Those in charge have told Microsoft that the corporation is now changing directions. Much like what happened in the early mid-90’s with Internet technology, the company has been told to change or become less relevant in the future. And this is why you will see more and more of “cloud” being pushed by Microsoft.
Staff are being brought into seminars to learn about what “cloud” means. I wonder what definition they’ll use because there is not one accepted definition; every marketer has branded it the way that best represents the products that their company (or favourite company) sells.
Product is changing. There is an Office online. It’s even being integrated into Skydrive and Hotmail. Azure and MS Online Services (BPOS) is being pushed in a big way – it’s the only thing the local office wants to talk about anymore. System Center is moving towards cloud computing too – we’ll start to get a taste of that in v.Next in 2011 but I suspect 2013 will see direct integration, e.g. ConfigMgr child sites that live in MS Online Services. And we already have heard that VMM v.Next probably will have the ability to move virtual machines from managed hosts and up into a new VM hosting service in Azure. I’ve no idea whether Windows 8 will be going this way. I suspect those going to TechEd in Berlin will be the first in the general public to hear about it.
Yes, I know, only the small organizations will put everything in the cloud and that not everything is appropriate. However, one can argue that even the Fortune 100’s can put some stuff in the cloud or leverage from Software-as-a-Service products. The big worry is reliability. Will the product change and become not what you wanted? You have no control over version upgrades of cloud services. Will the service provider liquidate and take your data with them? There is a certain amount of lock-in with SaaS and it’s very difficult to move between rival products. Will they hike prices as soon as there is a dependency on them? In Ireland and many other less developed countries, the network infrastructure often isn’t there to be able to be a cloud company. Outside of the major cities and towns, there is no broadband; only unreliable wireless/3G connectivity which is sometimes lucky to give you a 20KBPS transmission rate.
In reality, there will be a blend of on premises and cloud computing services in mid to large companies.
What I can confirm is: just like that first keynote at MMS (with 80+ mentions of the cloud in 82 minutes), all MS will want to talk to you about is cloud computing.