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Microsoft is dreaming in the clouds, when it comes to its new OS

Microsoft and free aren't words that you expect together in a sentence.  While the prolific operating system maker has been generous in offering discounted licenses to students and to developing nations, it has always made sure it got its fair slice.

Well for a limited time, developers will get to use and test a unique new OS from Microsoft -- Windows Azure -- entirely for free.  The new OS marks the release of Microsoft's long awaited cloud computing operating system.

For those in the dark about cloud computing, you're not alone -- the abstract concept is a new one and very challenging to developers.  In basic principle, it’s the concept of offloading tasks from workstations to cloud clusters -- high powered groups of servers.  This setup leverages modern high-speed internet connections to deliver data storage, applications hosting and more.

Cloud computing is tremendously popular, as it is widely viewed as the future of web hosting.  One key reason for this is that cloud computing allows applications to easily scale to match rising or falling demand, without shifting local hardware.  In order to deliver increasingly rich applications over an internet interface, moving to a cloud computing architecture becomes increasingly necessary.  However, until now cloud computing lacked a single iconic operating system specially designed for it.

That has all changed with the release of Microsoft's Azure.  The new OS is a community preview, available free to any developers.  This is a slight departure from Microsoft's RM/Beta/Alpha sequence typical to many of its operating systems, though it has done community previews of other releases before. 

"How long until the OS hits the market," is one question many will ask.  Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie was on hand to answer questions about the new OS, and he fielded this one.  He stated, "Well, when we finally determine that it achieves the objectives from a completeness perspective and a reliability perspective that our customers would expect of us, then we'll go commercial. And when it does, it will be profitable from birth because we're going to price it to be that way."

While Microsoft's OS is similar, according to Mr. Ozzie, to Amazon's EC2 web service in some respects, it is overall rather unique.  Some users will be confused, he says, to restart their computers only to find their hard drives empty.  Despite the .NET foundation, developers will have to adapt to the new storage system and adapt to the new error handling system.

Mr. Ozzie says that Microsoft's growing interest in data centers and serving is the key to the company's success.  He says, "It's a business that we will be in probably as long as there will be a Microsoft. ... Cloud computing is ultimately going to be 'do you trust this provider to have more to lose than I have to lose as a company if they mess me up?' And Microsoft has both the capacity to invest and the willingness to be in that end of a business, and give that kind of a trust assurance to developers and enterprises."

While many outside the development community will  meet the news of this new Microsoft OS with a bit of confusion as it’s not something they can easily experience, the bottom line is that this OS will help drive a new generation of feature-rich websites.  And while cloud computing from an architecture standpoint might be perplexing to some, being able to use rich applications like word processing online, with free storage, would be easy to understand, and a highly desired development.

As for Mr. Ozzie, he firmly believes the new OS represents the future of Windows, and is perhaps more critical than even Windows 7.  He says that in 20 years, cloud computers will be household items and the once foreign concept will have been embraced, much as the personal computer was two decades ago.  Says Mr. Ozzie, "It's a new kind of computer that 20 years from now we'll wonder how we did without."

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Cloud Computing Security
By SilthDraeth on 10/29/2008 10:13:19 AM , Rating: 4
The concept is nice, and granted a company that provides the services in the cloud for the users will more than likely be mandated to provide higher levels of security than the average joe does on his home computer.

But I still feel that putting all of your information in the cloud is a recipe for disaster. It may also open the companies up to being sued if the information gets compromised.

Can we encrypt our portion of the cloud like we can encrypt our own personal hard drives?

I am sure the tinfoil hat crowd will fill in the rest of the dangers.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By Procurion on 10/29/2008 10:20:58 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed. Why don't we have places where we can just put all of our checkbooks and personal papers....just hand them to thru a window to someone we can't see? All of my companies records, scripts for movie ideas, books I may write? I think the answer is obvious. These are personal and private. You will never, ever see me storing personal data in a cloud network. I WILL NOT BE ASSIMILATED!!!

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By therealnickdanger on 10/29/2008 10:25:20 AM , Rating: 2

I feel as you do on this one, but there was a time when people said the same about buying products online... and that was only 10 years ago.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By tedrodai on 10/29/2008 11:32:52 AM , Rating: 3
I never had any qualms about buying products online, but I sure as heck won't ever be storing personal information on a cloud computer (intentionally). Cloud computing has its uses, I'm sure, but that doesn't mean it'll get rid of the need for personal computers.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By othercents on 10/29/2008 11:50:19 AM , Rating: 3
What about in reverse? In cloud computing can the provider be sued for storing and distributing copy-writed material? What happens to my iTunes with 500+ songs on it? Then you also have the issue of big brother where my 500+ songs get deleted because they can't confirm if the songs were legal or not.


RE: Cloud Computing Security
By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 1:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are looking far too deep into this. This is not going to replace your home desktop anytime soon. The entire point of cloud computing is to free up your resources and lower system requirements on client computers. What point would there be of having cloud setup if it required you to have a server in your home when the majority of families have only one or two computers. Having to buy a server would be more costly, which totally negates the point of cloud computing.

This is going to be used first in the business environment, then may trickle down to home use in a number of years, if it ever does.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By drebo on 10/29/2008 3:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
You're thinking about this in the wrong way.

What they're talking about is exactly what you're saying it's not. You're treating this as if it were a distrubuted computing effort similar to HP's blade workstations or even a Citrix/TS thin client setup. That's not what this is.

In cloud computing, the cloud is the internet. The public internet. You have a small system at your home that is low-cost, low-power that runs a small OS which connects you, via the internet (or cloud), to a server which houses all of your applications. You buy your cheap device, pay for an internet connection, and then pay Microsoft a fee to be able to connect to this service, giving you access to all of the applications they want you to have.

Personally, I don't think that US broadband internet services are up to snuff yet, but I think the idea is very sound. Software-as-a-service is the future of software sales, and this so-called "cloud computing" is the first step toward bringing that to the general public.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By MrPoletski on 11/2/2008 9:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
... just look at steam, while it's not a per-month thing it is a sealed software environment that has installed applications tagged to your unique user account. You buy within steam, you install within steam and you run within steam. .

Now combine this with an MMporg style game (like eve, which is now available on steam) and you have basically the same environment (for your games only) as a cloud computer.

Now offload some of the content on to the web and have it download it as required to save space. You might even include streaming data. This is basically what it is.

Now expand steam so that it is your OS and runs everything, not just games. Now we have this new microsoft product.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By Dreifort on 10/31/2008 11:14:46 AM , Rating: 2
is this Microsoft's attempt to thwart netbooks?

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By Neutrion on 10/29/2008 9:11:05 PM , Rating: 3
Many companies store your info (CC #, CVV #, your name, address, etc.) for years when you buy from them. Just look at all of the scandals over the last year of the major corporations and their "massive leaks of customer information."

Before we go off the deep end, let's see what this actually is.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 11:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
You store personal data on your school/business computer?
As these are the environments cloud computing would be implemented, I seems to me that you are just a fool storing personal data on your computer in the first place.

Microsoft is not trying to get you to replace your home windows computer with a web based cloud computing client in which you personal data is stored elsewhere. I too would not accept this solution. But in this situation it is no different than storing data on a network drive, which personaly, all of my sensitive work data is stored, as it is backup up nightly. Having sensitive data only stored on your personal computer is far more risky, you never know when your computer is going to crash, or a piece of hardware will fail.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By drebo on 10/29/2008 1:50:24 PM , Rating: 4
Microsoft is not trying to get you to replace your home windows computer with a web based cloud computing client in which you personal data is stored elsewhere.

Actually, that's EXACTLY what they're trying to do. Low-cost thin clients for the masses.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By Mojo the Monkey on 10/29/2008 4:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well, then I foresee this being being the first REAL threat to Microsoft's dominance in their field. If you acquire and easily change your cloud operating system, its going to level the playing field for the other players waiting in the wings.

I think that this is where the rumors of the Google cloud OS come into play. If I cant use my OS to run high-intensity apps or games, its not going to take much more than a cheaper (or free), more intuitive solution to make me switch to something else, especially not being time-invested like you are with a multiple-hour install process. (Windows [all])

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By drebo on 10/29/2008 6:22:50 PM , Rating: 3
Well, this particular software solution IS a Microsoft initiative. I wouldn't put it past Google to offer something similar, though.

The idea behind this is that you pay a small amount for an appliance device which lets you connect to the internet and to their cloud operating system. There wouldn't be any interoperability because the particular cloud "server" would only run its type of OS. So Microsoft's clouds would allow this Windows Azure client OS to connect to them. All software and data is store on their servers, and they allow you to use them.

Where this is useful is for the vast majority of low-income, low-usage consumers. People who only use their computers for email, word processing, and to surf the internet. They don't need a full-featured computer at their home. They can connect to the cloud for a nominal fee and get access to all of their applications without having to buy them.

In an ideal world, you'd see something like tiered software packages. For $10/mo, you get access to IE, Outlook, Works, maybe. For $20/mo, you get access to Microsoft Office and Expression in addition to the above. It would be nice to include other publishers such as Adobe in there as well. Most people cannot afford to pay the absurd sums for Photoshop or Dreamweaver, but would like to use.

Again, this is a step toward the software-as-a-service model. While it's not the answer for everyone, it is a good alternative (as long as it's priced right) for people who cannot afford all the extras that go with a computer. For instance, a computer with XP, Office Home and Student, a flat screen, and mouse+keyboard costs about $1000. At $20/mo, assuming $400 cost of acquisition for the device and monitor/keyboard/mouse, that's 30 months of service for the same amount and a generous pricetag on the equipment. You would probably see providers offering the quipment for free or heavily discounted in exchange with a contract term, similar to cell phones.

There is usefulness to a product like this. But, again, I think US broadband internet is far too underdeveloped at this point.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By Neutrion on 10/29/2008 9:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
Does your personal data go INTO that network? I saw it as a set of programs you could use that stores your data on your machine. There was a version of WordPerfect (a long time ago) that allowed you to trial the program online (and also I think Microsoft allows this with Office) that you can use the software off of the internet and save to your local harddisk.

I guess at worst the data is there for three seconds, but that is still three seconds too long. If they can get the saving function to the user's machine, that may be better.

I'm not sure how I feel on this. We'll need to let it develop to see more about it for a better feel of the issues and strengths, not the knee-jerk "OMG A CHANGE IN THINKING I CAN'T D0 IT!!!!111oneoneeleven"

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By PrinceGaz on 10/30/2008 4:32:59 AM , Rating: 3
You don't understand what cloud-computing is.

Your PC will essentially be relegated to a role as being a dumb terminal, with the software application you are using, along with whichever file you are working on being on the remote server.

I for one will continue to use apps that I run from my local hard-drive, rather than acting as a terminal to something Google or Microsoft are running for me. And all my documents will definitely be held locally where I know who has access to them, and can back them up myself onto a DVD.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By nafhan on 10/29/2008 10:27:18 AM , Rating: 2
Probably any personal and/or confidential data that you would not feel comfortable putting in the cloud could be kept locally on something akin to a thumb drive or maybe a cellphone.
Also, even if most people and businesses move "to the cloud" there will always be some that keep systems completely offline for security or other reasons.

RE: Cloud Computing Security
By djcameron on 10/29/2008 10:56:04 AM , Rating: 3
Businesses. Large corporations can use something like this in the workplace.

By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 10:59:01 AM , Rating: 2
There is a vast difference, I really don't think the emphasis here is on web based applications, there are already many ways to do this.

From my perspective, this has a lot more to do with doing away with powerful desktops to run todays intensive applications, and replace them with server side programs, in which little power is needed by the desktop. Having the ability to run programs like autocad and photoshop without needed tons of resources on the desktop would be a great advancement in computing.

Current desktops are a waste of power and space for the most part. Even gaming could eventually take this approach, I remember there is already a program that lets you stream your game over VNC, and requires much less power on the server as it is not actually using any resources to output the video.

By Procurion on 10/29/2008 11:26:39 AM , Rating: 2
What happens when a node fails? What happens when hackers go postal with denial of service attacks? How much work will your employees accomplish when a key part of the cloud is down? What happens when there are weather events or even construction and your internet service is down? Shutter the business?

The entire concept is BS. Cloud computing is utopia and free? It is called a "revenue stream". A business model to get recurring payments from anyone who wants to use a computer. It is not utopia-rather the opposite. It is the claw of the predator that is trying to end your freedom :)

By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 11:40:32 AM , Rating: 5
What happens when a node fails?
You would have a backup, just as nobody in their right mind would host a large amount of users and only have one server.
What happens when hackers go postal with denial of service attacks?
Its internal, you don't give external incoming access to a storage server, why would you do this in this situation. i.e you can't attack what you can't see.
How much work will your employees accomplish when a key part of the cloud is down?
Once again, most schools and corporate institutions use network drives for hosting important files. Once again, a simple backup server is an easy solution, and since you don't need to buy expensive workstations is still a far cheaper solution, which is pretty much where MS is trying to take this.
What happens when there are weather events or even construction and your internet service is down?
What does the internet service have to do with anything, this would be internal, you don't even need to have internet access for this to be implemented.

You obviously do not have a grasp with the focus of cloud computing. A server with four backups would still be a cheaper solution than constantly buying and upgrading all of your workstations. The benefits would be seen within a short period, and would not take years to make back your money. Cloud computing is the future, Microsoft see this, Google sees this, and much of the business community sees this. And I really don't see how there would be any reoccurring payments, it would be no different than the license system Microsoft currently employs.

P.S thanks for not reading my post above and replying to it. Had you read it you would have seen the big title which reads, 'Cloud computer != WEB BASED COMPUTING!'

By rdeegvainl on 10/29/2008 11:44:06 AM , Rating: 1
Finally, someone who understands.

By Procurion on 10/29/2008 1:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I see the future-it is you who do not understand- I was programming on ticker tape originally, my friend. Reference the following wikipedia entry which references current views and plans-the list of which is at the bottom of the page. "Cloud computing is Internet-based ("cloud") development and use of computer technology ("computing"). The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet (based on how it is depicted in computer network diagrams) and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.[1] It is a style of computing in which IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service”,[2] allowing users to access technology-enabled services from the Internet ("in the cloud")[3] without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.[4] According to a 2008 paper published by IEEE Internet Computing "Cloud Computing is a paradigm in which information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and cached temporarily on clients that include desktops, entertainment centers, table computers, notebooks, wall computers, handhelds, sensors, monitors, etc."[5]" from which is very clear. If you insist on arguing the point I will reference you Microsofts' own paper on the subject.

By kalak on 10/30/2008 8:55:44 AM , Rating: 3
You obviously do not have a grasp with the focus of cloud computing. A server with four backups would still be a cheaper solution than constantly buying and upgrading all of your workstations

Hmmmm... So, Cloud Computer = Mainframe
We are walking back to the IBM era....

By Smilin on 10/31/2008 2:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get it. You're talking about vulnerabilities of current systems rather than cloud.

If a node fails there are many others that will continue running. If a node starts to get overloaded (say you're amazon and it's christmas) then more are brought online in SECONDS to handle the load.

DOS attack? I assume you mean DDOS attack. If your running an ecommerce site then you are always susceptible to this. It's going to be a lot harder to take down a microsoft data center than most typical companies.

What if you're not running ecommerce? What if you're running line of business apps? It's kinda hard to DDOS attack from foreign addresses that are not allowed on the system to begin with. It takes a router just a couple instructions of processing to drop such packets.

You go ahead and keep thinking that cloud computing is BS. You're probably still grappling with the idea of the Intarwebs not being just a fad. "claw of the predator that is trying to end your freedom?" HAHA go sit in a corner and rock back and forth with your tinfoil hat.

By Spectator on 10/30/2008 4:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
I dont mind the concept. but they are having developers test it?

Dev's i know use at least 2 displays. I use 1600x1200 X 2.

So what sort of net connection would you need to shunt even. 3200x1200x4x(60? fps)

As for Bandwidth caps, logically I assume MS would make deals with ISP's for that particular site.

By berkes on 10/31/2008 1:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
Its not remote desktop , its just data from the applications passing on your network. Display sizes dont matter

What's old is new again?
By guacamojo on 10/29/2008 10:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
I really like this concept, but isn't this basically just a return to the old mainframe/terminal architecture?

Sure, both the server and the terminal have each gotten far more capable, and you're not just sending text anymore, but still... maybe I'm just feeling like an old curmudgeon this morning, but it sounds to me like fancy new names for a (basically) old concept.

Will we pay by the amount of "cloud" CPU time that we use? </flashback>

RE: What's old is new again?
By Spivonious on 10/29/2008 11:43:48 AM , Rating: 2
It is, but on a much larger scale. Your employees could access your "mainframe" from anywhere in the world.

RE: What's old is new again?
By FreeTard on 10/29/2008 12:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the same thing. I remember dumb terminals.

I'm not complaining or knocking it. It is interesting how we're talking about a loop back to mainframe days with a twist.

RE: What's old is new again?
By flydian on 10/29/2008 4:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Does this mean that I can finally upgrade my AS400 system?

RE: What's old is new again?
By kelmon on 10/30/2008 8:33:57 AM , Rating: 2
We're still using them today. I think we looked at client-server architecture for the core corporate systems but the mainframes are so good at crunching huge quantities of numbers that we stick with them.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

RE: What's old is new again?
By kalak on 10/30/2008 9:03:18 AM , Rating: 2
but the mainframes are so good at crunching huge quantities of numbers that we stick with them

Yeah, but think about it: today, Mainframe=IBM. Could you imagine a Microsoft Mainframe ? Could you imagine a "Mainframe Windows" ???
Oh dear... We will have to IPL once a month....

RE: What's old is new again?
By Smilin on 10/31/2008 2:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
"I really like this concept, but isn't this basically just a return to the old mainframe/terminal architecture?"

There is some of that, sure. It's really more of the even earlier stuff when companies didn't have computers and bought timeslices on someone else.

The costs may be related to various resource usage: cpu/memory/network/storage. The nice part is you pay for what you use instead of having 5000 servers in a data center with some running at capacity, some nearly idle, and some swinging wildly back and forth.

VMs are another old mainframe kind of concept.

Mind you "new and improved" doesn't even begin to describe the differences.

By strikeback03 on 10/29/2008 10:07:45 AM , Rating: 2
...20 years from now we will have internet connections which are reliable enough to support this concept.

RE: Hopefully...
By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 10:17:13 AM , Rating: 5
<insert Microsoft flame before reading any of the article here>

Whoever said this would be over the internet only. In fact chances are it will be quite the opposite. Instead of having every computer in a workplace or school for example with enough power to run any application, you simply change this to a server side solution, in which the servers do the heavy lifting, and all that is required is a basic desktop in which the programs are basically 'streamed' from the server.

Bandwidth is a non issue, as this would be internal use.

RE: Hopefully...
By mmntech on 10/29/2008 10:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
Lol. True, especially here in North America. Download caps and limited speeds being imposed by ISPs are a huge barrier. The reason they exist is because our internet service is built on top of an ageing infrastructure. I doubt it could handle the kind of burden cloud computing would put on it. We were already warned that the internet can't replace TV due to bandwidth issues. For it to work, governments and corporations need to get together to modernize the way we communicate data.

RE: Hopefully...
By icanhascpu on 10/30/2008 4:18:13 PM , Rating: 2

Untrue. You two need to understand what cloud computing is before making asinine remarks and complaints.

Charges to come!
By Cheapshot on 10/29/2008 10:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
There is always something in it for Big Business. Perhaps a re-nig on the Free part when it comes to storage... or charges for use of new software... it will come.

RE: Charges to come!
By dever on 10/29/2008 11:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
always something in it for Big Business
Wait, why are they in business? Oh, that's right, to work as slaves to your every whim without compensation. Shouldn't that be the same for "Small Business" too?

RE: Charges to come!
By bldckstark on 10/29/2008 12:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
I've got nothing against poor spelling or bad grammar, but the word you want to use is renege, not re-nig.

RE: Charges to come!
By omnicronx on 10/29/2008 1:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
HaHa, racist by mistake!

This seems backwards
By drebo on 10/29/2008 10:22:16 AM , Rating: 2
This article seems to fly in the face of current trends in web development. Web developers are offloading MORE of the work to client computers, not less. Think about it: how many sites now use client-side form validation, AJAX, and various other client-side elements such as Silverlight and Flash. Those are all client-side ways of doing things that the server used to have to do. The trend is toward this, not the other way around.

The cloud computing effort, I think, has almost nothing to do with web development, and everything to do with cheap, inexpensive, software-as-a-service computers. The model is worked for Google in the past, and now Microsoft wants to cash in on it.

RE: This seems backwards
By safcman84 on 10/29/2008 10:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
No, I beg to differ. I have lost count of the amount of applications that sales people have tried to sell us that are web-based and require no installation on local hard drives.

I work in e-learning and one of the best apps we use allows several people to work on the same project file at the same time, with changes being made all at the same time while avoiding the need to merge to different versions of the project file at the end.

2 developers in india can work on different parts of the project, while the manager in the USA can quality check the work and leave comments as the work progresses. all this is done via a server and web based application. it can shave up to 15% of the project timeline, with no need to send the file back and forth when different people need to work on it.

You are confusing 2 parts of web 2.0. One: flash based social sites, youtube etc which are client side and two: web based applications and cloud computing. they are not one and the same thing.

RE: This seems backwards
By drebo on 10/29/2008 10:47:51 AM , Rating: 2
Er, you completely missed the point. Web-based applications are browser-based. They don't NEED anything installed on the local system but for a browser. Those applications are the ones Jason is referencing as being useful with more server-side processing done, which is in stark contrast to the current trend in web development, which is that MORE client-side computing power should be used.

From a software-as-a-service standpoint, this is a great idea. From a web development standpoint (the side this article looks at), it's completely backwards.

The real joke is.......
By theapparition on 10/29/2008 11:47:18 AM , Rating: 4
Watch it turn out that Azure is just Vista SP2......."The Azure experiment" or "Mojave pt 2."

Welcome to the Cloud....
By donjuancarlos on 10/29/2008 11:39:22 AM , Rating: 3
Prepare to be assimilated...

NO NO NO Azure
By axeman1108 on 10/30/2008 8:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
At what point will people finally wake up and realize that they do not need the intervention of Big government and private industry controlling every part of our lives. Why does Microsoft feel that it must develop and control all the future trends. Stick to what you do best Microsoft, SOFTWARE applications and operating systems. The problem is that most trends that Microsoft develops seems to have an over barring effect on the industry. Mainly because Microsoft is the 400 pound software gorilla. I guess owning over 70 percent of the software market isn't enough. I enjoy the Microsoft products but to be perfectly honest with you I find myself getting tired of the Microsoft's involvement in every single facet of the competing market. AZURE is a HUGE HUGE mistake and Microsoft is going to spend an ENORMOUS amount of money developing and marketing this concept/product and FORCING the masses to accept this new concept in modern day computing whether you like it or not. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe LINUX and a few others will finally wake up and start developing competitive OS's and applications to compete with Microsoft. Again if you are STUPID enough to trust another form of a socialistic society then by all means take part in this craziness. What's next, big brother will require that we wear crash helmets when taking showers. Please get real. I think it's time that the DOJ get Microsoft under control.

RE: NO NO NO Azure
By Smilin on 11/3/2008 1:16:21 PM , Rating: 1
So if microsoft doesn't develop and control future trends you'll just bitch that it isn't innovating. There is no pleasing some people.

I think you'll be eating your words when you say this is a huge mistake.

What's with the socialist society stuff? Do you even know what that word means or have you just been watching too many McCain commercials?

Not yet sold
By fishbits on 10/29/2008 10:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
"Cloud computing is tremendously popular"
Cloud computing, or the concept of cloud computing amongst potential providers?

"One key reason for this is that cloud computing allows applications to easily scale to match rising or falling demand, without shifting local hardware."
Tragedy of the commons? Soon enough scenarios come up where the resources of the "cloud" are maxed (how much of the whole cloud do I get to use for Folding at Home? For how long?). How will the limited resources be provisioned out?

Sure, a lot of people could just use the cloud for email and word processing. But, those needs are already cheaply and easily served. Dunno, cloud computing has some level of value, but I'm not seeing the gleaming utopia some seem to be envisioning.

Not so bad, depends....
By Hyggelik on 10/29/2008 1:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
IMHO, this could have some potential, depending what the offer of cloud computing will be.
E.g. if I could use 2 hours of Photoshop online for $10, I would be happy to do it, instead of having to shell out $$ for a license. For a user, who occasionally uses these "heavy" apps, this would be great. Or don't have the horsepower to render an intense PovRay scene? Do it online for fewer dollars than investing in your own hardware.

I agree on personal information, this should be kept on my little box at home.

- 2 more cents

By kinekt on 10/29/2008 1:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
For those who don't understand cloud computing there is already applications designed for Windows Server which do exactly this and that software business is making a killing in the IT world right now. For example my company manages a doctor network which services 1000+ doctors and we host all their data at a datacenter. There are 45 blade servers linked together via Citrix metraframe server. All servers host all applications and if any one goes down they can simply be redirected to another server while repairs are made. Microsoft simply wants to eliminate these software vendors and get in the mix themselves. This cloud OS is entirely related to business services and not home use.

the first hit is free....
By SiliconAddict on 10/30/2008 12:27:25 AM , Rating: 2
then they frack you.

bizarre headline
By johnsonx on 10/30/2008 1:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
Azure isn't free. Microsoft isn't launching a free OS. It's a tech preview, or beta, or whatever you want to call it, of a new OS Microsoft will be charging for.

Would anyone describe availability of a Windows 7 beta as "Microsoft Launches a Free OS"?

not so fast...
By fugdabug on 10/29/2008 10:51:33 AM , Rating: 1
So we see another grand scheme of 'innovation' and improvement to our daily lives... from a company that promised (how many times?) to give us a totally rebuilt and NEW OS, and how many times did that really come to pass? Who constantly promises, and NEVER delivers any thing close,.. all they seem to pump out is 'security updates'. You think I am going to deliver my personal or business information lock, stock and barrel to a company I cannot trust in any way shape or form. Listen you bunch of SHEEP, it is high time we started getting up out of the mire and demanding new innovation, and NOT from MicroSoft... And NOT from a Linux product. IF we cannot come up with a truly full featured vanilla platform applicable to almost any computer (that is not a proprietary OS from a company such as MicroSoft) which we can then plug proprietary apps into and that will allow us to remain in control of our own privacy, intellectual property and security, then we deserve the computing 'police state' that awaits those who follow this blindly down the rabbit hole. If you hadn't guessed, I don't trust MicroSoft or Linux to be truly 'future oriented'. The future if we can reach it will leave what we see in the dust, and will not include MicroSoft as the 'sole guardian' of our work and toil.

RE: not so fast...
By Spivonious on 10/29/08, Rating: 0
"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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