InfoWorld: It was a year and a half ago when the "software plus services" phrase was first floated by Steve Ballmer, and I think a lot of us were wondering, "Oh come on, what does he mean? Live updates, what does he mean?" And now it's clear, this is a developer play. This is about building services in the cloud.
Srivistava: [With] Windows Azure, we just did not take Windows Server and just put it on the cloud, OK? What we said was "let's go look at the problem we want to solve." I mean if you have something [that] works fine on the cloud, why would we not put it [there]? But wherever it makes sense, do it [there].
InfoWorld: I was talking to a few of the attendees and one said Azure was a response to Amazon EC2 [Elastic Computing Cloud] and what they're doing with cloud servers. They're running Windows. Is this a competitive response to Amazon?
Srivistava: Amazon and Google have been doing great stuff on the cloud. It reinforces the point that this cloud is really an exciting place to be in. Again, if you look at running Windows Server on a machine, Windows Server manages just the machine, right? So running Windows Server on that desk, a lot of people can do that and it's really great that they're doing it. What we are trying to do with Windows Azure is to really build an operating system for the whole cloud that is not a single machine. By managing the cloud, you're taking care of the lifecycle management of your services, you're offering lots and lots more value.
InfoWorld: You're talking about all of these additional services, and what strikes me is that it's almost as if you've created a well-provisioned SOA, with all the service management stuff going on, the lifecycle management. In a way, it's got some de facto governance in there, at least it's sort of playing by the Microsoft rules that you have.
Srivistava: But it's not Microsoft rules, it's playing by your rules. So the user is in control. That is why the critical part is we do a lot of the work for you, but you define the rules, and that is the service model. So you tell us how you want your service to be managed, we just do it. We are the servant. It's not like, "Hey, trust us. We'll just do it for you." We're not saying that. We will follow the rules that you define in the architecture model, so the user is all in control.
InfoWorld: Could you implement tools available on Azure to manage that kind of runtime governance that you're talking about?
Srivistava: That's right.
InfoWorld: It seems with all the stuff that you've added here to the Azure platform, it's really potentially a richer development environment than your average Microsoft customer would set up on premise.