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Microsoft developer and platform general manager Matt Thompson has claimed that among startups across the United States, interest in Google's App Engine is "almost nonexistent" and that only a "tiny number" have an eye on Salesforce's Force.com. Citing a recent Microsoft survey, Thompson said that if startups are interested in …

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Jobs Horns

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

We've been looking long and hard at cloud offerings and the M$ offering is close to being the worst of what we've seen. Q: what tools do you use for virtualisation? M$: Hyper-V Q: We use that as well and we have all sorts of problems with it. M$: We run a special version. Q: One with all the bugs removed? M$: I'm not sure I'd put it like that but basically ... yes.

It's laughable to say the least - but it does provide entertainment and pay the mortgage.

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Well, makes sense...

What would you rather: a cloud with an infrastructure you could mimic on your own/one for which there are multiple possible vendors or a cloud that once you develop your application for it, you are locked in and they OWN you? Personally, I’d head for the one where there’s some actual competition.

So that’s openstack, innit?

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Tiny numbers

Okay, so half the Internet seems to be on AWS, and a few sites use App Engine... but who uses Azure, exactly? I can't think of a single example. I wonder are Google's tiny, almost non-existent numbers bigger than Microsoft's ones?

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Who uses Azure

Plenty http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/evidence/

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FAIL

All Talk

It's not what you say, it's what you do. My company has been using Appengine for several production applications for two years, while Azure is still basically a technology preview.

But let's suspend disbelief, and ignore Appengine's superior maturity, stability and cost because some guy who doesn't wear a jacket says appengine is "almost non-existent". Microsoft are still going to find the institutional memory of how they treated their customers in the bad old monopoly days very hard to shift. It would be a foolhardy CTO who'd surrender his company's web infrastructure to Microsoft's tender mercies.

You might argue that the same CTO would be just as foolhardy to trust in Google's tender mercies, to which I'd make two points. First, Google's track record might not be the unblemished non-evilness they'd like you to believe, but compared to Microsoft's satanic reign of dirty tricks and exploitation, they are choirboys. Secondly, Appengine provides easy access to your data, and sponsors a project that makes a stand-alone version of appengine that you can pretty much drop your code and data into. So if Google do leave the choir stall, our apps can leave Google.

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Happy

agreed but....

There are some caveats.... Part of the allure of GAE (google apps engine) is that offers the ability to perform single sign-on for your application through google accounts, you can also tie in google talk and gmail for communications, etc etc. Google offers a way to use open source code for your app (java/python) but once you start to integrate your app with Google's web services you are just as locked in as you would be at M$. Sure unlike M$ code you CAN drop the google portions and rewrite new versions and migrate the JAVA portions, but unless Google really is making life difficult you wont go through such an effort.

So be warned... Don't mix your app code with proprietary API's like Google Apps, or be prepared to pay the toll to infinity. Will developers be able to resist the easy path and make their own modules, or just re-use the Google API?.... thats right so get used to BigBrother being around

That said I also think that history should show us that when M$ says a competitor is small or no threat, it means M$ has already lost the game. From this article my take away is that M$ sees AWS and GAE as the two current owners of the cloud market.*

*Note: The article doesn't really cover the complexities of cloud services. As it stands Google offers PaaS (Platform as a service.) which a environment to develop and host applications on. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) Basically Amazon rents on-demand web servers through a easy to use and manage interface.

Both let you scale up applications dynamically and offer them through the cloud but are very different offerings and attract for now mostly different types of customers.

Granted they are likely to move towards competing more directly with each other over time.

MS Azure (as I understand it) is offering both a PaaS and IaaS (and SaaS as well) solution. However what they "appear" to be selling is primarily hosted MS servers (or their Office SaaS solution).

SalesForce is a niche player to some degree, but they have been milking their customers with very high rates, so they do have several billions of dollars of revenue in their war chest to fight back against GAE engine. Another player is VMware with their vFabric, (which Salesforce is reselling). Oh and did I mention that you can run Google apps on Force.com, or Force.com apps in GAE?

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Customer Support

It is a really good idea to put your infrastructure on a company that will give you a phone number in case it all goes hideously wrong.

At this years cloud summit all the panellists agreed that support from Google and Amazon was non-existant and it took months for Amazon to agree that part of the cluster was corrupt. Google was post into the forum and pray.

NO idea what support is like for Azure since there were no customers to talk to.

SalesForce are good at communicating - no idea on support

@UK PLC have a million users and we publish our phone number

So you can phone us up, and if you are local can visit and personally rant. However, we have learnt that it is much better if everything just works all the time.

All the best

Ronald

@UK PLC

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Data Portablity

The key bit is being able to extract your data and migrate it somewhere else if you need to move.

E.G. We had a customer with a great ecommerce site, they tried to sell the business a couple of years ago, and the purchasers wanted to know who owned the IPR. It was running on our Cloud (before cloud hype arrived, today we could probably go on about it being on the UK's leading cloud etc etc and how sexy they were along with our migration guarantee).

Anyway, we helped them build a standalone site, and then replicated the data onto the site, and managed the switch over so there was no data loss and a clean migration to the new site.

It is no longer multi datacentre, load balanced always up etc, but the buyers lawyers are happy and they sold the company to the new owners. We may get them back at some point when they need to upgrade things, and find that this is a little more difficult.

All the best

Ronald

@UK PLC

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Yes, you are all talk

While clearly you are unbiased, lol, App Engines stability has been under a lot of question in recent times. It didn't help when Gmail lost 150,000 peoples email.

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IT Angle

Ahh, Schadenfreude

My First response: Well, what a lot of Schadenfreude from a Microsoft executive - and what a surprise, at that! That is how Microsoft does competitive business, these days, after all - don't they, though? by FUDing the competition?

My Second response: Who cares what he has to say about it? I expect that his remarks will only serve to pique interest in that which he's apparently tried to wipe out of the popular attention, with the remarks. *

* Comment does not apply to Microsoft Certified Tools. May apply to non-tool engineers.

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Silver badge
WTF?

It's so insignificant Microsoft has to take time out to ....

knock the competition as it is undoubtedly seen as a threat to MS.

Chances are Google is streaks ahead of MS. Following the Amazon Wikileaks debacle it is necessary to consider other aspects of vendors. MS has a track record of opening up it's vaults to law enforcement for minimal reasons whereas Google has a history of resistance.

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FAIL

Old tactics

We've seen these advertising tactics already. Probably most recently with Apple and Adobe. Microsoft is to Amazon EC2 and Google App Engine with Azure what Apple was to Adobe Flash with Gianduia. If you're going to have a bash at the competition to release a directly competing product, you'll need to hit alot harder than this unconvincing and transparent attempt.

Also helps if you have something which genuinely competes.

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Bronze badge

Differences between Microsoft and Google

Why would Microsoft be worried?

Could it be that Google are astonishingly efficient in the software that they produce and that their products are very popular? It also often comes at the price of your personal data and usage habits.

While Microsoft produces software that is very financially expensive and resource instensive, very hit-or-miss, requires an inordinate amount of maintenance and just when you've gotten used to to it, they go and change the entire user interface.

Microsoft, it seems to me, only understands the wishes/fears of upper management (although her xbox and mouse customers seem to be quite satisfied too). In the meanwhilst, Apple and Google are finding new market segments and showing the world how to make themselves rich and their customers happy.

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Anonymous Coward

'No one cares about Google's dev cloud'

... except everyone... except us.

Denial, helps civilisation ignore fate since 100,000BC.

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FAIL

My Response:

Microsoft:

Nobody cares about Windows Mobile 7, Xbox or Kinect.

No go away and stop telling us what to think and what to buy.

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FAIL

Hey Look!

It's another playground pissing contest!

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Thumb Up

The Register Google lovers!

Who cares about Google, except for the Register Fangirl's who tend to champion Google's faux-open source credentials. lol.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Microsoft are meant to be switching to the cloud but are NOT yet eating their own dog food

I spoke with their UK CTO last year, and the plan then was that they were going to have 90% of their developers working on Cloud by this year, and that they would deploy 12,000 servers a month for the infrastructure ( the same no as Face book have).

That was the rhetoric.

I think the reality will be a bit more like when they said hotmail would move to Exchange (never happened because no matter how much hardware you have Exchange would not cope with that user base).

When Azure runs Bing, Hotmail and MSN then it will be tried and tested.

The same goes for Google Apps, when it runs google search it will be tried and tested.

In the meantime Saleforce and @UK PLC run their core applications on their clouds, and developed the clouds over the past 10 years to meet the demands of running the core applications.

* 100% uptime,

* No downtime for upgrades

* Scales to meet demand

* etc etc

Amazon EC2 is allowing people to share the infrastructure, rather than the software platform and infrastructure, but at least I assume that the core system is also running on this infrastructure.

regards

Ronald

@UK PLC

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Tough

"the Register Fangirl's"

The Register Fangirl's what? :-)

As for 'No one cares about Google's dev cloud', I think that means they care very much. Poor old MS - sheds of money, but what they really want is to be loved...

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Badgers

Well they're kind of right...

... but then again I don't care about MS's cloud ideas either.

My hard drive is faster than my Internet connection, you see.

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Anonymous Coward

number of instances / role sizes

" Unlike Amazon's EC2 "infrastructure cloud", these platform clouds let you build and host applications without juggling virtual-machine instances and other raw infrastructure resources" ... that's plain wrong.

In Azure when you write an app you have to decide how many instances (VMs) you want to run it and how big (CPU/RAM/Throughput) you want them to be (ie decide a charging multiplier for compute hours)

With EC2 ... you deploy an app as writte. no drama. With AppEngine there's a bit of Python kludge but if that's your thing then you're laughing. With Azure... well, it's a bastardized re-write of .Net apps minus the perf advantages of running on bare metal (SQL for instance is almost unusably slow)

Not that Azure is bad but... if Microsoft's own sales wonks (sorry, geeks who don't wear jackets) don't know what it is then they have a problem right there

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Linux

Clarification

The Azure cloud can easily handle the load from the established user base of Nokia WinPhones. Furthermore, they can grow 10-15% without issues, except for any day that has a 'y' in it, of course.

I am just waiting for the Blue Cloud of Death taking down the Eastern seaboard of the US when a driver upgrade on a MS hosted server goes wonky.

P.S. Double handed high five to itsallcrap for his comment. Took the words right out of my mouth. :-)

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Happy

Microsoft main problem?

somebody else got there first (as usual)

Sour and Grapes anybody

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Anonymous Coward

Why Azure?

As a .net dev, I still don't understand what Azure would help me with, its another different way to do things and it has complex pricing/licensing involved... why wouldn't I just host my service on a normal web host?

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Jobs Horns

It's all about the jackets

Seriously, all y'all are missing the main competitive point here -- it's all about who wears a jacket. I mean, Werner had just been up there in his famous blue jacket, Randy Bias was wearing a nice pinstripe, and even Alastair, the event host, was wearing a jacket... it all adds up. Clearly, MS dude was the only one not wearing a jacket and that's what's important to be credible to cloud developers.

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