Microsoft Windows Azure to open new vistas in cloud space

Written by S Saroj Kumar | Updated: Jan 8 2010, 02:34am hrs
With Merrill Lynch projecting cloud computing growth to touch $95 billion by 2013, global IT giant Microsoft is bracing up for a big stride in this burgeoning IT business space. The firm has set out with a soft launch of Windows Azure Cloud Services operating system (OS) in November, 2009. The new OS is set to open new vistas in cloud space to the application developing community on storage and computing fronts following its commercial launch by January-end, says Microsoft R&D labs interoperability technical strategy team principal architect Vijay Rajagopalan in a chat with FE's S Saroj Kumar. He speaks about how open source and standards interoperability, enabling common compatibility of application softwares like Java. Net and SQL on Azure, would enable Microsoft build a robust cloud model more efficacious than it peers. Excerpts.

How would Windows Azure open new vistas in cloud computing

Windows for Cloud, as it is called, is endowed with full blown RDBMS (relational database management software), encouraging financial clients through their application developers to move all heterogeneous applications on Azure Cloud on pay-as-you-use subscription mode. New vistas could be opened as Azure Cloud is an ala carte model where it allows clients to pick and choose a range of IT services depending on their business requirement. It is too early to review the performance as we launched the product only in November. Its commercial launch is being planned around the month-end.

Does the support for industry standard and collaboration with open source software themes figure as a fallout of EU competition case against Microsoft

I would describe it as a choice of our customers who wish to have a low barrier for entry to various non-Microsoft applications in their system operating environment. The genesis of interoperability springs from the feedback we received from our Fortune 50 clients who always yearned to have unified common enterprise application platform in apposition to the existing heterogenous applications held in siloed servers, storages, softwares and desktop networks. Responding to the feedback, we came up with the technical strategy of the four pillars to address the client enterprise issues. Secondly, the move is to widen the canvass to bring on board non-microsoft application developers like Java and SQL programmers to embrace the Windows Azure.

Will the focus on cloud computing be a self-cannibalising step for Microsoft

Admittedly, that has become the order of the day. Customers opt for reduction of IT resources to manage their business within their set cost limits, forcing IT solutions market players to innovate newer IT business, architecture and infrastructure models. Large enterprises still pin their trust in the captive and third party data centres to run their mission critical applications. Taking cue from here, we envisage a very organic way of growth for cloud setup with an a la carte model that would offer maximum flexibility to a customer in terms of scalability and portability and seamless migration of data and application on a demand basis.

How challenging would it be to evangelise Windows Azure as the best bet on cloud

Firstly, we need to clear the air on the concept of cloud. Cloud now has assumed cluttered connotation among customers as it doesnt fit any preconceived notion. There are myriad permutation and combinations of availing cloud services by both developers and clients. Offering the best of both worlds, Win Azure could run on both data centres and private cloud.

Please elaborate on the concept of interoperability

In an enterprise environment, clients run disparate software-based applications with no linkage and scope for interoperability. Interoperability is actually to build bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies. For a layman, adopting interoperability would enable programmers like Java and SQL developers to switch their proprietary application platforms and migrate to Microsoft to meet their client needs on Windows Azure Cloud. Microsofts theory of interoperability veers around four pillars viz. product engineering, support for industry standards, collaboration with open source software, providing more tools to the application developers.