The elephant and the cloud

Elephant flying on clouds

The most interesting thing about technology change are the odd juxtapositions it throws up. If you’d asked me a few years ago who would be the leader in cloud computing, I wouldn’t have predicted that it would be Amazon.

Sure Amazon know how to run very large websites. How did they go from e-commerce pioneer to cloud computing? It’s kinda like your local supermarket deciding that they’d like to build ships.

The odd thing is: where is Microsoft? You would have thought they would be very keen to get the developer eye balls currently heading towards Amazon.

I’m sure Microsoft could build an infrastructure around the .NET runtime, virtualise it and rent it to people on a scalable infrastructure.

Microsoft are the obvious company to deliver the cloud computing service. They have a large developer following, have a mature tool set, languages and libraries developers are already familiar with.

The main problem with Amazon’s offering is that, for Microsoft developers, you have to start from scratch. You’ve got to learn a whole raft of new technologies and languages. If you’ve no alternative then that’s what you do. But, if Microsoft can deliver cloud computing using tools you already know, then they are in the driving seat.

One thing is certain: creating scalable websites just got a whole lot easier and cheaper.

Update June 2013: Microsoft have indeed built a scalable .NET based PaaS offering leveraging their developer toolset, called Windows Azure. It is maturing very nicely.

Author: Jack Hughes

An experienced software engineer with 20+ years experience writing products for Microsoft Windows based operating systems as well as 12+ years experience hosting websites on Linux and Windows including e-commerce and CMS systems.