When MIX09 starts on Wednesday, I expect we’ll be hearing a lot about Azure, the cloud computing OS and platform Microsoft announced at PDC late last year. But when the lunchtime chats turn to questions about reliability — and they always seem to — the naysayers will have another arrow in the quiver: Azure experienced its first big loss of service this weekend, according to The Register.
Of course, the question of trusting an outside party with your applications and data isn’t a problem unique to Microsoft: Salesforce.com and Google Apps face the same hurdles in enterprises. But I’m not sure how much of a consolation it is for any company to know that its whole industry, and not just it alone, is having a hard time.
Meanwhile, the recession may be taking its toll on Microsoft’s standard server market. A study from IDC found that companies are increasingly turning to Linux in an effort to save money. Many of those Linux servers will come at the expense of Unix rather than Windows, but the trend should still be a worrisome reminder that glitzy new Web 2.0 platforms are only going to go so far in this economy.
When Microsoft showed off VSTS 2010 at PDC, one of the first questions from the audience was about pricing. The developer said that while VSTS’s features looked great, the tools were just too expensive for his team. I wonder how many companies will come to the same conclusion when Microsoft urges them to rewrite their applications to work on Azure. Service blackouts won’t help Microsoft’s case.