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Monday, October 13, 2008

Windows Cloud again

No, not blogging about the rumor on the name Strata - strata.com is taken, and unless Microsoft has already purchased the domain name, no strata here for them.

Just posting wikipedia's definition on cloud computing:

It is a style of computing in which IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service”, allowing users to access technology-enabled services from the Internet ("in the cloud") without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them. According to the IEEE Computer Society, "It is a paradigm in which information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and cached temporarily on clients that include desktops, entertainment centers, table computers, notebooks, wall computers, handhelds, etc."

Cloud computing is a general concept that incorporates software as a service (SaaS), Web 2.0 and other recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. For example, Google Appsprovides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Uhmm, and what can Microsoft offer us here? Let's try and guess: well, they have been investing like crazy on huge datacenters, so they will clearly sell “as a service”, but what? Besides the obvious storage and databases, Microsoft can provide a desktop in a cloud to manage it (Live Mesh?), integrated with officelive.com, above the "interconnecting devices" paradigm. They will probably start offering on the cloud all enterprise as services products they offer today as servers (ex: Exchange and Sharepoint) on multitenancy. They will probably lend their platform to others on the SaaS (sorry, Software + Services), making use of the BizTalk Services platform. Finally they can bring a huge marketplace with UDDI and infrastructure services, along with identity, claiming and federation.

On the client, all of this will probably run mostly over a cross-platform desktop application, not over browser. And what about the connected / disconnected model? Well, it has to be supported by a cross-platform framework, and there is where Silverlight can play a significant role. Though Microsoft has not yet decided what is the disconnected persistence framework to adopt, I'd love if they chose something like Bamboo Prevalence over a classical relational based engine.

But what about the consumer market? Lately Microsoft has been traditionally in trouble on consumers. Can they pull an anti-iTunes service? Most unlikely. Can they capitalize their not so cool Mobile Platform by integrating into the Cloud? Well, there's a cool way to go, though traditionally Windows Mobile support is always the last one to get updated.

Let's wait and see.

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