Microsoft: Azure can beat Amazon and IBM cloud solutions

The speed of getting a project started on Azure makes it appealing for developers. "Every time I ask people how long it takes their IT to set up a devtest environment, two weeks is usually considered good, a day is considered great and six months is considered poor. Being able to do it in minutes or seconds is just such a game changer for developers. Even these most conservative companies that don't want to run any other apps in the cloud are now comfortable with running devtest environments in the cloud."

Analytic interest

But customers are increasingly interested in analytics on Azure, using Hadoop and HDinsight. "Once companies realise they can take all they data have and do analytics on it and increase sales 10-20%. I have to imagine most companies, if they just look at their customer history, looked at their transactions and optimised their customer experience, it's not hard to see huge opportunities. We can see that these customers buying these products buy that as well or they're coming in from this site so let's move our marketing budget over here… It's easy to get wins."

For Guthrie, cloud isn't about sidelining or bypassing IT, it's about making them more productive. "You might spend weeks getting some of this stuff working the traditional way. People think it can't be that simple; but it is. You still have to learn it but stuff that traditional IT says today is too hard, so we'll do it next month or next quarter or next year? If we can make it so nothing is too hard, it makes IT so much more valuable as a discipline."

As well as adding new services to Azure, the team will also be adding more features to existing services. "We're not done on Azure by any stretch; there is lot of work to do and I intend to keep my team busy for a while yet. But in the next six months we're round out and complete a lot of these things. We've had websites for 15 months but there is stuff we shipped a few weeks ago like web sockets and auto scale where you can set day and night times and holiday rules [to power down your site]."

It adds up to a cloud platform Guthrie believes is what companies need. "It's going to be a pretty sweet end to end solution, everywhere in the world, the easiest cloud to use with consistency across on premise where you can easily integrate your existing assets at prices as cheap as Amazon… It starts to become you really have to have some other axe to grind not to look at Azure seriously and say this is my default."


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.