Microsoft's Campaign for the Cloud

Michael Vizard

With Microsoft Azure for both public and private cloud computing platforms coming into place, Microsoft is starting to tout the inherent benefits of a unified approach to cloud computing.

Most recently, Microsoft partnered with Rackspace to make available a Visual Studio 2010 plug-in for developers looking to build applications running on a Microsoft .Net framework that would be hosted on Rackspace rather than the Microsoft cloud computing platform.

Obviously, Microsoft is out to build an ecosystem of cloud computing service providers around its software. But among the things that make that pitch fairly compelling, says Joseph Hostader, a cloud computing architect for Microsoft, is complexity of cloud computing across distributed environments.

For example, Microsoft will include a distributed caching capability called AppFabric that will make it easier to build distributed applications across multiple clouds. Most developers may not appreciate those capabilities just yet, but Hostader notes that as cloud computing evolves, IT organizations will be looking for a platform that allows them to invoke cloud computing services at a higher level of abstraction.

That may mean sacrificing some of the flexibility associated with open systems. But just as it did before with Windows servers, Microsoft is betting that productivity will trump sentiment every time.

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