Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

Summary: Celebrated Windows expert Mark Russinovich has joined the Windows Azure team. For the past three years, Technical Fellow Russinovich has been working on Windows.


Celebrated Windows expert Mark Russinovich has joined the Windows Azure team.

Microsoft Technical Fellow Russinovich is considered one of the foremost experts — inside or outside Microsoft — on the inner workings of Windows. He was the cofounder (in 1996) of Winternals Software  — a company which Microsoft acquired in 2006. He also cofounded Sysinternals.com, for which he’s written dozens of Windows utilities, including Filemon, Regmon, Process Explorer, Rootkit Revealer and more. Prior to that, Russinovich was a resarcher at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center, specializing in operating-system support for Web-server acceleration.

For the past three years, Russinovich has been working on the Windows Core Operating Systems Division (COSD) team. In that position, he spent a lot of time working on architectural best practices, which included the creation of an architectural “constitution” which outlines the layers in Windows (along with the functionality in each layer) and guidance on application-programming interface (API) design.

I found out about Russinovich's new role via a tweet from Microsoft developer evangelist Matthijs Hoekstra. Hoekstra was one of many Microsoft employees attending the company's internal TechReady conference in Seattle this week who managed to cram into Russinovich's presentation there. Another tweet, from Softie Srinam Krishnan, revealed that Russinovich has joined the Azure team within the past month.

I've asked Microsoft for more about what Russinovich will be doing on Windows Azure, but have yet to hear back.

A number of operating-system heavyweights are already working on Windows Azure. The team -- back when Azure was known by its "Red Dog" codename -- originally was comprised of a number of long-time Windows experts from COSD and other parts of the company. The father of NT, Dave Cutler, was one of the Windows Azure founding members and is still working on the virtualization and other components of the core Windows Azure operating system.

At the end of 2009, Microsoft folded the Azure team into the Server and Tools business and combined the teams. Microsoft is "leading with the cloud," going forward, meaning it is going to try to get customers and partners to adopt its cloud offerings rather than on-premises alternatives. But will cloud economics add up in both Microsoft's -- and its customers -- favor?

Topics: Windows, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


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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  • Mark Russinovich is one cool dude

    Nowadays it's harder to appreciate the things you've listed about Mark since they don't impact me day to day (though I understand the value he's adding to internal MS team). But what I can say is that the utilities Mark has written (SysInternals.com) are often indispensable.

    As for Dave Cutler. Ok, so he really likes C and worked on VMS for DEC. Back when I did software development I didn't readily appreciate his viewpoint(s).

    • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now


      Obviously, the Japanese laws are different from the USA laws. I'd be interested in seeing where this goes, but I doubt Microsoft will see any satisfactory resolution. I can't imagine the Google-Yahoo deal was made in a political/legal vacuum. Not a good thing for Bling in Japan, I gather.
  • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

    Overall, I think companies will be reluctant to adopt a "cloud strategy" at first because of privacy and security concerns. Over time, as the technologies behind the cloud prove themselves, I think we'll see more and more large corporations moving to the cloud services such as Microsoft offers. Microsoft is positioning itself to be a leader in these offerings.

    Moving Russinovich on this team means they're either very serious about making sure their cloud capabilities are as solid and stable as possible, or they're having troubles now getting their cloud working right and need help.

    Of course, we won't know which. Nothing is ever as easy as you'd think, and I'm sure the scaling and other issues involved in getting the cloud working right are tough. Especially if Microsoft hasn't really done the heavy-duty virtualization work that companies like VMWare have been doing for years (yes, I know about the Microsoft Virtual products, but are they on-par with the VMWare stuff?).

    My guess is that Azure isn't all Microsoft needs it to be (at the moment), and Russinovich's move there is to help them get to where they want to be. Will they get there? I'm sure they will. Will the economics add up? I think so, eventually. I think we're going to find that in a few years, very few companies will be able to afford *not* to be on the cloud.
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  • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

    Anyone who adopts MS's cloud services and gets locked in to MS controlled Net services will:
    Regret it.
    Be over paying for it for years.
    Be at a competitive disadvantage to others within the next few years.
    • HAHAHAAHAA what total crap

      they are so far ahead of amazon and google its not even funny. their competitive ADvantage is huge over iaas and priced on par. no regrets.
      Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

      I'm the CTO of a company who's core product runs on Azure and I have to agree with Johnny Vegas. Amazon looks like a decent platform. We used to run on Rackspace. Google is not even a contender. The Azure platform crushes all of them and some parts are actually cheaper.
    • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

      @kpbpsw Wow. What an ignorant post. No wonder there's not a single substantiating fact backing it.
      - Windows Azure (their PaaS offering) supports full Java & PHP as well as .NET & ASP.NET
      - Their cloud database offerings include both ultra-scalable data storage as well as relational SQL storage
      - Microsoft Online Services (their SaaS offering) provides hybrid on-prem/hosted services for at least Exchange, Sharepoint, and Communications (might be more)
      - Fully managed Virtual Machine hosting-as-a-service was announced at the beginning of the year for the IT control freak
      - Azure Appliances provides a upgrade/update/patch-managable version of Windows Azure in corporation's backyards

      As strong as their services are, I'm trying to figure out how AmazonWS is going to match Microsoft's breadth of managed offerings. They've got robust storage & VM support and good scale automation but no real PaaS or SaaS. I think they're the only real contender to Microsoft at this point with the power & experience to back it.

      Meanwhile, it's clear that Google's ass-backward offering isn't going anywhere other than to web startups with no capital, supporting only Python & an oddly rudimentary subset of Java . (Seriously - Who are they targetting anyway?)

      If anything. Salesforce's Force.com is the TRUE 'lock in' vendor with their proprietary language & tools, online services-only solution with virtually no data-extraction tools in the event you want to return to managing the solution in your own datacenter. "Force.com: We want you for life" should be a bumper sticker on Marc Benioff's Ferrari.
    • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

      @kpbpsw yeah they know they can lock you in on a long contract and keep it rolling over. Especially with the setup costs of switching provider.
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  • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

    I have always been a fan of Mark Russinovich. I'm glad that, it would be a calculative move. Eager to see, what new he brings in to Azure.!<br><br>Must mention, the Core OS team had done a fantastic job with Windows 7.<br><br>Cheers'<br>Vijay | MS-MVP<br>Weblog: <a href="http://www.msigeek.com/">http://www.msigeek.com/</a>
  • Maybe Ballmer is not so dumb after all

    He made MSFT king of the enterprise in a decade. Maybe MSFT should have a 2nd CEO in charge of consumer software as that is def not Ballmer's area.
  • MSFT must find the missing link

    See following for my post
  • MSFT must find the missing link

    I have been wondering ever since I first heard of "AZURE", and since then of MSFT's problems trying to get a foothold in the consumer space where Apple seems to be leading, Why is this so hard for MSFT to do?<br><br>First a disparity:<br><br>Where as Microsoft seems to "OWN" the Enterprise market, that has not helped MSFT shares from hovering at a very low price/ share. Where a Apple's stock is soaring at $256/share<br><br>A missing link:<br><br>Microsoft's developing products and services are so varied and so many that a popular ZDNet is a spreadsheet that is updated with the many changes needed to understand where Microsoft is with their projects.<br> <br>It seems clear to me now. MSFT has a missing link between it's Windows Server products, it's new Cloud offerings (AZURE) and Windows Phone 7, and pretty much everything else it is doing.<br><br>Time is of the essence:<br><br>MSFT seems to learn from Apple's success in the consumer devices market. They will soon release an iPad killer. They are releasing Windows Phone 7. Ok, good. Is that it? By then Apple will have moved on, and so will everyone else. <br><br>MSFT must learn from Apple's business and marketing sense as well. Also, a page from Facebook and Google's success would do nicely, also.<br><br>Visibility:<br><br> The AZURE platform is awesome. But if relatively few know that, then it does not matter. If many, many more people could see it in action then it would be more widely adopted. <br><br>Their problem is how to make such a high quality offering available to the masses for little or nothing. That is how Google and Facebook have been able to take their Market share. That is their key, the masses. <br><br>More than just a good device:<br><br>If MSFT made an awesome Windows Phone 7, one with a 5 megapixel camera, TouchScreen, H.264 capable and doubles as a WIFI hot spot( like the DRIOD). Then great.<br><br>But what makes the iPhone such a big success for Apple is the APPS. Can AZURE be made to offer the kind of access to content and businesses services that would make any business person who needed mobility "want to kill" for it?<br><br>Can the missing link be found?<br><br>MSFT has no equivalent to Apple's App Store.<br><br>One key for Apple, is not so much their profits but profit of those who develop Apple Store APPs. The Apple APP Store has now payed out some 7 billion dollars! 7 billion dollars! If I am a business person, I am thinking, "Wow, I want in on that." <br><br>What better way than to bridge MSFT's Enterprise products and Windows Phone 7 than to build into Windows Phone 7 access to MSFT's AZURE applications and services, in a way that you cannot access with any other device. <br><br>That is the missing link. There is then only one question. <br><br>Will MSFT, can MSFT make the AZURE platform, applications and services marketable to the masses using Windows Phone 7 as one of it's main vehicles for driving it?
  • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

    I'd seen a blog post from the Azure team a while back saying that Azure will indeed be offering a cloud virtual server solution (Amazon currently does this already & Azure does not), where you can have a Windows Server VM that you can install whatever you want onto it in addition to the current lineup of largely web-service based offerings.

    I can easily see Russinovich being part of the team that will be optimizing Windows Server for that role.

    edit: I just noticed that bruinsensei mentioned the VM hosting above
  • RE: Look who's on the Microsoft Azure team now

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