The Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Azure cloud computing press release talks about:
“…leading the way in services infrastructure with innovative use of shipping containers as flexible and portable housing for servers, providing 10 times the density and dramatic savings in power usage.”
I get the impression of thousands of Penske rentals roaming the countryside loaded with Intel (INTL) boards and Windows Server instances, perhaps to avoid incoming missiles from Amazon (AMZ) or Google (GOOG).
I did not hear any of the keynote speakers mention the containers but if “innovative shipping containers” means what I interpret it to mean, this is the big news in the Microsoft Azure announcement. I did not hear a lot of other new news. Unfortunately for Microsoft, as Ray Ozzie admitted, Amazon EC2 led the way on the cloud computing concept in support of services (as opposed to the IBM’s view of cloud computing, which is designed to support enterprise computing).
Can Microsoft catch up? Yes but still the Microsoft October 27 announcement is only a “limited community technology preview” and Ozzie said at the end of the announcement that Azure was subject to future, possibly incompatible changes. I didn’t hear an official announcement date but the implication was that it is years not months away.
It’s all nice stuff but was it worth being the leading message at the 2008 Professional PDC Developer Conference? If so, that's really bad news for Microsoft investors.