This past week, the Icelandic Volcano reminded us that not everything goes as planned.  Sometimes, changes in the fundamental environment change what is practical and profitable.  The Icelandic volcano that caused the Ash Cloud over Europe is temporary (at least we hope it is short lived), and the ash will eventually dissipate, but already there are fears that several smaller independent airlines might go out of business due to the disruption.  On the other hand, there were many businesses that profited. The rail system was fully booked, hotels saw an uptick, and I saw one article that said John Cleese spent several thousand Euros for a cab ride to get where he needed to go.  In every cloud, there is a silver lining.

Today's IT clouds are just forming, but unlike the Icelandic cloud, they have the potential of building in momentum and will become permanent.  Just like the Icelandic cloud, these IT Clouds will disrupt the normal course of business, fundamentally changing the economics of providing services by leveraging massively scalable infrastructure, only recently possible due to the growing prevalence of high speed global bandwidth, and development of highly scalable, distributed, applications.  While the economics of hosted applications will change, new opportunities will also emerge.  In the end, all business is still local and every customer is a customer of 1.  Partners will still serve each individual customer's needs, but their fundamental tools may change.  Partners may choose to use the cloud as their platform for the ubiquity, scale and resulting lower cost it provides them, or partners may still offer their own hosted services that are very unique and not possible with the current cloud platforms. 

Microsoft is committed and reliant on partners as we launch our cloud based services, whether it's enabling partners to provide their own cloud infrastructure services with the Dynamic Data Center Toolkit, use Azure,  become a partner of BPOS, or have unique Partner Hosted offerings.  We're here to work with partners as the cloud builds steam, encircles the world. The cloud is coming and we want to be a part of it with you!

 

Alex Danyluk, Industry Marketing Director, Microsoft Communications Sector