Sunday, November 11, 2012

RHT: Microsoft’s Ship Has Sailed In ‘Cloud Computing’

My apologies in advance for the mixed metaphors in the headline of this post. It wouldn’t have been my choice if I were inventing metaphors, but in this case I’m not, I’m simply passing along metaphors.

Following a better-than-expected fiscal Q2 report this afternoon by Linux operating system and tools vendor Red Hat (RHT), CEO Jim Whitehurst was kind enough to take a few moments to talk with me about the results but also about how his company is progressing in “cloud” computing.

In remarks to me by phone, �following a conference call with analysts, Whitehurst said that the Linux operating system continues to be the flavor of choice for building those hosted computing facilities. Red Hat adds its tools and applications to Linux, such as�Java Enterprise Edition deployment tools. (Oracle (ORCL) is the actual owner of the Java patents and trademarks and licenses the technology. Whitehurst says the companies continue to have a good working relationship around Java.)

Whitehurst also mentioned “CloudForms,” which will be a tool for managing applications deployed in a hosted computing environment. That product is in trials now and is expected to be generally available sometime this fiscal year.

I also asked Whitehurst about�Microsoft’s (MSFT) discussion last week of its own cloud tools and services at its BUILD conference. Some of the analysts who attended that event came away impressed with Microsoft’s efforts to link together�Windows 8 on client devices, its .Net framework for application development, and its Azure hosting service, not to mention Microsoft’s various server products.

Some think the new roadmap for developers could help Microsoft show greater progress in cloud computing. (See for example the rather positive remarks last week by Nomura’s Rick Sherlund.)

Whitehurst insists it’s “too little, too late”:

Developers have in general moved past the Microsoft stack. If you go to Silicon Valley and talk to any venture capitalist, and talk to any startup about what are they running on, they’re running on an open-source stack. Certainly they [Microsoft] have made progress with what they are doing, but the world has moved on, on the development side, to open source platforms. So many other companies are falling all over themselves to say they are open source, including VMWare (VMW), and others. But as far as Microsoft, that ship has sailed.

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