Microsoft loves the cloud -- and wants to rule it

A curious manifesto on Microsoft's site offers a powerful argument for cloud computing dominance

If there's any doubt in your mind whether Microsoft is serious about cloud computing, have a look at this extraordinary document written by Microsoft's Corporate Strategy Group: The Economics of the Cloud.

The authors, Rolf Harms and Michael Yamartino, begin their summary with this dramatic statement: "Information technology is undergoing a seismic shift towards the cloud, a disruption we believe is as game-changing as the transition from mainframes to client/server."

Many people talk about the cloud as a return to the mainframe model, since the basic idea behind cloud computing is to centralize resources for economies of scale. Yet the authors go out of their way to dismiss the mainframe comparison, noting that the economies of scale for the cloud are greater than that for mainframes -- and that the cloud has more "modularity and agility" than client/server.

The heart of The Economics of the Cloud is a thorough examination of the economies of scale enjoyed by public cloud services, from the cost of power to the variability of demand. Then comes a point-by-point comparison between public cloud services and the so-called private cloud. The authors' conclusion is that pound for pound, the public cloud beats the private cloud's pants off.

And make no mistake, over the past few years, Microsoft has invested heavily in building out cloud infrastructure, not to mention reallocating development resources. If Microsoft has become absolutely convinced that the cloud is where the major action is, can there be any doubt that it intends to dominate cloud computing the same way it dominated the desktop?

Soon, we'll have a look at the beta of Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365, and let you know how that's coming along.

This article, "Microsoft loves the cloud -- and wants to rule it," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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