About a week ago Microsoft announced something they are calling SSDS. According to their web site “SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) are highly scalable, on-demand data storage and query processing web services. Businesses use storage resources as needed transforming large upfront capital and operations expenditures into much smaller on-demand costs.”  In other words - cloud computing.
Even though they have bad marketing and an even worse name, this is something that the Linux ecosystem should pay attention to as Microsoft rolls this out into the market. Ray Ozzie stated it pretty accurately, “The greatest impact that services will have on business will come from the inevitable shift toward utility computing within the enterprise.”  Linux has an early lead in this area with service offerings like Amazon’s Linux based S3 and IBM’s Blue Cloud which uses Xen and PowerVM virtualized Linux operating-system images.
Today Web 2.0 start ups are flocking to these services as a way to reduce their cost, have world class infrastructure, and most importantly to be able to scale up and down based on demand. It won’t be long before mainstream enterprises follow this trend. It turns out that IT operations combined with convenient tools is something that will be the core competency of companies like Google, IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft in the future. Microsoft claims the using MS SQL is not required to use this infrastructure, “I can walk up to it with standard types of tools. The service supports Rest and SOAP interfaces and will support the AtomPub protocol.”  A product from Microsoft that doesn’t require their tools or lock you into their platform offered as a service over the web? Time are indeed a changing. The interesting thing about this is that the folks who need to adjust for this change the most are software companies that don’t have broad IT operations infrastructure and management competencies similar to the likes of Google and Amazon. Software companies like Microsoft are waking up to this. Are other going to follow suit?