Microsoft's Cloud Chief on Windows Azure, Tools and More

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-02-05 Print this article Print

Speaking of Erich Gamma [a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer], how does "Monaco" hit you as a developer? [Monaco is the codename for a subset of Visual Studio that works in modern browsers.]

I think there are a couple scenarios for Monaco. One is the technology that Erich's built, I love the fact that it's designed to be pluggable. If you look at the editor, if you look at where we've used it, we've actually used some of the technology already with Windows Azure Mobile Services, which also has a browser-based editing experience inside the Windows Azure portal. It doesn't let you edit .NET code but it allows you to edit Node.js code. The cool thing is the way he built it it's pluggable and we were able to use it with Windows Azure Mobile Services, and SharePoint has been using it. And as it gets richer and richer there will be more kinds of scenarios you can light up.

In the next evolution of it where now he's integrated source control, he's enabling much richer IntelliSense and refactoring support directly inside the browser, which is pretty darn cool.

In terms of use cases, why would I use Monaco editor versus Visual Studio IDE? I think a lot of it depends. If I want to do a quick code edit change and I'm on a machine that doesn't have Visual Studio installed, it's super useful to go in and make a change, and push it live. So I think for a lot of professional developers that already have Visual Studio, having that ability from any device to quickly make a code change will be very useful.

I think also it's going to let us reach an even broader audience of people that don't have Visual Studio or frankly don't even use Windows. And now we've got an IDE you can use on the Mac without having to run Windows VM. You can use it on your tablet. And that’s going to start to push as the Team Foundation Service and Visual Studio Online gets richer on all the other things that Brian showed. And you can host inside Azure having Visual Studio that only requires the browser to work is going to become more and more of a core asset for us.

What are some of the highlights for Windows Azure for 2013?

It's been quite a ride and we're not done yet. It's nice, basically about every three weeks we have a new major release of Windows Azure. It's fun to be on this rapid cycle and the pace is increasing as opposed to slowing, which is nice.

In terms of highlights for this year there have been a lot. Our Infrastructure as a Service offering going GA [general availability] is a big one, all the networking capabilities that we've shipped, including the announcements around private fiber and direct connect support including support for MPLS at Equinix and AT&T is big. We've announced six new regions including China, Japan and Australia–two in each of those. And entering China for us is a major initiative. We're the first cloud provider to do it. We also announced our federal government regions (another two there). We've shipped Web Sites, we've shipped Mobile Services, we introduced autoscaling, we introduced monitoring support, BizTalk services, the MSDN dev test offer, we've done Active Directory, and we also added the SaaS management capabilities to it. And we introduced our distributed cache service. We also shipped our Hadoop offering.

The part that I feel the most gratified about is that if people asked what you were working on and you said Windows Azure they might say "what is that?" But it's different now. Like if you go to Silicon Valley or to San Francisco which has not traditionally been a Microsoft fan base, people are aware of Azure and what we're doing. I was at a New Relic event in San Francisco and it was great to sit down with people who didn't know Microsoft and have them open the conversation with what's going on with Azure and how we're giving AWS a run for their money.

People are saying we're clearly the No. 2 and we're gaining like crazy. We still have a very healthy respect for our competitors. And we're going to stay humble and very focused on pleasing our customers.


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