Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

Summary: Just over a month ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent a memo to a few key execs inside the company, asking them when Microsoft was going to be "all in" with the cloud and moving its own, internally-developed apps there. Here's the Microsoft CIO's game plan for doing so.

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Just over a month ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent a memo to a few key execs inside the company, asking them when Microsoft was going to be "all in" with the cloud and moving its own, internally-developed apps there.

What did one of those e-mail recipients, CIO Tony Scott, tell SteveB? He made it clear it was a top priority, and that as many as 85 percent to 90 percent of the company's internal apps would be cloud based five to ten years from now.

It's not surprising Microsoft is using its own cloud products, including Windows Azure and the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) of products inside the company. But what is surprising is how quickly Microsoft is converting to the cloud.

Microsoft started its internal cloud conversion by creating a framework that took into account three questions, Scott told me this week at TechEd. The three:

1. What are the capabilities in our offerings? What's our roadmap? 2. Which of our applications can be moved most easily? Which are already state-separated? Which can be virtualized? Which are not worth moving to the cloud? 3. What's the business impact of moving each application to the cloud? (low/medium/high)

Microsoft moved its first internal application -- its Giving Campaign auction tool -- to Windows Azure a year ago. It has moved a couple of other internal apps as well. But the first big challenge will be to move the company's licensing app to the cloud, Scott said.

Microsoft's licensing application keeps track of all of its customers' licensing agreements, so it is mission-critical. It also is a legacy application -- it was developed back when Microsoft only had one product to keep track of (DOS 1.0), and has grown somewhat haphazardly since. Currently, it's a collection of about 60 different applications, most of which "are not suitable for us to move to Azure," Scott said. The licensing application is six months into a redesign, Scott said, and has another year and a half to go to completion. When it's done, it will be a cloud-hosted application.

Moving internally developed applications to Azure is only part of Scott's charter, however. He's also moving more and more of Microsoft's 90,000 employees to Microsoft's own hosted application suite, known as the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

"Today at Microsoft, every employee runs in a BPOS-D (Dedicated, i.e., private) environment," said Scott. The only difference between the BPOS-D Microsoft employees use and the BPOS-D Microsoft sells to its customers is Microsoft's internal version includes dogfood versions of still-yet-to-be-released services, he said.

"All new application development inside Microsoft will be designed for the cloud," Scott said. "Architecturally, it's easier to start with the cloud in mind" than having to retrofit an on-premises app to run on the cloud, he said.

There is a set of internal applications that won't be moved to the cloud, as there's no business case for it, Scott acknowledged. "There will always be some applications that are end-of-life," he said. But that's only 5 percent to 10 percent of the total, he said.

Scott's team is the biggest customer for both BPOS and Azure. He and his colleagues give lots of constant feedback to the teams. I asked what his biggest pain points were.

"They (Azure and BPOS) ave both been focusing on how to make these things run," Scott said. "But CIOs still want to have operational metrics. Is the system up? Is it satisfying customer demand? We give them a lot of input on that."

Scott said he's also been focused on creating development methodologies, operational practices and protocols and a lot of project management documentation around Microsoft's move to the cloud.

Topics: Cloud, CXO, Collaboration, Microsoft, Windows

About

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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  • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

    Yes, he?s also been focused on creating development methodologies, operational practices and protocols and a lot of project management documentation around Microsoft?s move to the cloud.
    angel tenan
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      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        Those entities typically don?t sell patents that read on a technology as essential as LTE [Long-Term Evolution communications standard].?
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        It will have to continue to buy up smaller quantities of patents from failed startups and similar kinds of sellers.
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        qualitative terms anytime soon.
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        negotiating table. I?m afraid it won?t get a similar opportunity in quantitative
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        major bargaining chip that would strengthen it at the mobile industry?s intellectual property
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        However, Mueller said he believed that ?Google lost an unprecedented opportunity to acquire
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        Mueller acknowledged that merely by purchasing Nortel?s patent portfolio, Google couldn?t have solved
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        device makers, in addition to HTC, are already paying royalties on Google?s Android to Microsoft
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        royalties to dozens of right holders. Just this week Microsoft announced that three more Android
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        infringement lawsuits surrounding Android and makers of Android-based devices have to pay
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        No major industry player is as needy in terms of patents as Google. There are already 45 patent
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        outbid everyone else, especially in light of its recent patent issues around Android.
        Ndusel
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

        Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst and blogger, said he found it surprising Google didn?t
        Ndusel
    • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

      @angel tenan After all these years you should know that M$ promises high and delivers low, if it bothers to deliver at all. This is yet another contemptible decision by M$ that demonstrates that its supposed commitment to customers is barely even words.
      Arabalar
      • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

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    • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

      @angel tenan Also, Microsoft has already committed to owning OS updates for WP7. They've adoped a completely new strategy since Windows Mobile. Handset makers and wireless carriers will no longer get to dictate which phones receive OS upgrades. Based on how well Microsoft treated Zune owners over the years.
      Arabalar
    • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

      @angel tenan That is really a big question. Google's servers are the heart of Google's business. And it has long been a FEATURE, a FEATURE, not a LOOPHOLE, that one could privately modify the GPL code they use to run their business. Of course web applications are obviously SaaS. But where does one draw the line between those applications and the servers that host them? For example, take an insurance company running open source on their back end servers. At some point they decide to put a customer facing front end on those servers so that customers can access their accounts over the Net. Does that suddenly make that whole kaboodle Saas? If so, I am not sure I am comfortable with AGPL. In fact, I am not sure I am comfortable with this concept anyway since it undercuts one of the few provisions that make GPL software highly attractive to businesses that are not engaged in reselling the software itself. It really compromises the spirit of the GPL in some ways.
      arabaoyunlari@...
  • RE: Microsoft: We'll be running 85 to 90 percent of our apps in the cloud this decade

    all of Android?s patent issues in one fell swoop.
    Ndusel