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5 Reasons why Microsoft may Win the Cloud Game

narayanam_jr
17th Sep 2012
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2012 is the most crucial year for Microsoft as the brand Windows goes through a major revamp. There is skepticism around the new Windows 8 style user experience. Analysts are predicting that the enterprises may not welcome Windows 8 with the same zeal that they had for Windows 7. Windows Server 2012 has also gone through a transformation to be positioned as the Cloud OS. Windows Phone 8 is scheduled to launch in the next couple of months and we may have to wait and watch to see the consumer’s reaction. It is the same with Windows Surface, the new tablet that is expected to take iPad head on. While there is so much of anxiety within the leadership team at Microsoft on how the brand Windows will transition to the next phase, one flavor of Windows has come of its age and, that is Windows Azure. In it’s third version, Windows Azure is all set to capture the market share.  Microsoft has some unique advantages when it comes to the Cloud business. Here are 5 reasons why I think Microsoft will be a force to be reckoned within the world of Cloud.

1. Enterprise Footprint – After IBM, it is Microsoft that has the largest footprint in the enterprise. Microsoft repositioned itself as an enterprise player during the early 2000s. SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint and System Center helped Microsoft strengthen its position. Microsoft is well positioned to leverage its relationship with the enterprise CIOs to get them onto Windows Azure. With a successful track record set by SQL Server and SharePoint, there are more chances that the businesses will trust Microsoft when moving their workloads to the Cloud.

2. Hybrid Cloud – Microsoft is the only platform company that has a solid Hybrid story to connect the enterprises with the Cloud. Windows Azure Virtual Network securely connects an organization’s datacenter with Microsoft’s infrastructure. Service Bus is a technology that enables developers to extend the on-premise business logic to the Cloud. SQL Data Sync makes it easy to selectively replicate data between the on-premise SQL Server and SQL Database on the Cloud. Windows Azure Active Directory service brings single sign-on capabilities by authenticating users against an existing corporate directory. Windows Server 2012 comes with Windows Azure Services that can move virtual machines back and forth across the enterprise datacenter and Windows Azure. Microsoft has made it easy for the customers to seamlessly extend database, business logic, and corporate directory to the Cloud.

3. Channel / Reseller Network – It is important to have a strong channel and a reseller network when selling to the small and medium businesses. Over the last 2 decades, Microsoft has built a solid network of resellers that sells to the SMB customers. No other Cloud company has the channel as strong as Microsoft. SMBs trust the resellers for many of their IT investments. By empowering and enabling the channel to sell Cloud to their customers, Microsoft will be able to extend its reach to hundreds of thousands of SMB customers worldwide. Over a period of time, Windows Azure and Office 365 have the potential to become the most trusted Cloud of SMBs.

4. Developers – Though the developers are moving away from .NET to contemporary platforms like Ruby on Rails and Node.js, serious businesses still trust .NET for their line of business applications. There are still many loyal developers that develop on .NET. Windows Azure happens to be the only reliable .NET Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering for the Microsoft developers. The best thing that happened to Windows Azure was to get Scott Guthrie at the helm of things. Scott changed the face of Windows Azure by bringing the Web Sites features that makes it easy to deploy PHP and Node.js applications. Windows Azure is now truly polyglot and supports major languages, runtimes and frameworks. This will attract traditional .NET developers and the geeks from the new age garage startups.

5. PaaS and IaaS Integration – There are many Cloud platforms out there today. Most of them are either IaaS or PaaS offerings. Windows Azure is a unique platform that makes it easy for the developers to get started and then graduate to the next level when needed. Windows Azure Web Sites feature offers a no-touch deployment for the beginners to go live easily. They can then move to Windows Azure Cloud Services to deploy multi-tier applications that demand control over ease of use. Finally, Windows Azure Virtual Machines lets the developers run legacy applications and services that may not fit into the Cloud Services model. Apart from these flexible execution models, Windows Azure has many application services like caching, authentication, databases and object storage. Developers can take advantage of integrated infrastructure (VM), platform (Cloud Services) and application services while developing scalable applications.

These are the reasons why I believe Microsoft has the potential to make it big the Cloud market. Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with me.

- Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor, CloudStory.in

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