How Azure Came About

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-10-29 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

I want to go back to Azure.  Could you give me a little of the concept of how it came about, and from there how it blossomed, and how you guys picked the development team and so on?

I'll just say in '05 it was kind of an important year-it was the first year I was there-I wrote up some papers and presentations that ended up basically taking the viewpoint that you saw here today, which is there are back-end things that are happening, there are front-end things that are happening. The right way to do things is to go to the groups and just basically say will you do it.  The problem is that at that moment in time we were in the middle of Vista and in the middle of Office 2007-lots of developers were just heads down. 

And so what was recommended and what we ended up doing was spending-you know, just creating new groups, one that ended up being Live Mesh, one that ended up being this thing, this Red Dog project that ended up turning out this way. 

Amitabh Srivastava, who was up yesterday, was the kind of founder, Dave Cutler co-founder of that group, and they built it up from there. And I seeded them with the vision, and then they went and they skeptically thought about it, and then they went on their own reality check tour of visiting teams and visiting the data centers, and then visiting the services teams.

Because the services teams at Microsoft were kind of off to the side, they weren't the real men. They didn't develop OSes, they just ran those wimpy things like MSN. But they went out there and they said, "Wow, this is like a whole different world. There is a different OS out there that should be there, and we're wasting money, and we're this and  we're that." 

They found things like some degree of excess capacity of machines that were powered on waiting to be provisioned.  Why were they powered on even though they weren't being used?  Because they needed their OS updates to be ready in case they were needed-they were just wasting power. 

And energy is a big deal these days, and so basically they just said, "Look, we can make a real difference here across a broad variety of properties.  And the more properties that we're running, the more we can save." Because every property we had, had its own stack of machines that was waiting for spare capacity from itself, and each one had slightly different configurations.

They saw it as a huge innovation opportunity, and so I'm just really pleased that they took it on.




 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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