back to article Microsoft will beat Linux clouds at their own game - with open source

Amazon may dominate public cloud computing, but not amongst the Microsoft groupies. Microsoft has managed to be an end-to-end cradle-to-grave supplier within the data centre, and is attempting to extend this motherly embrace to the cloud with its Azure platform. Cracks have recently begun to show in this strategy, however, as …

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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Trust. It is all about Trust

    It is not

    "This battle isn't about who is cheaper or which cloud is more scalable."

    Rather

    "This battle is about who you can trust with your Data. Trust with what could be the lifeblood of your business."

    Do you really want to risk your whole business on something somewhere called the cloud? Clouds do eventually evaporate leaving you to get burnt by the 'sun'.

    Yours,

    A cloud doubter. After all what goes up must come down but not always in the right place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      I Assume You Also Use Amateur Radio

      ..to talk to your customers and business partners. Because the "Cloud Talking Application" (aka. telephone network) can't be trusted with your secrets, can it ?

      1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Terrible comparison.

        A telephone network is essentially transient data - a conversation, or a data link. They don't retain, manage and process actual company information.

        As someone who has seen a customer outsource everything from the desktop up and find themselves with an absolute mess, I too am something of a sceptic when it comes to public cloud for anything but very specific requirements (or very straight forward stuff like mail).

        Even then, public cloud is more vulnerable than internal alternatives due to unreliable comms, as well as the the element of 'what goes on behind closed doors' at your cloud provider. What shortcuts, dodgy dealing etc goes on? So, yes, it comes down to trust.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm...

      Try to think of it more like outsourcing, many companies outsource IT or portions of their IT. They key is to understand what you're doing, have appropriate contracts in place and audit the service and you are being sold.

      There are shining examples of outsourcing contracts screwing up because the companies that purchased them didn't know what they were doing, likewise there are lots of cases of outsourcing working excellently. I see no reason why a cloud service shouldn't be the same.

  2. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Go

    First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    If Microsoft has to offer open source to compete with Linux, then open source has won. Open source is what the fight is about, not the flavour of operating system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Adrian 4 - That's exactly Microsoft's sales pitch

      The flavor of OS is irrelevant so why not stay with Windows then!

      Right answer : Look out for the lock in and you'll see the way to go.

      1. 2cent

        A source of a different color

        Not very likely.

        MS will wait for the right (read "lock-in") moment and leave open source in the cold.

        Open Source, unless purchased by private hands (Oracle), will always be available to change and update.

        Microsoft always holds the the right to leave you out in the cold and feeling blue.

        The story of the frog and scorpion at the river repeats itself time and time again.

    2. Wunderbar1
      Thumb Up

      Naturally Microsoft is going to use open source to scale for the cloud.... It would be humorous to watch those guys trying to create a cloud version of the hardware/stack they ask on-premise customers to use. I can hear, "What the f+++ is a DAG?".... "Put it on Server 2008, are you crazy? We will have to hire the population of Washington as admins. Plus, no one is going to accept 80% uptime.".... "Hello HP, Microsoft here. We would like to place an order for 4243 PB of JBOD please."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Erm.

        . my windows web server has had just over an hours outage in 4 years according to our "cloud" based monitoring service. And that was because the internet went down after a fire at some BT exchange.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Getting down to business and the real nub of the matter for those who think money matters

    "This battle isn't about who is cheaper or which cloud is more scalable. It's about who offers the next generation of cloud developer the tools they need to get productive fast; and those tools are overwhelmingly open source. Microsoft has decided to embrace this, rather than fight it."

    Howdy, Matt,

    It is quite a bit simpler than that whenever you consider it's about who offers the next generation of cloud developer the money they might want, for the tools needed are private and proprietary intellectual property which is particular and peculiarly specific to virtual machine environments. And that is no problem to the likes of a Microsoft or anyone with a stake in the control of a currency printing press.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The leader as always

    As always Microsoft leads us into the future, this time trying to figure out how to extend and embrace the cloud while trying to stay relevant. Trouble is that the cloud is populated with companies that understand the cloud, and realise that ubiquitious computing means that the client device and O/S is irrelevant... thus rendering Microsoft irrelevant also ...

  5. Piskvor

    Base: 81 people?!?

    Might as well write "we pulled the data out of our posterior, because we don't have the foggiest about statistics". Eighty-one people are a representative sample now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do yo mean "sample"?

      That's the whole Azure population.

      Anon because I've actually suggested sending some of our once-a-year number crunching to the cloud, and been told it'd set a bad precedent. Apparently better to buy sufficient hardware for the one-offs than to willingly "outsource" anything, as the C-levels will see the savings for that one case and decide everything and everyone should be outsourced.

  6. E 2

    "Amazon may dominate public cloud computing, but not amongst the Microsoft groupies."

    When an article opens with a tautology, it is never a good sign.

  7. C-N
    Trollface

    "According to 2010 survey data by Dr Dobb's Journal"

    Yeah yeah yeah. What's Gartner got to say about it?

  8. Philip Hands
    FAIL

    these figures are drivel

    So, they ask ~940 people where they're going to deploy, one of them says AT&T and two say IBM, and they report that as 1% vs. 3% respectively -- oh, and they apparently have 103% total.

    Drawing any conclusions from this, when you tell us that the MS-lovers are an irrelevant side show in the cloud, is pointless.

    Anyone that's decided they want to run Free Software on VMs is liable to be open minded enough to make a rational decision, rather than fearfully clinging to nurse for fear of something worse, so Microsoft tempting the kids with some free sweeties isn't going to make much odds.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Wrong comparison IMO...

    Lets begin with "what is a Linux cloud" ?

    The allmighty Google will point you towards "CloudLinux OS" (cloudlinux.com) amongst other things and that's also what this is about (IMO anyway). A "Linux cloud" is more a virtual Linux environment (virtual server) where you can do just about anything which you can do on a regular installed Linux environment. The only limitations you have is the power of the underlying hardware and the way the Linux environment was setup (for example; some providers don't give you any swap space and apply a hard memory limit).

    Azure otoh. is basically a "cloud platform" which can provide specific services to build on. Databases, storage, etc.

    So I don't think you can fully compare the two like this. Database on Azure? You basically decide the size using their "pricing calculator" where 1Gb already ticks to $9,99. You can pick the size, storage and bandwith (each generating higher monthly costs) but are still limited to 1 specific SQL engine.

    Linux otoh... Well, its obvious enough: MySQL vs. PostgreSQL for example. Or both at the same time. The beauty here is obviously that your monthly costs won't be affected by all this. You rent a "Linux cloud" and what you do with it is up to you.

    So Azure taking on Linux? Seeing is believing, and I don't think we're going to see it happening anytime soon.

    Real life example: Right now I rent a few virtual Linux servers (CentOS 5). Approx. 60Gb storage, a good solid uplink, 1Tb bandwith, PTR records and the full yum repository at my disposal. Approx. $35,- / month per server.

    Azure.. 250Gb storage (20Gb is hardly comparable to the above example), 2Gb database, also 1Tb bandwith and... Amazing, "only" $229,98 / month.

    Do the math yourself here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/advanced/

    SO excuse me for not being a believer here. I'm not saying that there's no market for Azure at all, don't get me wrong, but no way that its going to come close to the extensiveness that Linux virtual computing provides.

  10. Spearchucker Jones
    WTF?

    Q3 2010?

    How is that graph and any discussion at all relevant today in Q4 2011?

  11. Charles Manning

    "Amongst Microsoft groupies"

    The quality of the stats ended right there.

    Who cares what a bunch of MS groupies do? This is less relevant than a bunch of VAX groupies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh?

      The thoughts or requirements of "groupies" of the most used server OS in the world are not relevant? This is exactly the sort of comment and mindset that holds Linux and FOSS back.

  12. Glock20-10MM
    FAIL

    I've use both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure and after much hands on experience I can tell you that AWS is the clear leader and makes Microsoft Azure look like at joke in comparison. Amazon AWS is so far ahead of all its competitors and is moving so fast that I can't see anyone catching up; ever. As an AWS customer I receive several announcements each month about new regions (Oregon last month, Brazil this month), new features or feature enhancements. In the past 4 months all I've gotten from Azure is a few maintenance announcements and the "exciting" news that they're increasing the max SQL Azure database size from 50GB to 150GB (big deal, still tiny). Microsoft's continued existence is due to inertia, lock-in, marketing and customer ignorance. Good Luck.

    1. Jacqui

      Glock20

      "Azure database size from 50GB to 150GB (big deal, still tiny)"

      Yup even my home pg instances can require TB's of storage. Not going to talk about work....

      This reminds me of an Oracle sales bod talking to us (Cray devs) in a porting meeting. He was telling us (bragging) how big and powerfull Oracle was and giving us figures (record counts and TPS graphs) for various platforms. A senior dev asked how big was the largest install. He named a figure and we all started smiling and laughing He was rather miffed and asked us what we found so amusing. The senior dev explained that our development YMP could run that database in memory. He stopped bragging and started giving us usefull info from that point. :-)

      The one thing this taught me is that tiny and massive are nonsensical terms.

  13. dogged
    Stop

    my major take home from this

    is that IT pros don't really care about "the cloud" and it's just more hype being puffed up to look important. "Cloud" should therefore be added to all Buzzword Bingo cards and anyone who talks about the cloud in interviews can be dismissed as an idiot.

    Which makes sense. You don't just palm off your data. Especially when (DPA, for example) you almost certainly have legal constraints preventing you from doing so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dogged

      All too true...

      I never use the word "clouding" but tend to speak of "virtualisation" instead. Sells better, but is also much closer to the truth.

      The main failure in clouding (IMO) was that companies promised more than it could deliver. Thus resulting in disappointed customers and as such a start of taking the term "clouding" downhill.

      Virtualisation has many advantages. Just look at the option to being able and reboot a virtual server compared to having to purchase a DRAC card which also allows for this. That's not even talking about not having to deal with issues such as hardware maintenance costs.

      1. Daniel Palmer
        Flame

        >>Just look at the option to being able and reboot a virtual server compared

        Real servers have these features built into the board controller. Virtualisation doesn't solve the issue that the real hardware has to be management. It just mitigates it for the small guys messing around with their piddly install on top of someone else's metal.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Allow me to translate for you

    Cloud is nothing but Outsourcing 2.0. Almost the same benefits and drawbacks, only with some added cost for the up-link bandwidth.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      ARGushers for Titanic Rain AIMovements ..... amfM Calling PRC to Prepare to Receive Alms

      " Cloud is nothing but Outsourcing 2.0. Almost the same benefits and drawbacks, only with some added cost for the up-link bandwidth." ........ Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 17th December 2011 11:08 GMT

      You could not be more wrong, AC, whenever Clouds are novel and ubiquitous and loded with raw and rare and rich heavenly resourced source deposits for AI Nodes and Model InterNetworking ..... with Heavy MetaDataBase Fuel Providers, Real SMART Thinkers and Virtual Tinkerers into Surreal Tinkering.

      Paris .... another heavenly body, the like of which can be found everywhere on Earth, which has an embarrassment of such riches and treasures.

  15. bobdobbs
    Trollface

    my major take home form this

    was much simpler... it pros don't read dr dobbs.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Dr Dobbs, Microsoft, Visual Studio

    Dr Dobbs is know to be a Microsoft-centered site. Little wonder their reader populace has a few Azure users. And certainly, Dr Dobbs likes to help out their buddy Microsoft, in the sure assumption of expensive ads being bought by Microsoft on www.drdobbs.com.

    Apart from such marketing antics, Microsoft does indeed have an Ace up their sleeve: The VisualStudio (2008 and 2010) IDEs, which are excellent products. I have been using gcc, vc++, Eclipse, Perl and now VisualStudio 2008 and I can testify it is well-designed, quite bug-free, GUI-responsive and in general a highly productive environment. If MS manages to integrate this with a compelling Cloud-based offering (meaning proper management tools to deploy, fail over, map entities to physical resources, reduce/aggregate data etc), they might stand a chance against AWS.

    But that will certainly not be as easy as in the PC domain, where users are ignorant to alternatives and their advantages (e.g. LaTeX, SVG), as developers are already using Linux, Java, PHP, Perl, Python, Postgresql, Oracle and so on in massive numbers. My feeling is that MS is still caught in the mindset of a PC software maker, and that severely limits their ability to compete in the datacenter, cloud-based or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err?

      MS are doing very well in the datacentre, proprietary UNIX is where that withering is at, it's being hit hard by Linux and its poor value for money. Microsoft have the de-facto directory services and good offerings in file & print, database and email, not to mention Windows being pretty much the default platform that a software company develops an application for.

      Many big businesses are looking to run Linux and Windows in virtualised environments with as little as possible proprietary UNIX. Many existing mainframe houses are also looking to run zOS and z/Linux.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 00:52 - Sorry to upset you but

        *nix is the default platform for development at least for Oracle and Intel, in case you heard of those companies. As for the database offering from Microsoft, except that it can be managed by Wintel sysadmins, is no match compared to other DBMS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC

          Just because a couple of big companies develop their software primarily on UNIX, doesn't mean that all the rest do.

          Proprietary UNIX is being dumped at several FTSE 100 companies I've directly worked at or provided services to. This is because Solaris, AIX and HPUX hardware, in particular, is extremely expensive and isn't that much better than Proliant, these days anyway. You'll also notice the tenancy for database appliances to be offered by many companies, these nicely pick up the area where big UNIX servers did most of their work.

          I'm not saying that it'll all go, but it's under very heavy attack, just because you don't like MS, doesn't mean that they're not still a force in the datacentre/enterprise.

  17. illiad

    How to REALLY miss the point...

    @Looking At The Clouds:

    using the telephone, using radio, TV, etc.. is not a *critical* thing.. it may be distorted, fuzzy, variable, but you can use your *brain* to filter all that out!!

    the day we can get a computer to do this *reliably* AND *cheap* will be a great day indeed... today it has difficulty just recognizing speech properly!!

    PCs and their bits today are made to a price, not a performance, so the chances of failure are high, due to dumb users, overcrowded interference laden airwaves, badly done soft/hardware put inside badly underpowered and old machines!!!

    Yes, its all wonderfull when it works, but not when the infallible fails, and not much support about!! If I had a penny for every 'noname' bits of kit I have tried to repair... :( :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Maybe

      ...Ghostscript can help you. Give it a try.

  18. LDS Silver badge

    Who cares of the cloud when he can run his datacenter?

    As usual, the quality of a survey depends on its set of responders. If you ask about the cloud to many high-end developers and system administrators who have the resource and expertise to run their high-end datacenters they have no hurry to move toward the clouds. Especially if they are used to handle tons of sensitive data that require full control and bandwidth. Ask to many low-end developers who never saw a true datacenter in their career and they will be much eager "to move to the cloud", whatever it means.

    Is the cloud the only future? No, it is not. It's just an option tthat can fit your business or not. It's a market MS can't ignore, but they know there will be companies running their own servers as well, because you can't always rely on trust third parties enough. Especially since from a security point of view the "cloud" has still to prove its robustness. Recent attacks pierced structures that should have been protected easily. Let's see what happens when data are more concentrated and a successful attack will become even more remunerative. While the "cloud" companies will try to be more "competitive" saving on technical people skills.

  19. Christian Berger

    It will be interresting to see how IPv6 changes that

    If you have, for example a web-based application running on your local server, it's trivial to have that on the Internet. In a nutshell you only need to poke a hole through your firewall.

    Other than that, first define what you actually mean by "cloud", then we can discuss if that is suitable for Windows or not.

  20. illiad

    Christian Berger: yep....:(

    insane admen have 'owned' the meme.. 'cloud' by definition is 'in the air'.. BUT they have now applied it to anything net related, ie, routers, media servers, etc, etc... how to devalue a good word...

    Back to 'storage/apps that are on your ISPs server, accessed through your internet', though... it is only as good as the weakest link!!

    this is OK in a big company, but not anyone else, that uses cheap and unreliable internet, cheap underpowered laptops, etc.. and will soon ge a bad rep...

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