Microsoft WPC 2013 — Cloud Themes
This article was originally posted on July 23, 2013.
[Note: This is the second in a series of articles about Microsoft’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference, written from the point of view of a long-time partner.]
The first major theme of WPC 2013 was the cloud, and how Microsoft has adapted the company to compete in the cloud.
In Steve Ballmer’s keynote, he discussed data points such as Microsoft’s deployment of ONE MILLION servers in support of cloud applications. Per Ballmer, only Google and Amazon have deployed more, and Facebook and Yahoo are close, but no one else has deployed more than 100,000. But it’s not only about scale. Microsoft also competes on the following themes:
- Microsoft acknowledges that not every enterprise application is well-suited to a multi-tenant public-cloud architecture, and continues to offer best-in-class hybrid options using tools like Windows Azure, Windows Server, System Center and StorSimple for deploying and managing systems across both internal and external data centers. Microsoft has uniquely invested in public, private, and hybrid cloud computing, and remains differentiated from its competitors. It’s hard to debate their contention that no other company can currently execute on this, but it’s perhaps a more interesting question how long that point of differentiation will matter.
- Microsoft continues to provide a combination of public/private cloud infrastructure and tools with the world’s leading business productivity applications (Office 365, the fastest-growing application at Microsoft and the fastest application to $1 Billion in Microsoft history*, and Microsoft Dynamics).
A great demo followed during Satya Nadella’s keynote, showing off Microsoft’s cloud story: Information Rights Management using Exchange (on Office 365), using PII (Personally Identifiable Information) protection, Bing maps, and social connectors, providing secure access to business content across devices using cloud services like the above and SkyDrive Pro.
An interesting theme that was touched on in a few keynotes and demo scenarios was the toggling between personal and work content and devices with just-in-time provisioning and de-provisioning of applications and infrastructure. Expect to see more about this, as it’s a great challenge to serve up content, not only to the right person on the right device, but also to the right persona — how will one’s “work” self and “off-work” personae be maintained separately, or are they destined to bleed into one in a future where the lines between work and play are slowly erased?
* I think that Microsoft’s claims about Office 365 being the fastest Microsoft product to exceed $1 Billion in revenues should be taken in context, given that Office 365 represents the combination of multiple server products in a hosted package: Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint. This feels more like a reallocation of revenue from one set of Microsoft products to another. I would be more interested to see the NET growth in Microsoft server products (combined on-premises, private cloud, third-party hosted and Office 365) so that, not only as a partner but as an investor, I can see whether Office 365 is simply cannibalizing Microsoft’s traditional business or is actually accretive (yes, I work at an accounting firm, and need to start using words like this again) to Microsoft’s overall product revenue.
Originally published at https://mikegil.typepad.com.