Sunday, March 14, 2010

Steve Ballmer's Cloud Strategy - Hype vs Reality

Looks like Microsoft is betting everything they have on the Cloud these days. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO gave a talk last week at the University of Washington, parts of which you can view below.

Stripped of Microsoft's self-promotion, this was an excellent talk that once again highlights the benefits of the Cloud model, particularly for the enterprise.
In today's business environment where time to market is everything and cost-efficiency is even more, Cloud computing allows any size business to build new offerings and capture new market share without the need for a large up-front investment in IT systems and infrastructure.
Ballmer also speaks about the influence of the Cloud on the mobile market. From Magic Software's perspective, the advent of the Cloud and in particular Rich Internet Applications (RIA), has been a major technological breakthrough that's now driving the uptake of the mobile enterprise market. Mobile handsets can now display a myriad of rich information compiled from a range of heavy back-end systems (this requires a combination of a RIA application development platform with a data integration platform).
This capability to host powerful and rich enterprise resources despite the limited size of mobile devices is rapidly making the desktop PC redundant and is enabling a small revolution in field services - particularly sales and industries such as manufacturing,fleet management, logistics and distribution.
Ballmer also spoke about Microsoft's new Azure platform, which I'm a little sceptical about. I'm sticking to my guns on this one in believing that while nice, the Azure platform will not be a game changer, not overnight anyhow. Businesses will continue to host their applications on their own servers for many years to come. No CEO or CFO is going to sign away a company's exisiting IT infrastructure to Microsoft's Cloud if their on-premise systems continue to perform well and support existing business.
However, there can be no denying the force of the Cloud for providing a cost-efficient means of developing your market presence. Companies are going to need a means of keeping their on-premise systems current will also providing a Public or Private Cloud application version.
For that they will be needing a platform such as uniPaaS, which to date, is the only application development platform that can offer both Cloud and on-premise deployment modes using the same single codebase.