Look out Amazon: Here comes Microsoft's Cloud OS

Post ImageIf you’ve been following the news about Windows Live Core, also referred to as “Cloud OS”, then today’s article at News.com probably is nothing new. Still, it’s a good overview of what is known thus far:

In addition to making available its existing services, such as mail and instant messaging, Microsoft also will create core infrastructure services, such as storage and alerts, that developers can build on top of. It’s a set of capabilities that have been referred to as a “Cloud OS,” though it’s not a term Microsoft likes to use publicly.

It’s about time.

Just as Windows handles memory management, storage, and other “fundamentals” as Microsoft likes to call them, for your computer, Cloud OS would handle the fundamentals for distributed web apps. Developers can spend less time worrying about how the application will run, and more time building out what the application should do. That’s a win-win for everyone.

The most visible company doing this today is Amazon.com with their web services. Services like S3 for storage and EC2 for computing power are tremendously valuable for developers. As I’ve said before, S3 made a big difference for Podcast Spot, and we’d like to use more services if only they existed.

I know there’s going to be pushback, simply because it’s Microsoft, but I am happy to finally see more news on Cloud OS. I can’t wait until the services are available – competition will explode.

It’s a buzzword, and not a very meaningful one at that, but I think this guy has it right:

IMHO, the cloud is the true Web 3.0 – the distributed, ubiquitous web.

Let the Web 3.0 wars being! Microsoft, Google, Amazon, maybe even Yahoo, all competing to provide the best cloud infrastructure for developers to build amazing applications and experiences on top of.

Read: News.com

7 thoughts on “Look out Amazon: Here comes Microsoft's Cloud OS

  1. You should check what’s already on the market – a cloud OS already exists – it is called AppLogic and, unlike AWS and Microsoft’s project, it is vendor-neutral – you can get services on a utility-basis from multiple providers, or you can run it in your own DC. See http://www.3tera.com for more details.

  2. Thanks for the link.

    The problem with AppLogic and similar services is that they are expensive! Cost needs to scale with usage, which is exactly what AWS and Microsoft do. I can sign up for nothing, and only pay for what I use. With AppLogic, I need to fork out over $1000 USD right off the bat.

    Microsoft’s strategy is particularly interesting – free until you get big, then they’ll work something out with you.

  3. You hit the important point when you noted that the real goal is to build a system that allows developers to focus on building applications and businesses rather than spend time on infrastructure. However, that means more than low entry price. It requires a system that’s easy to adopt and operate.

    Ease of adoption drove many decisions early on in designing AppLogic. We felt we needed to support virtually any piece of Linux software users might throw at the system. From monitoring to streaming, from databases to storage, every piece of software users have thrown at AppLogic has worked. Plus, new users are typically in production in just a few weeks.

    As for ease of operation, last month I demonstrated a fully loaded 460 CPU virtual data center. Engineering didn’t run it – I did – the marketing dweeb. No staff. Just me.

    My point is that cost is relative. The entry point for AppLogic may be $999/mo (today), but for production applications that’s a drop in the operations bucket – dwarfed by labor. We’re focused on what happens to the economics of building web based businesses when labor in operations approaches zero?

  4. Bert, you make some very good points, thanks for that. I suppose there’s a difference between a small company with a number of employees looking for these services (in which case yes, labor does dwarf the cost of infrastructure) and a startup with one or two guys where that may not be the case.

    Ease of adoption is definitely a requirement, and regardless of the price, the system that is easiest to use and integrate will definitely warrant a second look.

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