Could Microsoft Become King of the Cloud?
The future of computing is in the cloud, which has scared Dell and EMC into joining forces against the coming storm. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s recent moves have allowed the industry pioneer to reinvent computing all over again.
In a recent InfoWorld piece, celebrated IT expert J. Peter Bruzzese argues that the Dell/EMC merger is yet another signal of the paradigm shift away from traditional, on-premise IT. He explains that the firms don’t have much choice but to keep fighting the future — more businesses are relying on cloud-based IT infrastructure and data storage, and the two businesses must combine their current market shares.
Though Bruzzese doesn’t hold out much hope for the last-ditch effort, the $67B takeover still promises to make waves across the industry. USA Today reports that it is by far the largest tech buyout of all time, a feat that reveals the extent of Dell’s fear more than its strength. By forming the IT equivalent of the Spanish Armada, Dell and EMC have shown how scared they are of the future of tech.
Microsoft’s Azure is the second-largest cloud computing service globally, trailing only Amazon Web Services. However, Microsoft’s year-over-year sales for their enterprise computing platform have risen by a staggering 97% since 2014, as the International Business Times notes. With stocks at a 15-year peak, Microsoft’s cloud services are gaining major ground for the company’s bottom line.
Microsoft also has the added advantage of its operating software, Windows. VentureBeat recently found that, across the portfolio of new and legacy versions, Windows is preferred by more than 90% of computer users worldwide, while just 8% run Mac-based software, and 1.5% use a Linux platform. Microsoft’s Windows 10 has been offered as a free upgrade as well, and subsequently installed on 110 million devices as of October.
Beyond use of their software, Microsoft has been positioning itself to take control of the cloud computing market for some time. Buoyed by innovations in mobile devices (e.g. phones, tablets, and game consoles) and the rollout of Office 365, Microsoft is reaching all corners of today’s tech world. This not only boosts its portfolio and revenue, but gives it more access to consumer data, creating a more thorough and sophisticated understanding of its customers.
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons Bruzzese is betting on Microsoft is the superior security the company offers its cloud-hosted clients. While both Azure and Amazon Web Services have suffered downtime, Azure’s outages have been shorter and less widespread than AWS’s, whose service suffered a catastrophic failure as recently as September.
As companies continue to offload their IT infrastructure to cloud vendors, the integrity of both data and service will become increasingly vital.
When the Model-T was released, it was pretty easy to get a great deal on a horse-drawn carriage -- similarly, Dell and companies like it will probably offer lower prices for their services in the near future. But the world of enterprise has already signaled its intentions to move onto the cloud. Whether Microsoft, Amazon, or someone else emerges as king remains to be seen, but Microsoft is well-positioned for the coming storm.
While this change will be a big one for enterprise tech, some things will remain the same. Cloud servers may have theoretically unlimited storage, but that storage doesn’t come free, which is why capacity planning remains important. Capacity planning tools from TeamQuest will help companies manage cost and avoid over-provisioning so that the era of the cloud is a prosperous one for your business — no matter who ends up ruling it.
(Main image credit: Thomas Hawk/flickr)