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The aBlock

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 3 Comments

Back in March last year I posted on how Microsoft were saying that the Azure technology would not be for on premise deployments.

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.
The other day Microsoft changed their stance on this as as Ballmer announced the Windows Azure Platform Appliance. This is quite a change in stance.

Its not really an appliance, from my reading its more of a vBlock, we can call it an aBlock. Microsoft partners with hardware vendors for a reference implementation that is very standardised. Its also interesting who its targeted at, "designed for service providers, large enterprises and governments". When they say large I suspect they really mean LARGE, this is not something many are going to be able to deploy.

My take is that this is a good move in the right direction. Who knows if its in preparation for VMware to releasing its private/public Cloud software (codenamed Redwood) later this year? But does it go far enough?

For me the key thing is how does this benefit customers? For customers it really does not change anything, unless you are a massive enterprise or government. My gut feeling is that this is not something that is going to be delivered to the public market but rather for private internal Cloud. VMware should be able to deliver that customer experience of run it internally or externally.

Its also worth mentioning that the Azure Appliance is more than just IaaS, it includes SQL Azure. VMware have Zimbra but databases/stroage are key in the Cloud. What are VMware doing with Redis?



  1. Hi Rodos

    I agree -- this shows Microsoft is getting more serious about making the Azure proposition more consumable. And the point about the entire software stack (incl. SQL) is correct.

    But, since I'm intimately familiar with the whole Vblock thing, I tend to have many questions that I hope will be answered as we learn more.

    First, is there opportunity for technology differentiation, or is it all about Azure running on commodity technology?

    Second, who sells and supports the entire proposition? Microsoft? The server guys? Someone else? Not clear whose throat to go choke ...

    Third, what are the prospects for non-Microsoft applications under Azure? Linux? Oracle? Something else?

    And -- even if I'm comfortable with Azure, will that work cooperatively with the more traditional Windows stacks sitting in the enterprise?

    The ball has moved here, but I ended up with more questions than answers ...

    -- Chuck

  2. Hi Rodos,

    When you say large, do you think ebay is LARGE enough?


  3. @chuck, yes I think there are many unanswered questions, lots of smoke here.

    @darrell, ebay is a good example of the LARGE, not many are the size of ebay.


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