Wolfe's Den: Less Client, More Cloud For Microsoft After Windows 7 - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Cloud // Software as a Service
Commentary
10/12/2009
09:53 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Moving UEBA Beyond the Ground Floor
Sep 20, 2017
This webinar will provide the details you need about UEBA so you can make the decisions on how bes ...Read More>>

Wolfe's Den: Less Client, More Cloud For Microsoft After Windows 7

Intriguing evidence points to the fact that cloud computing services for both enterprises and consumers--in the form of Azure and Windows Live--will loom larger in Microsoft's future than anyone realizes.

I don't want to be a party pooper on the eve of the Windows 7 consumer launch, but a new client operating system -- graphically pleasing and decently performing though it may be -- is about as relevant to the future of computing as a reengineered internal-combustion engine would be to the future of the automobile. As in, nice, but no cigar.

Which may be why, amid all the public hoopla, Microsoft is quietly putting many more chips than most folks realize behind its cloud-computing strategy.

I've long believed that Windows 7 will be the last great client operating system. Its success is assured not because there's any crying need for a new OS, per se, but rather because Windows XP has essentially outlived the hardware platform on which it was designed to run, particularly as regards today's heftier requirements for non-core features such as security and data-access control. (I know; you're thinking that these features aren't non-core to you.)

There's also the operational truth that many enterprises skipped the last natural upgrade cycle when they opted not to adopt Vista. Mostly, in a non-deterministic sense, it's just time for an upgrade.

Moving forward, though, it's pretty clear that the normal, stepwise progression of hardware, applications, and networking technology which made regular OS upgrades an imperative in the past has itself become a thing of the past.

Today, people are wondering less what a future Windows 8 will look like than they are about how they're going to wrestle the increasingly long laundry list of technologies -- most of them emerging technologies -- at their disposal into a manageable implementation plan. Why should this be so difficult? Most simply put, because the ones that are easy ain't cheap, and the cheap ones ain't so easy (or, more precisely, as predictable and controllable).

Even as I write this, this perfect storm of IT trends is altering the imaginary requirements document according to which new OSes are architected. A short list of the stuff we're talking about includes:

  • The drive toward data-center efficiency;
  • Increasing popularity of SaaS applications;
  • The rise of cloud services;
  • Virtualization;
  • Push toward unified computing, aka reexamining of how networking is architected correctly, as both the number of physical processors and virtualization instances explode;
  • The continued commoditization of hardware processing power.

    Add to this the cost-cutting imperatives of the recession, and I think this list amounts to a new requirements foundation, which argues not for a traditional OS, but for some kind of application-cloud-virtualization management engine.

    Interestingly enough, one can make a strong argument that this is exactly what Microsoft is mulling over, in its march to field cloud services such as Windows Azure and Windows Live, and in its future OS research.

    Making Book

    As InformationWeek Editor-at-Large Mary Hayes Weier noted in her insightful piece, The Conversation With Gates And Ballmer That Sparked Microsoft's Cloud Strategy,: "Microsoft seems a lot more committed to cloud computing these days, following a year or two of vague references to a software and services model."

    She quotes Microsoft vice president of online Ron Markezich as saying that the company has been preparing for the shift to cloud for five years. However, he also caveats that statement by adding that Microsoft sees cloud as an evolutionary model and that few customers with "legacy systems will move 100 percent to the cloud."

    Previous
    1 of 4
    Next
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
    How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
    To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
    Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
    White Papers
    Current Issue
    IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
    Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
    Video
    Slideshows
    Twitter Feed
    Sponsored Live Streaming Video
    Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
    Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
    Flash Poll