The Microsoft Visionary Cloud: How We Got Here

The Microsoft Visionary Cloud: How We Got Here

In "Microsoft Gloats over Latest Gartner Cloud Report, but Amazon Still Makes Everyone Else Look Silly," I poked fun at Microsoft a little bit. The company revved up the disco ball and fog machine to highlight a strong first step, landing in the "Visionary" category of Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant report for IaaS.

But, once you step back and realize the enormity of what Microsoft has done in just three short years, it's not funny anymore. Being included in the report is quite an accomplishment considering they had no chance of even honorable mention a short while ago. It's amazing how quickly things change. And, there's nothing wrong with tooting your own horn. Someone has to do it.

While Amazon Web Services still leads the field for IaaS by a wide margin, it's worth noting again that things do change quickly.

Three years ago at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2010, Microsoft announced they were "all in" for the coud. The event was in Las Vegas, the casino city of the world, so the humor in the themed phrase was acknowledged and accepted. But, that's just it. Attendees took it more as humor than anything else because Microsoft had nothing at the time to really show for it. Ironically, MMS 2010 happened during the Icelandic volcanic eruption that grounded flights overseas due to the size and duration of the resulting ash "cloud." MMS 2010 sold out that year, but almost a quarter of the attendees couldn't make it due to volcanic barrier over Europe. As you can guess, there was humor in that, too. A cloud-centric conference with a cloud-centric message was muted by a cloud. The jokes were fast and furious.

Microsoft took the next two years to evolve and hone its message while developing technologies to back up their vision. Fast forward to today and you see a very different Microsoft and very unique and "visionary" cloud offerings. For the first time ever, MMS 2013 saw Amazon Web Services in attendance, and at the time I thought it strange. Even in April, when the event took place, Microsoft's cloud message was not a strong one. However, it was strong enough for Amazon not only to attend, but also to solicit attendees and invite them to private meetings during the conference. At TechEd 2013 in June, Microsoft offered a very different story. It was strong and full of substance. It offered elements that people could actually grasp and comprehend.

Microsoft is steadily improving their offerings and I can't imagine what the Microsoft cloud will look like in three more years. I can't even begin to visualize which additional cloud competitors might be in attendance at MMS 2014.

Despite taking heat quite often for providing poor forecasting, Gartner seems to have it right.

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