Is Microsoft's cloud view realistic?

Everyone talks a good game when looking into cloud computing's future but Microsoft has a unique point of view--especially unique since it includes open source operating systems and software. Realistic? Yes.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I've read and heard much rhetoric surrounding transforming the data center. It all sounds really good. Much of it is pure buzzword-laden, how shall I say this appropriately, nonsense. Yes, nonsense is a good substitute for what I was really wanting to write. Microsoft is a technology company that sells products and services worldwide. It is also a strong marketing company—everyone seems to know that. But Microsoft is not just a bag of hot air. At some point, a company that only sells hype would have to "put up or shut up," which Microsoft has done. Hype doesn't last for almost 30 years. Microsoft is actually in the process of transforming the data center and it knows just how to do it: by embracing all technologies. Its view of cloud and cloud technologies is realistic and I can prove it.

Yes, I know it's hard for some of you to believe it but it's true. Microsoft knows that it's a heterogenous world out there. It knows that it's a heterogenous data center in here. What you might not know is that Microsoft fully embraces interoperability.

Yes, publicly.

Likewise, privately.

I know that many of you have a problem of one type or another with Microsoft. I also know that a large percentage of you love Microsoft. You can't please everyone but I'd have to say that Microsoft is really trying to do just that with its new flagship operating system, Windows Server 2012.

But how can I make such an assertion after so many years of Microsoft's Linux bashing, patents, lawsuits, and battles against all things not Microsoft?

Microsoft is transforming. That's how.

Ten years ago, I wouldn't have made that same assertion. As you might know, I'm a Linux evangelist, open source writer, Wintel admin, Apple convert, and many other things. But I've never been one to mince words or take the path of least resistance when it comes to my IT career. I'm known, on the job and off, for my brutal honesty, for my quick wit, my ability to filter through the "nonsense", and for always giving my best effort to a problem. I digress.

From what I've observed, Microsoft's view of cloud is realistic. From its understanding of data center heterogeneity to creating cloud-based applications such as Office 365 to developing new operating systems that have cloud services built into them, it has proven itself to be a formidable cloud computing company.

The significance of Microsoft's "revelation" that the data center is heterogeneous can't be passed over without comment. I think that, for many years, Microsoft saw itself as the unwelcomed cohabitor of UNIX in the world's data centers. UNIX folk had the old, "There goes the neighborhood" attitude with Microsoft's mid-range servers taking up rackspace and floor space in the once holy UNIX-dominated data centers. Once Microsoft became a major business force, its data center occupancy was accepted and embraced, albeit still somewhat begrudgingly. As Microsoft's popularity in the data center grew, I think it decided that it should be the only resident in those alternating hot and cold aisles. However, the UNIX fans and open source nerds believed differently.

All parties made their points and have learned to live alongside each other in an almost peaceful fashion. Apart from the holdout religious zealots, we've all learned to get along. We've learned to tolerate each other and to work together. Microsoft gained a new, realistic view of the data center and has been a primary force in its transformation. 

To Microsoft, I say, "Well done." Now it's time to get busy on those virtual desktops.

What do you think about Microsoft's new heterogeneous data center tolerance and acceptance? Do you think that they've matured into this newfound attitude or do you think they were forced into it? Talk back and let me know.

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