Microsoft Clarifies Its Version of Cloud

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-09-02 Print this article Print


"We wanted to clarify what we see as 'the cloud,'" Greschler told eWEEK. "They [VMware] talk about a stack, but it's very much a disconnected stack-between this new infrastructure they've got [vCloud Director], and this new [vSphere] platform.

"There is really no connection between the two. When they were showing some of the connections that were out there, it was all just clouds built on virtualization."

Microsoft takes a completely different approach, Greschler said.

"We've got virtualization with Hyper-V and System Center, Windows Server and so on. We've also got Azure and a whole suite of, in effect, software services-Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and so on," Greschler said. "What we've done is made sure that there is a very strong connection between virtualization and the cloud."

Windows Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as an offsite development, service hosting and service management environment. Using this Microsoft-owned-and-operated system, users can run enterprise workloads in the cloud; build, modify and distribute scalable applications with minimal on-premises resources; perform large-volume storage, batch processing, intense or large-volume computations; and create, test, debug and distribute Web services.

For example, from a management perspective, Greschler said, "Microsoft System Center can, from a single pane of glass operations manager, manage an on-premises virtualized cloud, a third-party hosted virtualized cloud and Azure. You can just watch it all.

"For a development perspective, you can take .NET apps-virtualized or not-and you can obviously run them as you always have, but you can also move them into Azure.  A lot of people think Azure is just about new apps, which is really how VMware is positioning their platform. Ours is very different."

Microsoft understands that data centers are going to have a mix of on-premises, third-party hosters and public cloud applications. "We want to make it completely seamless between them," Greschler said.

Microsoft is extending improved identity and security software and services out to the cloud as well, Greschler said.

"What we wanted to make clear to customers [in the open letter] that: a) we've got a very strong connection between virtualization and cloud; and b) we've got a cloud that's out there [in Azure]. What they're [VMware] really just talking about is virtualization."

Microsoft questions scalability, elasticity in VMware cloud

Just taking your application and moving it into a VM running somebody else's service isn't giving you any of the benefits of the cloud, Neil told eWEEK.

"It won't give you that scalability or elastic behavior for applications that have capabilities to take advantage of that," Neil said.

"Here's the real stark contrast," Greschler said. "Why is virtualization so popular? Server consolidation; much easier to do business continuity; rapid provisioning. Look at those benefits in the context of a public cloud: To get server consolidation-forget it. We're talking about server elimination. Don't worry about servers anymore. Business continuity? With virtualization business continuity, you still have to set up your network, etc. ... and that's where VMware is still talking.

"What we're talking about with Azure is: Put it on our network-we have data centers all over the world-and it just runs. There's always the battle of live migration, vMotion, blah, blah, blah ... those issues go away with a real public cloud," Greschler said. "And costs, also, tied to all that."

Microsoft has more than 10,000 customers currently running their applications on Azure, Greschler said.

Many people would call that vendor lock-in.

"We wanted to remind everybody that the vision they're [VMware] sort of spinning but don't really have, we've already got today, and it's available now," Greschler said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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