April 11, 2017

Microsoft in Position to Challenge Cloud Giants

Microsoft has made some big moves in the past couple of weeks that show the global computing company (which is still the largest software vendor in the world) wants to run your entire business stack.

First, it announced joint solutions with Adobe Marketing Cloud that allow better data sharing at the end of March. Then, yesterday, they announced acquisition of Deis, an open-source cloud storage and containerization platform.

These moves should come as no surprise for anyone following the overall movement toward cloud computing across the marketplace. Single users and enterprise companies alike find less expensive and better managed solutions in the cloud without the weight of licensing agreements, private server farms, or heavy IT support.

These changes could mean a lot for Microsoft — a company that many enterprises still use, even though it lacks the sexy appeal of its younger cloud competitors Google, Salesforce, or Amazon. Microsoft didn’t enter the cloud computing market until 2010 with the release of Microsoft Azure (then called Windows Azure), 11 years after Salesforce and eight years after Amazon, but their renewed interest in the cloud is clear.

Let’s get a little perspective on these announcements:

September 2016

Microsoft and Adobe announced a partnership. This move would make Adobe’s Marketing Cloud the preferred service for the sales product Dynamics 365 Enterprise, and Azure the preferred cloud platform for Adobe Marketing Cloud. The announcement was made just before Microsoft Ignite, the company’s yearly tech learning and innovation conference.

March 2017

Microsoft and Adobe clarified their partnership, announcing the product-specific matchups between Microsoft and Adobe products. Connections extend to:

  • Adobe Campaign + Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Adobe Analytics + Microsoft Power BI
  • Adobe Experience Manager Sites available on Microsoft Azure

This announcement was made at Adobe Summit, the software company’s digital marketing conference.

April 2017

Just yesterday, Microsoft and Deis announced that the open source cloud computing and containerization company would join Azure to boost Microsoft’s competitive status against RedHat, Docker, and other orchestration platforms. Deis uses Kubernetes, a Linux-compatible and Google-developed storage system, to provide fast and elastic storage.

Conclusions

What does all of this mean for Microsoft? First, it shows their increasingly cloud-centric model is designed to stay ahead of the greater cloud movement. No one buys their Microsoft Word on a CD-ROM anymore. Even enterprise companies have moved away from on-premise solutions, increasingly housing data in hybrid and even public data storage rather than on-premise. Making connections with cloud platforms that command a substantial portion of the marketplace (like Adobe Analytics and Campaign) keeps Microsoft relevant and increases its usability against sales platforms like Salesforce and storage solutions like Amazon Web Services. 

Second, bringing Linux into the Microsoft fold helps the giant to silence those developers who prefer it to the Microsoft OS and might argue for a more familiar containerization platform. 

Finally, Microsoft is positioning itself to run the full enterprise stack from storage to marketing, document preparation, email, and sales. Companies that may otherwise have gone elsewhere for their marketing or cloud storage services need only expand their existing relationships with Microsoft rather than attempt to integrate a new product with their current systems.


Cover image credit: Marcin Wichary, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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