Foresight is a gift some folks have so when our executives decided to give the go ahead to plunder a few billion in building out some datacenters a couple of years back, many of us looked on thinking “what the….” Those datacenters house Microsoft’s cloud services such as Microsoft Online, Bing and Azure and it’s the latter of these services that is now starting to stretch its legs and make more sense to people. Ray Ozzie was one of those who saw over the horizon and predicted the shift to the cloud and in hindsight, those datacenters and Red Dog (which came to be known as Azure) may well be considered a stroke of genius when we look back in a few years.
Azure in particular has now really started to come on to its own of late and just today was named the fastest and most reliable cloud provider in a post by the New York Times. There are now over 10,000 customers using Azure which isn’t bad for a platform that has been commercially available for only 6 months. There are some impressive customers too – Aer Lingus, Domino’s Pizza, 3M and Outback Steakhouse. The latter used Azure to give them scale on demand for a campaign they were running on Facebook. Even inside Microsoft, Azure is big news - I spent this afternoon chatting with Lili Cheng who runs FUSE Labs about how every project they build is on Azure. Not because they work in Ozzie’s team – nope, simply because it gives them an unmatched agility to create things like Docs.com and the social services you see on Bing. I’ll be covering that in more detail in a future post.
Whilst we’re on scale, check out this post via Marc Andreessen on scaling a company. That you can concentrate on whilst Azure scales your infrastructure