Microsoft believe in runtime choice, you just can't have it
Steven Martin from Microsoft has detailed some good information on Azure in two postings (1, 2) in the last few weeks.
I recommend reading them but let me pull out one particular area, in regards to private and public clouds.
From the first entry.
Over time, the innovation in Windows Azure will be cross-pollinated with our on-premises server products and Windows Server, offering increasing capability to transition workloads between on-premises and the Azure cloud. Driving a consistent approach across both premises and cloud technologies ensures that developers and IT professionals have the power of runtime choice and the freedom to change their minds between running workloads on-premises, the cloud, or a hybrid of both to best fit their needs.And from the second.
Windows Azure innovations are being shared with the Windows Server code base. Down the road, many features that drive our cloud fabric in Windows Azure will land in our premises technology, including Windows Server and System Center.So here is my thoughts on this.
So, to net this out… While Windows Azure isn’t something we will license for premises deployment, we will license many of the innovations via future versions of Windows Server and System Center.
- Its a different platform between the private and public Microsoft clouds.
- Some of the code from Azure will filter back into the Enterprise space, sometime down the road.
- No party outside of Microsoft is going to get access to Azure.
- Even Microsoft realise that a consistent approach across on, off and hybrid premise clouds offers power and freedom of choice.
Contrast this to the VMware approach. Everything is based on VDC-OS, the same workloads you execute in your private data center as you would in the cloud. The packages are wrapped as vAPPs (extension on OVF) an open standard. The glue, vCloud API will be available to many, most likely even internally for a total private cloud implementation. Thats a stark contrast to some components for some and some components for others, some integration into possible future products and resulting upgrades to your internal systems. As a way to move to cloud I know as an Enterprise which I would be a lot more comfortable with today.
I am getting quite excited about the possible extensions that might be able to be made to the vCloud API. I think the metadata in a vAPP is a game changer if its combined with being able to extend the placement algorithms in vCloud API. Take this example conversation I had with a large enterprise the other day. They have over 60 data centers around the APAC region, if all of these form part of a large federated cloud fabric, workloads (vAPPs) can be place based on the available metadata and algorithms. The algorithms may be based on latency, cost models, service levels, capacity. Then I was asked, well does it cover regularity requirements or data protection laws. My answer was probably not in the first instance, however, imagine a time where you can define your own metadata for your vAPP, such as data privacy requirements, and you write your own decision algorithm to be loaded into the vCloud API placement algorithm. Sweet, you can now place your workloads based on your own criteria. Try doing this with Azure, I think not. I can see the day where this will be not only possible but easy with vCloud. Certainly not today or tomorrow, but not that far off.
Enterprises have some hard decisions to make as they investigate the cloud space and the offerings from the vendors. Don't misunderstand my musings, Azure will have a lot to offer Enterprises and many will take up some of its services. What it is not though is an architecture for running your future data centers, which is really where VDC-OS really measures up. Its probably not even fair to compare the two, but hey if everyone else is, including Microsoft, I might as well do it too!