying dont just dump applications on to the cloud like a VM machine. Take full advantage of the Cloud. For example if you build yourself an eight core 64 bit system but all your programs are designed for 32bit single core machines you will see an improvement but your not taking full advantage.

    The guy does work for a company so he is going to push their methodology, if you dont like the way they are doing things then use an alternative. From what I read he wasn't saying anything really bad about Amazon just making an informed comment with some humour.

  23. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    If MickySoft made horseless carriage

    An Oldie....

    1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.

    2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.

    3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

    4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

    5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT." But then you would have to buy more seats.

    6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five per cent of the roads.

    7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.

    8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.

    9. The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.

    10. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grab hold of the radio antenna.

    11. MickeySoft would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps, even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50% or more.

    12. Every time MickySoft introduced a new model car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

    13. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.

  24. Steven Jones

    Transport mataphors

    If we are playing metaphors, then isn't the cloud more like having a private car and the cloud like public transport - or at least taxis? Or, in the case of companies, having private transport fleets versus public couriers.

    The point about the automobile is that once the costs had come down to when it was accessible to people they preferred paying for that to the limitations and inconveniences of public transport and use the latter only for where there is an advantage - commuting into cowded cities, long distant high-speed transport etc. The fact that most cars, most of the time are either parked or carrying only one person is not the most important point.

    In the case of companies, then many wil have their own fleets and resort to the use of couriers or carrier companies where it makes sense.

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