Is Microsoft's Cloud OS actually a Cloud DB?

Is Microsoft's Cloud OS actually a Cloud DB?

Summary: What, exactly, is Microsoft's Cloud OS? Is it an operating system (OS) at all? Or is more of a database (or two) in the Blue/CloudDB sky?

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft officials have used "Cloud OS" as shorthand to refer to the Windows Live Core, or the platform that will power Microsoft's current and forthcoming datacenter-based family of services.

But what, exactly, is Microsoft's Cloud OS? Is it an operating system (OS) at all?

Microsoft officials have used the "Cloud OS" nomenclature to refer to Microsoft's services platform. But more recently, Microsoft -- like archrival Google -- is starting to attempt to backtrack, claiming that there is no such thing as a Cloud OS.

Obviously, there is something substantial under development by the Microsoft all-star Windows Live Core team. (You don't put folks like Windows NT father Dave Cutler on a team if it has small ambitions.)

Microsoft officials have declined repeated questions about what the Windows Live Core is, other than to say it is a platform for running current and future services.

Fortunately, other sources in and around the company aren't quite so gun-shy. Based on various comments by sources who've requested anonymity, here's my best attempt at piecing together Microsoft's evolving cloud strategy.

First off, from what I am hearing, Cloud OS is a project that Microsoft is planning to deliver in phases. Currently, Microsoft's expanding family of datacenter servers that power its various Windows Live, Office Live and other online services are running Windows Server.

In the initial phases of its Cloud OS rollout, sources say, Microsoft is looking to build atop Windows Server and create a distributed technology layer, or platform, that will handle the back-end chores required by users, partners and service providers.

There are a number of elements of this distributed layer, my sources claim, including at least two different databases. One of these is known as the Cloud database; the other as Blue/Cloud. CloudDB is a file-system-based storage system, sources say; Blue is a hosted version of SQL Server under development by the SQL Server team, they claim. Microsoft is planning to roll out Blue to a very limited set of customers/partners, starting in 2008, the sources say. From what I can tell, "Blue" also seems to refer to the query processor that builds on top of the cheap, file-system-based storage enabled by CloudDB.

(Microsoft also is known to be working on one or more Live storage service(s), that will allow users to store their photos, videos and other data "in the cloud." But this is different from the CloudDB itself.)

Then there is another component in Microsoft's Cloud mix that is code-named "Velocity," which is some kind of distributed application cache designed to improve performance by providing query-processing capabilities across application data. Microsoft's "Harmonica" data-synchronization technology that will allow users to sync information across devices, client-/server-based applications and "the cloud" also seems to fit into the picture, too. (Harmonica, from the little I've heard about that SQL Server team project, is an outgrowth of Microsoft's WinFS Windows File System that the company decided to cut from Vista and Longhorn Server and fold back into the SQL Server team.)

The ultimate goal of Microsoft's Cloud OS team, according to my sources, is to create a distributed network of microkernel-based operating systems. Yes, that does seem to mean that the team's end game is to write a new distributed operating system from scratch. I have absolutely no idea of the tentative timing of such a beast, but I'm sure the due date is likely to be cloudy.

Again, just to be clear: None of this information is confirmed by Microsoft. I'm just trying to fit together the puzzle pieces about which information is starting to circulate.

Anyone have additional details/guesses that might fill in some of the gaps?

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • windows 2010 - Windows as a utility

    That?s Cloud storage, If I look at Amazon, they have first release storage cloud first (S3), computing came latter (EC2). I hope MS follows the same. Live platform & services, all together would live in the Cloud

    ?Cloud storage? hinted in this post?

    kind rgrds
  • Cloud DumB ....

    So in the future everyone will blue screen together
    Reverend MacFellow
    • Is that the same thing as

      A kernel panic screen in OSX? Or the Bomb screen on earlier Macs...?
      John Zern
    • Yes, Cloud DumB

      until Apple tries to copy everything Microsoft has done, again, then people like you will hail it as a great new innovation from Apple.
    • Tell the truth: when was your last bluescreen?

      I use Windows every single day for hours on end. I haven't had a blue screen or any kind of system crash in...I don't remember how long. At least a year or two. If you're experiencing lots of blue screens its either because you're using Windows95 or you're surfing porn sites too much.
      • WRONG

        I use Windows Vita x64 and XP32. I have to reboot probably every 3-4 days or crash. I get a blue screen probably once a month still. It is almost always a driver for something, but all my hardware is pretty generic and high end.
      • Just making declarative statements does no make it so! NT

  • Cloud OS is clear as a bell...

    My rep gave me the lowdown on the whole Cloud OS thing. After I signed several hundred pages of NDAs, my rep went into Powerpoint mode. The Cloud OS is nothing else than the future of Internet computing. While also-rans like Google attempt to deliver Internet applications, Microsoft is actually doing it today via the Cloud OS. The Cloud will tie into Vista and Longhorn Server and offer such unique services such as search and online applications. Written in the ultra-elegant .NET 3.0 framework, these applications will revolutionize communications at a level never before seen. I immediately grabbed pen and signed up for cloud services although the features, release date and functionality are all still to be determined. My rep told me to funnel the money under the auspices of a Premier Support Agreement. In return, my rep took me to dinner at Daniel's Broiler where we toasted the cloud.
    Mike Cox
    • So much for the NDA.....

    • LOL

      One of your better efforts for sure.
      Larry Dignan
    • 8.5

      Ranks up with your best!
    • 9.5 !

      You guys eat at some good places:

      Undeniably the BEST dining 02/20/2007
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]

      Mix well: 100% Prime Steaks broiled as YOU like it...guaranteed WORLD CLASS wine lists Perfect seating for waterfront viewing Add: Attentive & trained staff without intrusion YOUR pace of Service Thoughtful lighting & background music Fair pricing Serves: One to 50...PERFECTLY

      What a place!! 04/20/2006
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]

      It isn't just the food that makes Daniel's worth the trip, the whole experience is great!!

      BRUNCH 11/01/2005
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]


      Best Steak I've Had 05/27/2005
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]

      Wow, that was the best filet mignon I've ever had, and I've had filet mignon at most of the restaurants in town. Yes, I liked it even better than the Met! Daniels should be #1! They cooked my steak perfectly, and even had me cut down the center of the steak to make sure they cooked it to exactly how I wanted it. I've never had a restaurant do that. Go when you can, fast!

      Top Notch 04/15/2005
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]

      I love the Pepercorn steak

      Tops 04/05/2005
      [Poor] [Fair] [Good] [Very Good] [Excellent]

      This is Heaven. I want to come back again sooo Bad!
      Reverend MacFellow
  • 'Cloud OS' is hot air

    like so many other M$ initiatives it will never see the light.
    The Cloud OS could be only Linux.
    Linux Geek
    • Re: The Cloud OS could be only Linux

    • Linux? Wouln't that be CloudBS?

      John Zern
  • My eggs in someone else's basket?

    Doesn't matter either way; its a non-starter for my company. We can't afford to be that reliant (or have our secure data distributed) on someone elses systems.
    • That's why, unlike Google

      you can have it either way with Microsoft. If in the future it makes sense to move some of your apps to hosted mode, you're all set. :)
      • Six of one, half a dozen of the other...

        ... all dozen eggs are in Microsoft's basket, whether they're hosted at their data center or yours.
        • You not speaking of the prior poster's

          concerns... as I read them anyway. Big difference over complete control of your data inhouse and limited control over the web.
          for many sites there are strict policies that govern how data is stored and retained and does not allow for a service provider scenario.
  • MS just likes the rain

    Google should just close it's office in the northwest...nothing to see there. Besides, Googlers hate rain...California is much sunnier and warmer.