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Director, OpenShift Strategy at Red Hat. Founder of Rishidot Research, a research community focused on services world. His focus is on Platform Services, Infrastructure and the role of Open Source in the services era. Krish has been writing @ CloudAve from its inception and had also been part of GigaOm Pro Analyst Group. The opinions expressed here are his own and are neither representative of his employer, Red Hat, nor CloudAve, nor its sponsors.

15 responses to “Busting The Microsoft Cloud Computing Myth”

  1. Duane Jackson

    “A panelist from Microsoft grabbed the question and went on to explain why Software + Service strategy is the right approach to Cloud Computing.”

    That’s a familiar scenario. They seem to think if they say it enough, it’ll become true.

    I had to be quite rude a MS guy at a SaaS meeting recently as he was tryong to define SaaS how MS want it defined.

    I commented along similar lines early last month: Software + Services = Swan Song

  2. dondrennon

    “…is he still living in the early 90s?”


  3. Brandon Watson

    Disclaimer: Microsoft employee working on Azure

    I think it’s important to understand the tack with S+S. If you listen to Google tell the story, they will tell you that the web is the platform and that it won. We disagree. There’s more computing in the average smart phone than was used to put every many on the moon. Think about that for a second. Why would you throw away the compute power of the end point and use the least common denominator approach of the web browser?

    Further, if you think about the success of the iPhone, none of those apps are SaaS apps. They are all end point apps targeting a specific platform. They understand the power of software. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have created the App Store. They would have been content to let apps simply be HTML apps that they rendered in Safari.

    The limiting factor for most apps to be delivered via the cloud is bandwidth. If you think into the future where real time delivery of apps is no longer limited by bandwidth, you can start creating some very special applications. HTML, JavaScript…those are great for creating apps, but when you start thinking about Flash or, gasp, Silverlight as your app target on the endpoint, things get a whole lot more interesting.

  4. joeyw

    No, I think you’re wrong.
    JavaScript + HTML is not a scalable platform to program in. It’s missing a lot of functions that regular programming environments have enjoyed for years.
    The fact that the code is not permanently installed is really a side issue. Auto updating desktop apps achieve much the same thing.
    If you take a look at popular ‘cloud’ services there are usually a suite of software apps that can be used instead of the browser based version. Look at the iPhone as a good example.

    HTML + JavaScript is really just a result of some pretty bad software deployment technologies over the past 15 years. It was never design to do what it’s doing now. What need is a next generation standard execution engine and presentation framework.

  5. bschorr

    I’m not sure I really understand the argument about storing applications on the local hard drive. Disk space is so absurdly cheap these days that I have ~2TB of storage in my HOME. Do I really care if Microsoft Office takes up 2GB?

    And what am I supposed to do when Bubba and his backhoe take down my Internet connection for the 3rd time this year and I can’t get to my word processor to do even basic work?

    Cloud computing has its place but I don’t like depending upon distant services across narrow-pipes (no ISP is going to give me gigabit to the server the way I already have on my Intranet at anywhere near the same price point) for mission critical applications or sensitive data.

  6. Krishnan Subramanian

    Brandon, my post was not directed against Software+Services strategy. It was against the misinformation campaign by Microsoft.

    In fact, all I care about Cloud is to put the data out there and grab it using different apps, devices etc.. For me, SaaS is one of the many weapons in the toolkit. But an effective and efficient one though because all we need is just a browser.

    Joeyw, I disagree. Javascript + HTML is not the entire story. It is just a small part of the whole web story.

  7. Krishnan Subramanian

    bschorr, The issue here is not just disk space. It is about the advantages of using local resources vs resources on the cloud. The latter wins clearly. Why would I buy a $1000 machine to run powerful apps when I can do it with a $199 netbook by tapping into the Cloud for my computing needs?

  8. Paul Quickenden

    Krishnan. The end device is irrelevant if you don’t can’t access the application (content). YOU need a connection, no connection no service…. try making a mobile call when you are out of coverage …

    SaaS ‘leeches’ off ISP’s. until they are incented to provide connectitivy commensurate with the criticality of the services that run over them you will have this issue.

    Always on internet costs, ever increasing data going over that infrastructure costs more. SaaS providers need to factor this into their products

  9. Raju Vegesna

    There is one key point Software + Services misses – Mobility. If you need software to be installed on the computer to use it, your are tied to the device which misses the point. True mobility can be archived when the service is Device/OS/Browser independent.

    Regarding effective usage of local resources (if available), there are good innovations coming up in browsers like Chrome where they span separate process for every webapp enabling them to effectively use local resources whenever available.

  10. Zoli Erdos

    Yessssss to the point on mobility.

    We’re clearly moving to device-independent computing, and the more of these situational devices (laptop, netbook, tablet, iPhone, Startrek Communicator…) we have, the less viable the sync-it-all, carry-your-files-with-you model becomes. Just try the madness of waiting for your files to sync between 3 or 4 computers before you can start to work … it only gets worse the more devices we have. We’re better off having data and apps in the Cloud.

    Now, you can say it’s S+S anyway, but I do see a difference between two approaches:

    A: local data and apps, Cloud only helps syncing all this stuff.

    B: default is the Cloud, you bring down locally just what you need on your situational device.

  11. Krishnan Subramanian

    Paul, your argument takes the progress in the opposite direction. If internet connectivity is the issue, we should focus on making existing technologies to solve the problem , like Gears, better. We should strive to force our ISPs upgrade the network to meet the demand. Using software is not a solution. What is the point in storing your data on the local machine as well as a remote machine. Why have this unnecessary redundancy. The industry can do better than S+S to solve the net connectivity problem. It is just Microsoft’s desperate attempt to protect their cash cow after they realized that the march towards Cloud Computing is irreversible.

    Plus, as Raju and Zoli said, it is mobility, mobility, mobility. Internet connection may not be all that prevalent in many parts of the world. But mobile communication networks are present even in the remote parts of Africa. With the SaaS approach, it is possible to deliver the service to these people using their mobile devices whereas S+S model is meaningless for these people because they could neither afford the expensive devices needed for S+S model nor the cost of the software itself.

  12. Will

    Hey kinda sounds like straight from the Clinton playbook, doesn’t it? Say it enough and people will begin to believe it’s true when it is a flat out lie.


  13. Paul Quickenden

    Firstly, i’m a big fan of cloud services. But my point is that Cloud / SaaS is part of a much wider ecosystem which includes the connectivity. It is all required to deliver the user experience.. something cloud providers all seem to just expect to be there.
    For a business to get SLA’s from their provider, that provider MUST address the connectivity component.
    Forcing the ISP’s is a fools errand. They own the end customer, Saas providers don’t. And until they see some economic benefit from cloud services, cloud services are only seen as a cost. Its that simple. Its like owning a railway line, there are huge cost or maintaining it, but if they can’t get some money from the trains rummbling down it, wheres the incentive? this is true for mobile too… all those mobile towers are connected to fixed networks for backhaul…just like your wifi network in the house
    Some other points, the ‘thing’ that people are using in the cloud is ‘software’…ergo software is the solution. Google Gears is software… being anti software is the wrong

  14. ii

    I like the public cloud and web delivery. It is great to work on any system and get at my email, im, and collab (via company IT groups private cloud anacdoteally) I like getting web based email, im, and collab over the web(via IT groups private cloud), I like working on the plane with outlook and offline sharepoint folders with version management check in/out, I like having effective and exciting apps on my handhelds, gaming system, cable box, etc. Just support the scenarios users want. Looks like google is also doing S+S with installs for supporting outlook and offline use: just install Gears, Outlook Connector, Google Talk, and some GAL thingy. Looks like there is a bit of software for the users that want to use that scenario.