Microsoft Shows It Can Play Catch-Up Ball in the Cloud
NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft's announcements at TechEd show the company is finally aligning its product strategy with customer needs and the big trends in cloud computing.NEW ORLEANS—The major innovation Microsoft has brought to the technology business is the ability to play a good game of catch-up ball. From graphic interfaces to email to Web browsers to the entire Internet, the company too often sits out the first innings of big technology shifts, sputters about in the middle innings and finally, finally gets its act together before game's end. While late-innings closers are much valued in baseball and sales, being known as the catch-up king has never won plaudits in the tech space, where being first is valued more than being right. The TechEd event here showed Microsoft at its best in finally aligning the big trends in cloud computing with the needs of its existing customers and coming up with a package of products and services for the cloud computing era. I'll run through some of the main product introductions, but first to the big vision. "Consistency" was the word heard time and again to describe the strategy behind the coupling of on-premise and cloud-based infrastructures. The idea, which would be instantly apparent to any non-techie, is to provide a seamless experience for users and administrators wherever the computing resources reside.
You might think this is simple, but it isn't. The current state of the art has tech administrators shuttling between four to five consoles as they juggle on-premise resources and various cloud providers. That juggling and trying to balance and secure resources are what make the concept of hybrid on-premise computing infrastructure coupled to off- premise cloud resources attractive yet largely unreachable. Ending this cloud console shuttle is a major goal of many tech vendors, but Microsoft has taken the mission to heart with the greatest fervor.