Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Preparing for the Business Cloud

An interesting interview with the head of Microsoft Office products, Chris Capossela provides a clear indication of a couple of things.

  1. Microsoft is investing heavily in Cloud Computing
  2. Cloud Computing is a serious player in not just the consumer space but in business also. ( And not just in Cloud CRM which Salesforce.com leads by a country mile, but in general business applications also)

According to this interview,

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
sees tens of millions of corporate e-mail accounts moving to its data centers
over the next five years, shifting to a business model that may thin profit
margins but generate more revenue.

Microsoft is adding 10,000 servers a month to its Cloud focused data centers. Thats 10,000 servers a month which apparently is equivalent to the entire server count for Facebook. Pretty impressive numbers.

The company said Coca Cola Enterprises Inc (CCE.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
signed up 70,000 seats for Exchange Online, switching over from IBM's Lotus
Domino system

70,000 seats for any software business is a major win, its a true Enterprise sale, and an accurate indicator of whats happening with the business cloud.

The article does indicate however the "Fence sitting" of Microsoft. They see themselves differentiated from traditional service players such as Amazon and Salesforce.com, because they still offer On Premise solutions.

I can see why On Premise for Enterprise, may still be preferred for some large scale multi country integration heavy type applications, but surely Microsoft must see its Email solutions heading up into the clouds? Email solutions don't differ from customer to customer which makes implementation and setup costs very low if not nil.

I know, I haven't used a locally hosted on premise email system in years, and don't see myself ever doing so again.

Its an exciting time as we see large scale vendors adapting to the presence of Cloud Computing in business.