PDC2008, Azure and Cloud Computing openness

Nick points to a post from Dion Almaer who has participated on PDC and is working for Google (on Google Code and Google Gears):

Windows Azure looks great. The “on premise” feature looks particularly intriguing. If they can bridge the data center and the cloud, they have something quite compelling. Enterprises are struggling with the cloud in part. What do you put up there? How do you secure it? How do you tie back? Microsoft is going after that problem.

We can’t fight Microsoft with “don’t choose them, remember what they did to you before?” Fear is lame. Instead, this is a wake up call to Adobe, Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, IBM, Sun, [insert other developer / platform players] to get kicking.

We can’t just be Open, we have to be better!

But openness has no real value in itself, at least not yet. Nick phrases nicely what I was excited about when I had seen the Ballmer keynote from the event in London end of September:

But in this early stage of the cloud’s development, openness means little to the buyer (or user). The buyers, particularly those in big companies, are nervous about the cloud even as they are becoming increasingly eager to reap the benefits the cloud can provide. What they care about right now is security, reliability, features, compatibility with their existing systems and applications, ease of adoption, stability of the vendor, and other practical concerns. In the long run, they may come to regret their lack of stress on openness, but in the here-and-now it’s just not a major consideration. They want stuff that works and won’t blow up in their faces.

Look at my previous post on GE running a multi-layered strategy: they are still deploying classical on-premise applications, run their own internal cloud and also embrace SaaS like Zoho or Avaro.

Scoble reminds us to “Never underestimate Microsoft’s ability to turn a corner“. It is not important if you are early or late to a party, how long you stay is what matters in the end. And Microsoft has proven that more than one time. Cem comments:

MS was most of the time “follower” and won the game. remember i.e. server sw netware vs windows nt. why? huge war chest and absolute determination. Never underestimate MS. Right.

And Dare gives a first impression on Windows Azure from a developers perspective.