Gearing Up for 2014: Microsoft’s Cloud Tech Update for Autumn 2013
Cloud technology has been around for a while now, but recent news and developments are predicting that 2014 will be a momentous year for the cloud, particularly for cloud ERP.
The biggest upcoming events will come from Microsoft. There have already been some upsets, perhaps the largest of which was the June announcement of Microsoft’s partnership with Oracle. This move has already ushered in a host of new possibilities concerning the functionality of Oracle services on Microsoft’s Windows Azure and Hyper-V. Evidently, Microsoft has been feeling the pressure from Amazon’s highly successful Amazon Web Services cloud, on which Oracle has been running for several years. Microsoft has upped the ante, however, by wrapping in licensing and offering more support than Amazon. Given the major differences in viewpoint concerning hardware between Oracle and Microsoft, it’s a surprising move that is a sign that change is coming.
October will prove to be a big month for Microsoft. On October 18th alone, they will release Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 (along with a new Remote Desktop app), .NET 4.5.1, and Windows Intune. Later in the month, look for the release of Windows Azure HDInsight Service. Also later in October will make available the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (for mobile devices, as well) to accompany the already available Dynamics NAV 2013 R2. An on-premises version of Dynamics CRM Online has been announced to be due this fall.
This new “wave” of tech is geared at encouraging enterprises to adopt the cloud and rely less on in-house capabilities. Microsoft has already proclaimed themselves the frontrunner in the race to foster this change, boasting that they have the best SaaS, cloud community, and public/private hybrid cloud capabilities. The announcement of Windows Azure Government Cloud (for the particular use of government agencies) has also given us a glimpse into the scale of Microsoft’s ambitions when it comes to cloud adoption.
As for Oracle’s solo aspirations, The New York Times’ recent article on company president Mark Hurd succinctly asserts that “Oracle is going to go all in on the cloud,” a sharp departure from the company’s past philosophies. This could mark the beginning of a trend for Oracle as they move away from the cost-intensive hardware they’ve been known for and towards a more inclusive nature.
SAP, meanwhile, lurks on the edges of these large scale cloud stratagems, announcing their SAP Customer Activity Repository on the same day that Microsoft rolled out its plans for the rest of the year. It’s hard to say whether there’s anything to be gleaned from the timing- there’s no concrete reason to suspect SAP will be focusing on retail rather than cloud in the following months, even if that’s the impression they happened to give. It’s worth reminding that they, too, have partnered with Microsoft, producing the jointly developed Duet Enterprise software. Perhaps they’ll follow Oracle’s lead and buckle down on a cloud project with Microsoft.
With the industry giants in a veritable tizzy trying to lure ventures into the cloudscape, it’s no wonder IDC and Virtustream are reporting so many businesses planning to make their transition into the cloud. Then again, the reason the industry giants are kicking into such high gear could be a response to more widespread interest in the cloud- though I’m willing to bet it has more to do with racing against each other for dominance in the emerging field.
So what to make of all of this? The salvo of cloud innovations is almost certainly a harbinger of the cloud industry taking an even more prominent position in the infrastructure of businesses and especially IT departments the world over. Whether or not Microsoft and its compatriots are outpacing their target audiences is yet to be seen. After all, planning to transition to the cloud isn’t the same as actually doing it. If the industry pursues this focus on the conversion to the cloud (instead of putting the proverbial cart before the horse) there’s a good chance we’ll see a true cloud revolution in 2014.
Adam Kinsey is a tech consultant and writer for Silicus, a software outsourcing company.