This week Microsoft began allowing the modification of the terms of some of its Enterprise licensing agreements to allow large customers in the United States to run their Windows Servers in the Amazon Cloud.  Larry Dignan at ZDNET posted a great article on the details of the process and the potential costs of this operation.   I highly recommend taking a look at the post.

I am interested in this development from a philosophical perspective.  I believe that Windows Server 2008 R2 is by far and away the best operating system ever built.  If I am the architect of an network infrastructure design Windows Server 2008 R2 is my server of choice.  Imagine if I am architecting a solution for a major corporation, a part of that solution is going to be cloud based.  Amazon EC2 is a logical choice for hosting server instances in the cloud, and Amazon supports Windows Server instances.  The change in licensing opens the door to our enterprise agreement customers to exercise this option.  It just makes sense!  Great Job Licensing team!

A few points.

1. Interoperability is a priority at Microsoft!  Microsoft has put their money where their mouth is, in this case with some of the largest customers.  If you want to run your servers on Amazons EC2 go for it!  (We would like you to run them in an Azure cloud of course.)  The important thing is that the decision is the customers to make. 

2.  Regardless of where the servers run they are still Windows Servers.  The power and capability of Windows Server is extensible into the cloud and will continue to anchor future generations of networks. By enabling customer choice in cloud based operations Windows Server market share and proliferation will continue to grow.  

3.  Microsoft’s key bet continues to be on Windows Server!  Where it runs and who runs it are the bylines to this major theme.  Windows Server is the platform of choice.  Microsoft continues to innovate, and update, and invigorate, this platform.  While there are many who continue to choose other platform options it seems that the choice is more and more based on a long standing relationship and less and less on actual functional comparisons. 

Steve Ballmer used the term “all-in” in his speech about Azure at Washington state University a few weeks back. He indicated that a significant portion of Microsoft’s human resources are working on some form or facet of Azure (cloud) operations.  I am here to tell you that this is not hype.  its true.  The big ship is turning, and it has been for some time now, and its headed right for a bank of clouds.