# Sunday, 10 January 2010

Last week I started to made some predictions on the future of Microsoft development for 2010. I said 2010 will be remembered as a “tipping point” year for three things in the Microsoft developer space. I am not saying that on December 31st, 2010 you will sit back and say I am right on all of these, but I am saying that by December 31st, 2011 or 2012 you will. That said, 2010 will be the tipping point for:

Last week I talked about moving beyond .NET and BI for the masses, today, I will talk about the cloud.

2010: Windows and SQL Azure Launch

January 1 ushered in a  new year as well as the availability of a new service from Microsoft: Azure. With the Windows and SQL Azure services available commercially, one could predict that 2010 will be the year of the cloud. While I don’t think that developers are going to push .NET applications up into the cloud in masse in 2010, I do suspect that adoption will be higher than most people realize, but the ultimate customers who adopt the service may surprise you.

In 2010 the early adopters of Windows and SQL Azure will be large corporation’s “departmental” applications. Sure we will see a bunch of startups begin to use Azure, however, there will only be significant traction after the platform is out a little longer and maybe after a potential billing policy change. Applications built under the radar of the corporate IT department by external consultants and departmental programmers will lead the way, just as Access and Visual Basic did almost 20 years ago.

The reason why is obvious. Business men and women at large companies (companies over 200 people) always groan when they have to deal with their IT department. They think that IT is slow and costly. Azure will be an end run around IT. The cost of Azure is well within the budgets of the folks requesting these applications, actually quite lower than what the internal IT department will charge back to the department to host an application. Windows and SQL Azure will be secure enough to host these non-mission critical, however, extremely important line of business applications. Since almost all of these applications are used at the office and broadband is available at every office, it is a no brainer.

Rewind back 20 years ago and this is how Microsoft conquered the enterprise. (I am not saying that Microsoft “owns” the enterprise, but 20 years ago they had no presence in the back office and were counted out in the the server/enterprise space. Now look: SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange Server, etc, not to mention Windows Server.) Microsoft used the desktop to extend to the back office. Windows and Office were so popular that developers were willing to give the Trojan horses Access and Visual Basic a try. The rest is history.

So 2010 will be a tipping point year for the Cloud, or at least the Azure platform. Microsoft will gain some market share and also make some mistakes and continue to rev Azure. I can’t predict at this moment when it became a critical mass, but just like with Silverlight and BI, we will all look back one day and say it all started in 2010.

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