Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, John Walsh

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Silverlight, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Will Microsoft Be Successful in the Cloud?

Among a lot of competitors, Microsoft has challenges to overcome

When you think of IT vendors and cloud computing, companies like Amazon and Google first come to mind because they are very successful with start-ups that leverage their cloud services. HP, IBM and Oracle are making big strides primarily by targeting large enterprises with private cloud solutions. Cisco, EMC and Intel are primarily technology vendors serving as arms providers to cloud service providers. Microsoft falls in a unique category that dominates certain IT segments and covers customers ranging from start-ups, consumers and large enterprises. The recent Microsoft Build conference provided many opportunities to learn about a range of the company's cloud computing capabilities.

The following are some key aspects of Microsoft's cloud capabilities that I observed at Build:

In-house Experience:
The best way to gauge customer requirements is to use your own cloud services. Microsoft's keynote presentations on the second day of the conference emphasized the experience of using their own technology for consumer-facing solutions like Skype, Outlook.com and Bing. Other than Amazon and Google, few cloud service providers can claim such extensive use of its own products. This gives customers confidence that cloud services have been tried and tested under challenging circumstances.

End-to-end Capabilities:
On the first day of the conference, Microsoft honed in on multiple device support. The focus was on features supporting "develop once/use over any interface" models capable of supporting multiple devices and platforms. Many attendees welcomed this, as they did Microsoft's support for open standards via solutions to run on non-Microsoft devices like Android and iOS.

One key capability Microsoft demonstrated was Visual Studio integration with Azure on the second day. Enterprises are yearning for a simple solution to overcome the perennial problem of best leveraging available skills to deliver products in a timely manner. Integrating Microsoft's popular Visual Studio development platform to Azure will promote cloud adoption by enterprises.

Partnerships:
Cloud solutions are best built through assembly of an application from multiple services. As a result, partnerships help IT vendors deliver better capabilities to their customer and are a key Microsoft focus.

The company's new partnership with Oracle gives their mutual customers the confidence that Oracle products are certified to run on Azure as well as adding Oracle's endorsement for Hyper-V virtualization.

There is significant interest by CMOs to leverage cloud technology for digital marketing initiatives using the mobile platform to transform consumer experience. Microsoft's partnership with Adobe gives customers a unique tool to combine Adobe Creative Cloud on Windows 8 with Azure to deliver an end-to-end marketing solution.

Customer experience:
The annual Super Bowl is one of the world's premier sports events, drawing a huge television audience both in the U.S. and across the globe. But in recent years, the UEFA Champions League draws an even larger audience than the Super Bowl, so it only makes sense for UEFA sponsors to want to leverage the cloud in delivering a reliable and scalable marketing campaign.

There are numerous examples of successful start-ups building cloud solutions on Amazon & Google. At the Microsoft Build conference, I was pleasantly surprised to meet folks from Heineken who explained their use of Azure to deliver a social pinball game to millions of users during a recent UEFA Champions League tournament.

One of the biggest challenges to enterprise IT organizations supporting marketing is to be ready for unexpected spikes in usage. Microsoft announced an auto-scaling feature for Azure at the conference that gives a powerful tool to web developers to better meet unexpected usage spikes and similar challenges.

Developer Outreach:

During the conference, I interacted with a number of attendees, some of whom shared their experiences in leveraging Microsoft platforms. One partner discussed building solutions for law enforcement agencies leveraging Azure. Interestingly, smaller agencies wanted the entire solution to be hosted on Azure. Most of the 6000 attendees were from the developer community and wield an increasing influence on picking technology for IT solutions. Microsoft is well positioned to leverage this segment to promote Azure capabilities without infrastructure skills.

While Microsoft is making significant inroads in supporting open standards, I noticed that their own media delivery is often tied exclusively to Silverlight. In my opinion, the many users would like Microsoft to enable their materials to be consumed on non-Silverlight capable platforms too.
Note: After initial publishing, Microsoft stated that they also allow developers to support HTML5

Final Thoughts
When Microsoft invited me to attend their Build conference, I had expectations of another enterprise IT vendor going to push their exclusive cloud strategy. However, I came away from Build impressed with Microsoft's overall capability to deliver exactly what enterprises would be interested in. The big challenge for Microsoft will be to draw users outside its traditional ecosystem to try out and embrace their integrated Azure platform.

Disclaimer: Microsoft is one of my customers and paid travel expenses with free admission to the Build conference.

This post was first published on Robustcloud.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

@CloudExpo Stories
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.