Microsoft: Cloud need only be open surface, not open source

Microsoft: Cloud need only be open surface, not open source

Summary: At Oscon 2011, Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director for Open Source Communities at Microsoft, said as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open, that is, open surface, customers don't care about whether the underlying platform is open source or closed source. Microsoft also announced a new version of Azure SDK for PHP is now available and the company is announcing new tools to cloud enable open source applications for Azure.

SHARE:
18

Microsoft is more open -- at least on the surface -- and that's all that matters in the cloud era, one company exec maintains.
At Oscon 2011, Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director for Open Source Communities at Microsoft,  said as long as the APIs, protocols and standards for the cloud are open,  that is, open surface, customers don't care about the underlying platform.
So, it does not matter that the cloud is built primarily on open source technologies, notably Linux?
"Am I saying that openness doesn't matter in the cloud? No, openness is extremely important [but] I argue that in the cloud the source code is the Terms of Use and the SLA," Rabellino said, referring to service-level agreements."
He coined these terms -- open surface and open core -- to describe a continued commingling -- or a blurring -- of open source and closed source software that lies at the core of the enterprise and the cloud.
Open core, or open source, is the existing model in which core features are open source and value-added proprietary commercial software is built on top of it to monetize the technology.
The open surface model, Microsoft's approach, can be done with APIs, protocols and standards, the Microsoft exec said.  The two models are coming together nicely.
He noted, for example, that PHP and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 run on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform "pretty well" and that Microsoft is working with WordPress, Drupal, Zoomla, Eclipse and other open source projects to ensure interoperability on Azure.****
"This is what's happening in the cloud. the cloud changes a lot of things. the [traditional] yardsticks we had aren't there anymore.  What version of Facebook are you running? it doesn't matter anymore," he noted. "In the cloud, you have all this technology blurring .  Sometimes you don't see them and when you see services , does it matter? Can you tell what stack has been producing JSON or XML feed? No."
Microsoft also announced a new version of Azure SDK for PHP is now available and the company is announcing new tools to cloud enable open source developed applications for Azure.  The company is also working with almost 400 open source projects to ensure interoperability, including an open source project called PHP Cloud Sniffer.
Rabellino, who came to Microsoft from Italy nine months ago, said employees in more than half of Microsoft's 60 buildings in Seattle are working with open source projects.
"We have changed as a company. We have become more open. We want to work with open source comunities," he said.
Microsoft is  a Diamond sponsor of OSCON 2011.
****CORRECTION: Actually, it's PHP and Java that run well on Azure. Microsoft has said it will support Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 on Hyper-V. I regret the errors.

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

18 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Excellent point

    Very insightful. I love the "What version of Facebook are you running". Customers need open protocols, not open source.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

      @facebook@...

      I agree, I couldn't care less about closed / open source. What bugs me is stuff like proprietary cables for devices (hello Apple) and applications saving to proprietary file formats (hello MS). The "open surface" approach seems like a good way to go about it, hopefully this will go beyond just cloud-based products / services.
      OffsideInVancouver
      • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

        @OffsideInVancouver I have never known Apple use a proprietary cable for anything (apart from technology they invented - AppleTalk, Universal Connector, ADB). Now they sometimes choose some pretty obscure standards - but that's a different thing.

        When I look at my Mac a lack of cable standardisation isn't something I see. I do a lack of things (no SD Card reader, no eSATA, nothing so ribald as VGA) but that is quite different.

        It seems "open surface" is a requirement for entry - especially for Microsoft who's "Windows Azure" hasn't exactly set the world alight. They NEED compatibility, if that every changes I'm certain they will "extend" the platform just as they have always done.
        Jeremy-UK
      • Embrace, extend & eschew nonsense

        ?We have changed as a company. We have become more open. We want to work with open source comunities,? he said.

        Firstly this is because they had absolutely no choice about it, having failed in their bids to lobby/contort the legal system to say that all computing shall belong to Microsoft - which would have culminated in their oft-quoted desire to charge as much for their constantly beta software that's forced upon users as the hardware they are purchasing.

        Secondly, they are brushing over the point that they cannot "defeat" FOSS (as is/was their real want) and, as with their Suse/Novell/Whoever dealings, seek merely to be muddying the waters.

        Anything but compete on merit.
        Mark Selby
      • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

        @OffsideInVancouver They've gotten rich and powerful through being proprie<a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/">t</a>ary, which is their motivation. If they could double their profits by stabbing your mom, they would definitely do it.
        alasiri
    • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

      @facebook@...
      And Microsoft is the worst company at adhering to protocols. They modify or make up protocols so that Microsoft only protocols can lock in the customer to their buggy software.

      Sorry, open source is the way to go, whether you like it or not.
      linux for me
      • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

        @linux for me

        Do you have a recent example of this? ActiveX Controls are all but deprecated. Microsoft has committed more code to the linux kernel than Apple or Google has.
        Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

        @Facebook
        What does Apple or Google have to do with anything.

        What specific code did Microsoft commit to Linux kernel?
        daikon
      • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

        facebook@

        MS commited more commits to kernel than Google!

        Not lines of code....

        PS you do not have to be donating code to Linux to be FLOSS friendly, Its more of not suing about your mistical 256 patents, not spreading FUD, etc.
        przemoli
  • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

    In other news, water is wet, bears have been going into the woods with the "Sports Pages".

    Seriously? Microsoft says open source not needed for clouds? Wow, shocking...
    Jeremy-UK
  • Open Cloud Initiative launched this week

    The Open Cloud Initiative (<a href="http://www.opencloudinitiative.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.opencloudinitiative.org/</a>), which launched this week, found essentially the same thing; so long as the interfaces and formats are open, and there are "multiple full, faithful and interoperable implementations" (at least one of which is Open Source) then it's "Open Cloud".
    samjohnston
    • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

      @samjohnston
      Kudos to Open Cloud Initiative.

      Hooah!
      daikon
    • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

      @samjohnston

      I just don't believe that Microsoft will adhere to the principles put forth by the Open Cloud Initiative (found here: http://www.opencloudinitiative.org/principles ). They have yet to follow these principles, so how is the cloud going to make them any different?
      benched42
  • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

    This is actually a surprising response from MS. I'm actually not taking this with a big grain of salt, for once, and it seems MS is being somewhat genuine. I guess they realized that in one way or another they could no longer ignore, or for that matter, destroy the FL/OSS community as they once desired.

    It's, ofcourse, questionable as to whether this will be the case. Knowing MS and it's previous business strategies, the flag may yet change direction in the wind.
    CommonOddity
  • RE: Microsoft: Cloud need only be open at the surface, not open source

    A quote from the article:<br>"in the cloud the source code is the Terms of Use and the SLA,"<br><br>This sounds like its straight from "1984". Seriously, there is code associated with the software running on cloud servers.<br><br>From the article:<br>"Open core, or open source, is the existing model in which core features are open source and value-added proprietary commercial software is built on top of it to monetize the technology.<br><br>This is one model used by successful open-source, software companies to monetize their technology. Another model that has proved successful is to provide services for their open-source technologies. One can also combine the two models.<br><br>Google is an interesting open core cloud service provider with Google Search, Gmail, Google Places, Google Docs, Google Apps and, most recently, Google+ running on their customized distributed Linux servers. And dont forget Google File System, MapReduce, BigTable, etc. Yes, 'open core' fits Google quite nicely too.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • If you can't beat 'em...

    Might as well confuse them with similar sounding terms, right?

    If Microsoft really, truly wants to work with open source communities, they can. Just like IBM, Intel, Google, Red Hat, Canonical, and the hundreds of other companies and thousands of individuals do every day: by making code and releasing it under an open source license.

    Stop trying to muddle up the rules of the game. If you wanna play ball, then play ball.
    Logical Networking Solutions
  • You spelled Joomla wrong

    You spelled the word zoomla and it should be Joomla!.

    Gary Brooks
    http://www.cloudaccess.net
    Joomla Phone support and Enterprise Services
    garyjaybrooks
  • Of course MS would say that..

    They've gotten rich and powerful through being proprietary, which is their motivation. If they could double their profits by stabbing your mom, they would definitely do it.
    Htalk