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Microsoft on Cloud Standards: Innovate, Commoditize and then Standardize

If you're wondering where Microsoft stands with cloud standardization efforts such as OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, the general manager for Microsoft Azure gave his take, saying providers should innovate first. In the keynote address at this week's Cloud Computing Expo Conference in New York, Microsoft's Steven Martin questioned providers that have emphasized the development of cloud standards.

"I think we can agree, you have to innovate, then commoditize and then you standardize," Martin said. "When you attempt to standardize first and say 'I want you as vendors, customers and partners, to get together and agree on a single implementation that we're all going to use for years and years and years to come,' the only thing I know for sure is that you're going to stifle anything meaningful being accomplished for years."

The remarks are clearly a veiled reference to major IT providers offering public cloud services such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Rackspace, along with VMware, which is pushing its Cloud Foundry effort. Amazon, Microsoft and Google have the largest cloud infrastructures. According to a report in The New York Times Thursday, Amazon and Google both have 10 million servers in their public clouds while Microsoft Azure has 1 million in 12 datacenters today and 16 planned to be operational by year's end. Despite the large footprints none of the big three have pushed running a standard cloud platforms stack.

Martin's statements about standards were rather telling, considering Microsoft has always had little to say publicly about OpenStack and Cloud Foundry. While Microsoft has participated in OpenStack working groups and has made Hyper-V-compatible in OpenStack clouds, the company has never indicated either way whether it sees its Azure cloud ever gaining some OpenStack compatibility, either natively or through some sort of interface.

 "The best thing about cloud technology is in addition to the data, in addition to the access, is the market gets to decide," he said. "The market will pick winners and losers in this space, and we will continue to innovate." Asked after his session if he sees Microsoft ever supporting OpenStack, Martin reiterated that "we'll let the market decide."

Not long ago, one might have construed that as Microsoft talking up its proprietary platforms. However Martin was quick to point out that Microsoft Azure treats Linux like a first-class citizen. "Microsoft will use the technologies that make sense and contribute them back to the public," he said." What will matter is going to be the value that people generate, and how strong and robust the systems are, and the service level agreements you can get."


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/13/2014 at 11:14 AM


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