"What lies beneath Microsoft's Cloud OS?.....
....The NSA of course...Babbage must be spinning in his grave.
Microsoft has a new branding exercise for you called Cloud OS, and for the first time in a while I am on board with the idea. The concepts behind Cloud OS are relatively easy to grasp, but as ever the devil is in the details. This is the first in a three-part series exploring Microsoft's vision and how it stitches together in …
Yes...and no. Microsoft is still addicted to the endpoint. They want their OS everywhere. Microsoft on your lightbulb! (Assuming they can convince someone to cram 8GB of RAM into the damned thing.)
The ticket here is to get people addicted to renting. Microsoft views that ability for individuals and businesses to "sweat their assets" in times of financial downturn as a serious problem. During a financial downturn is when Microsoft needs those steady, ticking revenues the most!
The goal isn't to get the OS off the endpoint, or the server. The goal is to get you on a subscription where you pay every month for the right to use that endpoint/server, with your data as the held hostage to ensure that you'll fire half your staff before you'd ever consider not paying your Microsoft subscription.
In Microsoft's world you can sweat the wetware, but by $deity don't sweat the software.
"The ticket here is to get people addicted to renting. Microsoft views that ability for individuals and businesses to "sweat their assets" in times of financial downturn as a serious problem. During a financial downturn is when Microsoft needs those steady, ticking revenues the most!"
"..with your data as the held hostage"
Also as MS Dynamics begins to crank up and get competitive, they will take on whole enterprise business process.
Some people call this rentier capitalism - Wikipedia Link.
Generally, the idea is that you invent something once and then continue to be able to keep charging for it. If you are powerful enough, you can get legislation to help you - An example would be Disney still having almost exclusive rights to selling Mickey Mouse products. Another way would be to become sufficiently powerful in the market to be able to buy or undercut any prospective competition to your model.
<OLD FART's RANT>
One of the reasons for my cynicism is that I was around in this business when Gates and Allen were still running Traf-O-Data. In the early 1980s I worked for a very large public utility where I helped displaced some complex and expensive mini-based scientific applications with cheaper MS/PC-DOS systems.
When Windows 3 came out we started to move everything over to it. I had lunch with our MS Rep (No, I am not Mike Cox), over coffee we gave him a bad time about Windows 286 and some of the 2-steps-forward-one-step-back "upgrades" to MS-DOS. Someone around the table asked what MS slogan was. The Rep was baffled. We said, you know, like DEC's is "Honesty and respect for customers and employees"; or IBM's "Think". He blurted out "Bill said $100 a year from everybody, for ever". Laughter all around the table. As Windows 3 became 3.1/3.11/95/98 etc, I realized that this was essentially true, and that Microsoft was a "Service" company. You only thought that you owned something.
I set up a company that (amongst other things) wrote Windows software. It became obvious to me that the MS idea of only supporting the current and the previous version of Office and Server Applications with each version of Windows; and requiring you to upgrade from older versions of Windows to use later Office and Server products; may well have been driven by this simple thought. This certainly appeared likely with NT 3.1/3.5/3.51/4.0 multiple service packs/2000 multiple service packs etc.
So, in conclusion, In My (Not So) Humble Opinion, this is not new. Microsoft are now formalising their existing long-term business strategies. They have managed to stay on top by clever marketing to developers, "lock-in" monopolies, a functional and "standard" suite of Office products, very strong developer tools and an ecosystem that relies on almost everything being MS based. If I was still running this sort of stuff for people, I would be worried. As the "Cloud" (horrid description) is deployed in more applications, Microsoft may not be your long-term friend.
</OLD FART's RANT>
Too right, renting stuff to people is actually evil. I wrote this on my own server, powered by my own power station that I had to get a second mortgage for, and I'm connected to the internet via a cell tower I built myself. That cherry picker takes up a third of the garden but it's there when I need it (every 3 years or so), there's no way I'm renting from some usurious hire firm. Nietzsche was right when he said the slaves have all the power because they know how all the tedious shit is done. I could rise up and take over any time...if only I wasn't so broke and buried under maintenance jobs
Too right, renting stuff to people is actually evil. I wrote this on my own server, powered by my own power station...
Funnily enough, I do have my own server, and power station (Solar Panels). A DCF analysis has shown that is not worth my while going completely off grid - We only get an average of 7.9 hours of sunshine a day; but as I am retired, I can use much of my electricity while it is being generated by sunlight.
Not to be too smug about it, I worked hard and am enjoying the benefits before I cark-it. I hope that you are not relying too much on IT as a long-term career. If you are, MS and the rest of the rentiers will try and eliminate your job soon. I'm sorry to say that this may well apply to most of the management droids, spread-sheet jockeys, marketers, sales people, network software support, database admins and general admin bunnies too. It may even apply to lawyers (Most of their work is already carried out by software and paralegals at <$40/hr). Perhaps it has something to do with nearly half of the workforce aspiring to an NQF level of 5 or above. In the 1970's this would have been equivalent to less than one in 10, because most of us did not need it.
I was told in the 1980s (When I was implementing and managing this stuff), that it was all for the good of humanity - We would all be working <20 hrs a week, our standard of living would be much higher and, that because of this, leisure industries were the way of the future. They lied - Work has become the art of more and more with less and less, supported by at least 10% structural un/under-employment. The majority of industrial jobs have gone - Or haven't you noticed the general "dumbing-down" of work. Decisions are now only made by a very select few, whilst the rest of the workforce do what that are told. Market forces and iability avoidance suggest that the people who have power and capital will soon destroy many of the "middle-class" jobs that El-Reg readers rely on. This makes it a bit easier to re-introduce C19th employment practices when your labour pool is a fungible commodity.
I would not have thought that as I got older I would start sounding like a reactionary socialist, normally people become more conservative in their views. Don't believe me - Google "Amazon working conditions"...
I bet the ostlers said much the same as you as their jobs were hacked by the steam train. “Panic no more jobs looking after the ride whilst the owner gets beef and ale. These bloody iron things running in one direction, it’ll all end in disaster” repeat ad nauseam.
Every revolution or slow evolution changes jobs and just because you are looking at the same perspective as you had at say 21 you see devastation. I see opportunity, despite being a similar or a tad lower age than you.
But we have more people employed now than around you in the 80’s and whilst you might look and say they are boring – did you check the car factories in the ‘80s – banging a headlining into a Sierra by hand for an 8 hr shift. The workers at Jaguar now all need a Maths O level (or equiv) at a minimum because of the level of production knowledge they need.
The computing world will provide tons of interesting jobs for ages – the character of them will change – maybe one needs to work with other humans and deal with the sticky ness more – but the jobs are there.
Thank you for your reply. In my career, I was one of the steam train people, generally being at the forefront of changes in IT over the last 40 years.
As I lack false modesty :-) I should tell you that I saw, and took advantage of many opportunities - Large systems replaced by fridge-sized and desktop minis, C and BASIC instead of FORTRAN, PCs replacing Minis, *NIX replacing VMS, NT and Linux displacing *NIX, Oracle replacing Rdb, Microsoft displacing providers like Novell and Sybase - Mostly increasing computing power and generic systems allowing the introduction of higher-level languages and more complex structures. I have also avoided stuff that looked as though it was going nowhere like the original SaaS frameworks. The last stuff that I did involved tablets and phones connecting to the main business, instead of laptops/desktops (Yes I bought the original iPad on the day that it came out, realizing that it was, potentially, a game-changer).
I, too, have worked on production lines before my first "real" careers, generally there was a possibility of progression for some; and for those whose job was boring, they created a life outside of work. I think that the insight that I can offer is that I have actually done most of this, including running technology/science based businesses for business types like bankers; and later setting up my own.
As I said, I suspect that there will be many fewer jobs in IT. You are right about the need for soft skills, but many of the people who got into the IT business did so because they really don't have that type of personality.
I am actually an imposter, my qualifications include Chartered status in one of the fundamental sciences, so I often think that my career was based on an objective analysis of the use of IT to actually get the work done. Least-ways that is what one of my bosses told me, because I did not automatically recommend whatever was hot in IT, and therefore something that would be deployed for my own career progression - Also not having my mind contaminated by COBOL and batch job processing :-)
I suspect that my gift, and my curse, was being one of people who were taught to actually think, so that we could all take advantage of the "white heat of technology".
Do I think that for the majority of humanity things have got better? Yes, particularly if you live in China or India. Do I think that things will get better for the majority of people who work in white-collar jobs in the developed economies? No, and it will be poor for most of them who currently work in IT.
As an aside, look at seeing what work you CAN do without needing to work for a large conventional employer - Cooperatives of peoples with many skills might be a way to go (until somebody decides that they need to be "in charge" to "get things done").
Strangely similar - My degrees are in materials and engineering, then business and went into computers through 7 axis machining. And programing was about deep maths analysis or much later business processes.
I have come from the small world and now work at a big company - mainly because the small company couldn't do heavy lifting - in a big company I get to rule the world. As well as take my wages home in a wheelbarrow.
Broadly I agree with your analysis -- but reckon there is a great opportunity for people entering the job market if they realise you cannot make a career in one area anymore. Cleaving to Linux or Windows is not the way to do it.
And as you say "Do I think that things will get better for the majority of people who work in white-collar jobs? " no - that’s all gone to shit - but for a few stars the world is exciting and well paid. I add myself to that group but I got there not because I know whatever my reports are talking about, but because I combine that, with good business and engineering knowledge. (also handsome too boot, naturally)
There is one technical aspect of Microsoft's "Cloud OS" the article writer did not address and probably is not technically expert enough to address, which is that of the "core" software application of the whole Cloud OS stack - the Windows 2012 Operating System (OS) software.
No amount of completeness, tight or fluent integration of Microsoft Cloud OS services can compensate for the very real and critical weaknesses in Windows OS primarily, and IIS HTTP Server secondarily (along with SQL Server), particularly when compared in every detail of (Cloud Services Required) Robust Reliability, Scalability and Flexibility, adherence to the most critical Open, Internet and International standards Software protocols, and most importantly - an extremely high level of OS and networking Security that meets and or exceeds those set by the US Department of Defense, as one example , in their high security Weapons development operations.
In many comprehensive evaluations and comparisons reports between Microsoft Cloud OS Services and those Cloud Computing Stack based primarily on GNU/Linux and to a lesser degree BSD UNIX-like OS, whether on Amazon EC2 or OpenStack with VMWare V,Sphere, Microsoft has fared badly, which is why the majority of International conglomerates - and Countries' governments - not beholden to Microsoft, as well as entities like Netflix, Verisign, Cisco, all the financial Stock Exchanges internationally, NASA and other major Aerospace organizations, etc, chose and will continue to chose Cloud Computing Services technologies based on these *NIX OS infrastructure. The importance of having an extremely robust, stable and 'utmost' secure OS base cannot be over emphasized.
As one world renowned IBM Fellow and Watson Super Computer senior technologist recent explained, (paraphrasing) “If you build a fabulous "concrete" mansion on top of a "sand/sink hole" foundation, you might as well become a nomad".
I guess you are another one that doesn't understand the difference between Hyper-V Server and Windows Server. The 'core' of this Stack is Hyper-v Server. This is totally free, and DOES NOT INCLUDE WINDOWS SERVER!
"the very real and critical weaknesses in Windows OS primarily, and IIS HTTP Server secondarily (along with SQL Server), particularly when compared in every detail of (Cloud Services Required) Robust Reliability, Scalability and Flexibility, adherence to the most critical Open, Internet and International standards Software protocols, and most importantly - an extremely high level of OS and networking Security that meets and or exceeds those set by the US Department of Defense, as one example , in their high security Weapons development operations."
Actually The Azure an dHyper-V stack do significantly better on ALL of those things than say most common configurations of Cloud Stack....Point me at a Cloud Stack install the size of Azure? No, thought not....A Cloud Stack install that is FedRAMP and DOD certified like Azure? No, thought not...Also, have you allowed for the order of magnitude more security holes to evaluate and patch on a random schedule in an Open Source solution? IIS 8 and IIS 8.5 have zero known vulnerabilities... Not to mention that the Hyper-V Hypervisor scales better than any comparable open source hypervisor, and performance is very close to VMWare - faster in some areas!....1 million IOPS in a SINGLE VM on an Open Source Hypervisor yet? No thought not...Hyper-V did that well over a year ago...
I agree, there is a critical importance to the stability of the underlying OS. Which is why Windows is such a damned fine contender.
Oh, you still think it's a crashy, security nightmare? Sorry, but 10 years ago called, they want their prejudice back. You've a lot to learn. Far more than I'm willing to type out in the comment section here.
Piss on Microsoft for a great many things - gods know I do - but Server 2012 R2 is a damned fine, damned stable operating system. The core install (or the Hyper-V server variant) are both solid offerings. Linux, Unix and so forth have their own issues. When you talk about the "core" of the OS, they are pretty close to equal.
Now, would I prefer a hypervisor based on Wind River or QNX? Sure as hell. Do I believe for a second that Xen or KVM are any better than Hyper-V in the real world? Hell no. I could - at the moment, and not for much longer - be convinced VMware is more stable and secure.
I think you've a lot to learn about Windows Server, how modular it is, how secure it is and - mostly, from your post - how far it's come since your prejudices were formed. It might well be the basis of an interesting article.
"I could - at the moment, and not for much longer - be convinced VMware is more stable and secure."
I have not seen measures of stability, but ESX4 alone has had way more security holes than the whole Windows Server 2008 OS....Largely because of the Linux related parts like the console. I guess that's why VMWare moved to Powershell....
If you compare ESX4 to Hyper-V Server, ESX has a couple of orders of magnitude more security holes!
I currently only one two complaints with Windows Server 2012. First, TIFKAM does not belong within 5 million miles of a server operating system. Classic Shell fixes that problem. Second, currently Server 2012 R2 is incompatible with all versions of Exchange. (That was a lesson I learned the hard way.) Exchange 2013 SP1 will fix that problem next year.
So the biggest flaws of Server 2012 can be fixed with free software or time. Because of that, it is my opinion that Server 2012 is the second best OS Microsoft ever made, behind Windows 7 but ahead of the original Windows Home Server. Server 2012 Essentials makes managing your server really really easy. The more I use it, the more I love it.
"I currently only one two complaints with Windows Server 2012. First, TIFKAM does not belong within 5 million miles of a server operating system."
That's why the default is no GUI.
"Classic Shell fixes that problem. "
Or learning to be a competent system admin and using Powershell, or the RAT.
Well, a lot of the article sounds to me like an advert for Microsoft.
Putting that aside it seems that MS can provide a fairly decent platform if you are really wedded to products other than say The Operating System and say SQLServer.
Not everoyng want IIS, Sharepoint and all that stuff.
My clients don't need any of that. What the do need is a Virtualised system to run the various facets of their business. Here, MS fails miserably (experince speaking). We tried one site with the MS stuff but it had a lot of problems that we weren't seeing with a VMWare based system.
Then there are the problems with MSMQ in a highly distributed environment. What! you can't encrypt the stuff going between systems? Sorry, regulatory constraints demand that. Then there is being forced to used message segmentation when messages go over 4Mb. Fail big time.
Then there was the lack of scalability of BizTalk. It didn't at least not with the application we are selling. Ok in the lab but once you stress it with a large system payload 100mSec response times go out to 3-5 seconds.
So we went for yes a vastly more expensive solution using some IBM products but it just works and a single VM can do the work of 4 Biztalk ones with spare capacity.
We now consider the MS offering to be more of 'never mind the quality, feel the width'. Sadly the width shrinks by 100% in the first wash.
For us it is VMWare all the way.
sorry for the bit of a rant but our one MS VM customer is complaining about performance yet again. Time to migrate him?
"Then there are the problems with MSMQ in a highly distributed environment. What! you can't encrypt the stuff going between systems?"
A simple task - just set an IPSEC policy between the relevant systems...
"Then there was the lack of scalability of BizTalk. It didn't at least not with the application we are selling. Ok in the lab but once you stress it with a large system payload 100mSec response times go out to 3-5 seconds."
BizTalk is VERY scalable - we have well over 200 real time high volume connectors in a mission critical environment. If you have problems with a correctly scaled hardware, storage and database, then you didn't have a competent BizTalk Admin....
'You can create a private cloud with Microsoft's various server technologies on your own premises'
Oh you mean like any traditional server based infrastructure has been installed for the past 15 years?
Private cloud? Gimme a break....
I thought you stated you didn't do marketing speak...'Cloud' is bad enough but 'Private Cloud' really does take the proverbial.......
"Oh you mean like any traditional server based infrastructure has been installed for the past 15 years?"
Like that but plus full cloud management and automation.
For instance a developer can go to a web portal and request a new VM or physical server of a certain size with certain applications provisioned and it will request approval from the appropriate approvers and go and create it, install the OS and apps and then patch it up to date automatically...And add it to your CMDB, set up monitoring, alerting, replication to a DR copy, backups, etc, etc...Oh - and you can migrate VMs too and from Azure itself as well....And that can all be done for multiple tenants on the same underlying infrastructure - via Software Defined Networking - where all tenants can use the same IP address ranges If they want to, but all traffic is secure and partitioned....
Maybe a post-Ballmer-CEO can build on this and make Microsoft an adult, mentally stable, trustworthy and technologically well equipped vendor. I won' be going back to the Microsoft world anytime soon, and probably never but it's always good to see improvements in the marketplace. Well, the next generation of software will probably be talking to you in Mandarin, cloudy or not.
And if Microsoft hopes for the "good times" to roll back in, I have bad news: this recession hasn't appreciably started yet. There are about a hundred trillions of bad debts to expunge still in US dollar alone. Enjoy.
Sorry about the name, my lovely wife is a Potts, out of habit, I guess.
Mind you, I am not an IT specialist, barely a network user. Just seemed like what you were describing was MS combining the work of the "os" and the local machine along with the server, as you said:
"This is an operating system that gives you a single point of management and a single layer of APIs, storage interface and what-have-you stretching from your server closet to the local service provider to Microsoft's Azure data centres around the world."
To me, in a way, like Chrome OS allows doing everything in one browser layer. That was my comparison.
You can ease your mind...its just the way mine works...
All right, let me try to clear this up:
Google's Chrome OS is about running endpoint software applications in a browser. This is mostly so that they can be run as cloudy SaaS apps, but far more importantly so that the application is standards-based and can run on any operating system. ChromeOS's sole purpose is to break the requirement for Windows on the endpoint.
ChromeOS can run an application locally or it can run it from anywhere on the internet, but at the end of the day it is just Linux with a browser on it.
CloudOS is about running backend applications and entire operating systems anywhere you want. Locally, at a service provider, on the Azure cloud. The entire purpose is to lock you into Microsoft's ecosystem so you have to pay Microsoft rental fees to access your own data forever. Your applications can be anything - and they don't have a requirement for any form of user interface - and they can run anywhere.
CloudOS is viewed as the back-end that would power the kinds of SaaSy apps that google wants us all to become addicted to with ChromeOS. Microsoft recognizes that they have lost their endpoint monopoly and are thus seeking a backend monopoly to make up for it.
Google are trying to free us from dependence on any one operating system, or even browser (thus why they fund Mozilla.) If we feel like we have choice as long as we use standards-based web apps then we'll use standards-based web apps! People like to feel they have choice. Anything on the web, Google can track it, monitor it and advertise against it. Google wins.
Microsoft have figured out that there is more money in holding your data hostage than there ever was in holding your endpoint OS and UI hostage. (Thought they'll give that a go, too, for as long as they possibly can.) Hold someone's endpoint or UI hostage and they'll install something like Classic Shell or uBit Menu. Damned people and their damned choice. Had to control.
Hold your data hostage and they'll pay you and pay you and pay you and pay you. If you hold their data you hold their entire business. Once you have them all by the balls you can then start turning the knobs, one at a time. Works for Oracle, Cisco, EMC...
ChromeOS's sole purpose is to break the requirement for Windows on the endpoint.
No, I'd say ChromeOS's primary purpose was to encourage the user to store all his data in Google's cloud, to be sucked clean and spat back as adverts. Google won't mind at all if it hurts Microsoft too, but as I understand Google's plans for world domination they'll quite happy to use a Microsoft-owned endpoint as something to stand on, on the way.
Paris, because I hear she's not fussy who gives her a leg-up, either.
Disagree entirely. You aren't even remotely understanding Google's business model. Google cares nothing about you putting your data in their datacenter. Google Mail, Google Docs and all such things are nothing more than offerings to get you addicted to the cloud. Google doesn't care if you use Google Docs or LibreOffice's upcoming SaaS offering. They don't care if you use Chrome or Firefox. They only care that you do your work online, not locally.
Would Google prefer that you use Chrome over Firefox? Sure. But it's really no skin off their nose if you don't. Would they like to datamine your documents and e-mail? Sure, but it's really no skin off their nose if they can't.
Ultimately, they make their money through your generalized addiction to the net. No on element - email, document, browsing, etc - is enough for them to form a complete picture of an individual. Get the person hooked on thinking of "the computer" as "the network" and "the browser" as "the gateway to my apps and information", however, and suddenly you own that user.
Google are everywhere. They have trackers and Analytics and what-have-you on virtually every site on the internet. Amazon-hosted SaaS app? Awesome! They're probably using Google Analytics.
The only real competitor Google has is Microsoft. Microsoft want to own your data. More importantly, Microsoft want to keep Google out. Microsoft wants to mine your data and they don't want to let Google do so.
So wherever Microsoft can capture data, a user, a website, what-have-you it disappears from Google's Giant Map Of All Of Humanity. That's A Bad Thing as far as Google is concerned. So Google needs to break Microsoft. More importantly, they need to break people from Microsoft.
That means getting them off Windows and off Office and off IE. Google will use any and ever tool to do so. ChromsOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, FirefoxOS, Libre Office, Google Docs...it doesn't matter. What matters is killing that Redmondian Black Hole that Google can't extract data from. Nobody else is really a threat, (well, Facebook...but they are already on the "rapid decline" portion of the exercise,) because everyone else plays ball.
Next up: breaking into China...
but it's exactly the fragility you experienced that is the problem with Microsoft - "black box" installers that sometimes work but often don't; incomprehensible error messages; the fact that things often inexplicably work the second or third time. They failed to make SharePoint reliable in the enterprise so they've abandoned it, and it took them 20 years to get windows right. How long (if ever) it will take to get WASWS right is still very much open to question.
Not really. It always takes Microsoft 3 tries. The first try is ME/Vista/Windows 8. The second try is mostly workable, sort of. The third try is amazing.
Then they "reorganise", decide they need to tear up every single one of their perfectly functional products, piss off their entire user base, burn their partners, create incomprehensible UIs, make their licensing even more draconian and push out another 1.0 turd.
Your alternatives are: Oracle ('nuff said), Apple (fucks given about enterprise = 0), Google (the NSA wishes they were this intrusive), Amazon (run at a loss to capture market share then turn the knobs until long after their screams for mercy have faded into a background din), VMware (dude, where's my strategy?), or Open Source (all right, we have two hands, a GPS and a Sherpa...where's our ASCII?).
HA HA, BUSINESS!
isn't pivotal vmware's "OS for the cloud?" As a non-IT person understands it - pivotal seems to be a paas that allows developers to to program in one place, with IaaS and SaaS resources plugging into it as nameless commodities. unlike azure paas, it seems like pivotal is agnostic to the cloud(s) you use.
alien, b/c i usually don't understand a word anyone is saying.
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