Microsoft and horseless carriages


I read an article in the Register reporting on Microsoft asserting that Amazon’s EC2 is the horseless carriage of the day when compared to it’s Azure.

The horseless carriage analogy is not a bad one. I use lots of EC2 and that’s in part because I can deploy apps the same on EC2 as locally. At the moment I want my cloud to look like my local hardware. Less learning. No new software required. I know how to mess with machine configurations. Etc.

However Azure is not a bad idea. You define an application and the level of resourcing you want and the platform figures out the rests. Except two things:

1) That only works if your apps use MS tools (or PHP) and you can re-engineer them to work with Azure. No horseless carriages here.
2) It’s more expensive than EC2 (by my calculation).
3) You pay more to use Azure than Windows on EC2 and you can only use the Azure CPU cycles you buy to do *one* thing while the horseless carriage’s unused cycles can do other things for you.

Tools like RightScale (no affiliation) go someway to address the lack of automatic resource scaling built into EC2 as it can be configured to bring on additional (or remove existing) compute nodes based on demand.

Utlimately I can imagine we will move towards the Azure-type model. I can imagine we will move to electric cars but the first ones have to look like current cars and and even if they don’t whinney they may even have to sound like cars so pedestrians are aware there’s a car in the road they’re about to cross or the hospitals (or mortuaries) will fill up quickly.

Azure may be progress but it may a step too far at the moment and it’s (almost) only Windows based. This is a bit like the tablets Bill Gates advocated back in the late ’90’s. Right idea but too expensive and battery life too short. But at the right time someone will develop the cloud equivalent of the iPad. My prediction is that it will look more like Azure than EC2.

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