Today, VMware, as part of the larger “Pivotal” unveil, announced yet another zig in their already zig-zaggy set of strategy meets tactics meets marketing buzzwords. Today’s news of a vague “hybrid cloud” future is just another example of how IT vendors have been rearranging the furniture to more effectively deliver what they already have on the shelf. First it was cloudwashing their virtualization solution, which begat the “vTax.” Then a “Software defined datacenter.” There is the puzzling Cloudfoundry (this one or this one?). Recently the virt vendor has been tossing around big data as a problem area they can solve. And it hasn’t been clear whether a public cloud is part of a roadmap or not — today, it would seem so through the hodgepodge of bundling and betas that customers can decode – unlike, say, last week.
It is no secret that IT departments are facing a complex set of decisions. The financial crisis forced IT worldwide to hold off on significant infrastructure investments. Now, whether purse strings are loosening or not, new business models in our always-on world, the ferocious growth of mobile devices, and the resulting cascade of data apply pressure to adapt like never before. In IT, everything is changing: storage, networking, the importance of data, even the way applications are built.
Enter the new buzzwords and hot topics. When new memes get tossed around, vendors want to stay in the conversation. That’s understandable. But if I were a VMware customer, I’d be asking myself – do I really want to place my bets – and the future of my IT department — on a vendor that can’t decide what it wants to be as the cloud grows up?
Experience versus Experiments
Since we run massive public cloud services (Xbox Live, Hotmail/Outlook.com, Office 365, Bing), Microsoft has first-hand experience in what it takes to operate a cloud. In the 10 minutes or so that it takes to read this blog, we’ve served up 5 million Windows Azure Active Directory logins and 250,000 call minutes on Skype. This month Bing handled almost 6 billion queries and — based on my own experience at home –the lives of countless legions of teenagers hang in the balance on Xbox Live every evening immediately after dinner is over and homework is complete. Does VMware – really, a self-professed virtualization company – know and have what it takes to deliver real cloud services or to help with data explosion?
Why does this matter? Everything we learn from running enormous datacenters and online services at global scale goes into the software our customers buy. That’s what takes our Cloud OS vision into specific cloud deployments you can start today.
The Truth about Big Data
And our experience isn’t just with the underlying platform. As part of the Cloud OS, we have a data solution trusted by more companies around the world than any other. And big data? We’re already there. In reality it’s not about “big data,” but about big data, small data, any data, all of which is pointless if you spend all your time collecting the data and not enough of it getting the insights from the data. The volume and velocity of data make it inconsumable unless you have the right tools. When we talk about data, it’s the time to insight that makes for competitive advantage.
With Microsoft, you get one consistent platform for your infrastructure, applications and data. And you get to decide where you want to extend this platform to – any combination of your datacenter, your hosting service provider or a Microsoft datacenter running Windows Azure. This is not some distant vision or the mere relabeling of what’s sitting on our shelves – we are bringing this to life with features that customers (like Avanade and Munder Capital Management) are deploying today.
Don’t get dizzy watching the V-strategies roll. I invite you to learn more about the unique advantages of the Cloud OS and what Microsoft can offer.