Windows Azure Key Tool in Microsoft Battle to Enlist Cloud Developers
Meanwhile, Guthrie said, Microsoft is in a good place: It's early in the game in the cloud space and Microsoft is just beginning to differentiate itself. "The biggest thing for us is, with the things like BizTalk and Active Directory, it shows us getting very pointy with a particular audience," Guthrie said. "We're getting to a point where we have these really differentiated services. Active Directory is in 93 percent of all Fortune 1000 companies, and you can now easily use it in the cloud and integrate your security. That's a hugely differentiated capability. Likewise, the integration capability that we have is something that Amazon has not gone after; it's not something that Google I think will ever go after." Moreover, when asked how Windows Azure today jibes with what former Microsoft Software Architect Ray Ozzie envisioned when he championed the technology during his tenure at the company, Guthrie said that in hindsight, Microsoft would probably release an IaaS at the same time. Microsoft initially delivered Azure as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering. "I think one of the things that I think Ray was very farsighted on is the desire that customers have around the power of more platform as a service, and having more managed services that you're not having to, as a developer, maintain, patch, tweak and operate, and that just work," he said. "I think that is something that all cloud vendors are starting to pursue.""And one of things that we've seen since we released our infrastructure as a service—I think Satya [Nadella, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group] has been quoted as saying at least 20 percent of our compute is now IaaS—is both the desire of companies that want to be able to reuse their existing code or the flexibility that it gives you as an on-ramp," Guthrie said.
However, at the time when Ozzie was evangelizing it—Windows Azure first went public in early 2008—that was a very farsighted thing, Guthrie said. Among the things the company looked at was where the market was going to be six or seven years from the introduction of Windows Azure.