Microsoft STB’s Cloud Vision: Rashomon in Reverse

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.

On the surface, Akiro Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon (based on the short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa) qualifies as a conventional police procedural, set in 19th century Japan. While traveling to their home, a samurai and his wife are confronted by a bandit, who rapes the wife and murders the husband. But when the bandit is captured and tried for his crimes, the tale takes a psychological turn. The narratives of the event, as told by three living witnesses and the ghost of the samurai are not merely dissimilar; they are openly contradictory, thus forcing the other participants and the audience to determine who is lying, where the truth lies and why.

Modern day New Orleans, La. is 10,000 miles and 200+ years removed from 19th century Japan, but the story of Rashomon came to mind during Microsoft’s recent TechEd conference. During his opening keynote, Server and Tools Business (STB) President Bob Muglia offered conference attendees insights into the company’s vision of cloud computing, related products and services, and Microsoft’s long-term plans for the cloud. Up front, we were struck by the depth of the company’s efforts and the breadth of its goals; Microsoft doesn’t intend to simply be a player in cloud products and services but the leader in cloud-related development, strategy and solutions delivery. Read more of this post

Is Microsoft the New Safe Harbor?

The following is a guest post from Ray Wang of Altimeter Group. I wrote a different title, but otherwise this is as it appears on his blog.

Clients Now See Microsoft As The Neutral Vendor, Hence All The Questions

Just less than 3 years ago, Microsoft was still perceived as part of the “evil” empire.  Business leaders worried about the complicated and expensive licensing and pricing structures.  IT leaders bemoaned the lock-in and proprietary and often buggy software.  But in a reversal of fortune, customers now worry about Google lock-in, fret over Oracle’s quest to dominate IT through M&A, wonder how hardware vendors will become software providers and vice versa, and remain in shock as Apple’s proprietary and closed approach over takes Microsoft’s market cap.

In conversations with 71 business and IT leaders, the perception on Microsoft has definitively shifted.  In fact, more than 74.6% (53/71) see Microsoft as the neutral and trusted supplier.  With an aging and retiring workforce that grew up on IBM and SAP, the next generation of IT leaders increasingly will exert their leadership and run to their comfort zone of Microsoft and Oracle.  (Note: Don’t expect this to last as the next generation of IT leadership comprises of millennials and digital natives who will try to move everything to open source and the cloud.)  Consequently, Microsoft’s technology offerings receive a renewed interest and reinvestment among customers, partners, and critical OEM’s.  Among this group, many are attending TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA.  Key questions they will be asking include: Read more of this post

IBM’s Hardware Sneak Attack

From Judith Hurwitz:

Yesterday I read an interesting blog commenting on why Oracle seems so interested in Sun’s hardware.

I quote from a comment by Brian Aker, former head of architecture for MySQL on the O’Reily Radar blog site.  He comments on his view on why Oracle bought Sun,

Brian Aker: I have my opinions, and they’re based on what I see happening in the market. IBM has been moving their P Series systems into datacenter after datacenter, replacing Sun-based hardware. I believe that Oracle saw this and asked themselves “What is the next thing that IBM is going to do?” That’s easy. IBM is going to start pushing DB2 and the rest of their software stack into those environments. Now whether or not they’ll be successful, I don’t know. I suspect once Oracle reflected on their own need for hardware to scale up on, they saw a need to dive into the hardware business. I’m betting that they looked at Apple’s margins on hardware, and saw potential in doing the same with Sun’s hardware business. I’m sure everything else Sun owned looked nice and scrumptious, but Oracle bought Sun for the hardware.

I think that Brian has a good point. In fact, in a post I wrote a few months ago, I commented on the fact that hardware is back.  It is somewhat ironic. For a long time, the assumption has been that a software platform is the right leverage point to control markets.  Clearly, the tide is shifting.  IBM, for example, has taken full advantage of customer concerns about the future of the Sun platform. But IBM is not stopping there. I predict a hardware sneak attack that encompasses IBM’s platform software strength (i.e., middleware, automation, analytics, and service management) combined with its hardware platforms.