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The Platform Problem

By Steve Jones,

I really like the idea of Azure providing a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for applications to be built on. As I've evolved in my career, I've learned I prefer not to manage individual machines or deal with the complexities of configuring anything outside of SSMS for SQL Server. Working with Hyper-V recently has cemented the idea that I don't become more productive by dealing with the complexity of the Windows host.

However I can't see many customers migrating the majority of their applications to the PaaS Azure service for one reason: there's no competition.

Moving to Azure means placing a big bet that Microsoft will continue to offer the same or more features, more powerful machines, and stability at a reasonable price. Moving to Azure also assumes that you are comfortable working with only Microsoft for the foreseeable future, using their data centers, staff, and products. Any code you write will be specific to Azure.

If you were to use the IaaS services from another vendor, like AWS and their virtual machines, a migration might still require some code changes. However, I'm sure if I contracted for virtual machines from Rackspace or some other provider, I could easily redeploy my application elsewhere. Well, perhaps not easily, but certainly easier than if all my code depended on a platform I can't run inside my own data center. A platform nobody outside of Microsoft can run.

My view is that Azure is a great platform, and one that could explode in usage. If we have choice.

Microsoft should sell us the code to run inside our own data centers, or at least license it for a number of large providers that might want to offer Azure services. Ultimately the success of the platform depends on people choosing Microsoft because it's the best choice, not because it's the only one.

Steve Jones

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