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Microsoft predicts rise of service interruptions with datacenters

March 6th, 2008 · No Comments ·

Cloud computing involves the centralized storage and processing of information . This shift could reduce the role of desktop computers and servers. To protect its eco-system, Microsoft wants to muscle in on this growing business.

This is critical stuff and we are becoming ever more dependent on these things as we outlined here:

CyTRAP Labs trend – computing in a cloud – your BlackBerry and YouTube services fail

The chances are good that Microsoft will succeed in this business because:

a) For an extra U.S.$40 Windows Server 2008 from Microsoft launched this week adds a virtualization feature. This means it will be a third or less than the price of Vmware.

b) Thanks to ist market share, Microsoft’s software tools are used by many IT staffs to manage their real-world machines. Now these tools enable IT admin staff to also manage ‘virtual machines’

This makes it hard for IT staff to justify purchasing third party virtualization software.

While VMware dominates the virtual world it cannot match those real-world capabilities.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN REGARDING SYSTEM REALIABILITY AND DEPENDABILITY?

Microsoft is notorious for problems with dependability. Who else can afford to release a software such as Windows Vista. More than a year after its initial release, Vista is still full of bugs. Some corporates refuse to purchase PCs with that operating system being pre-installed. This fact forced Microsoft to extend the life-cycle for Windows XP.

In March 2008 we are supposed to get SP1 for Vista with over 300 security hotfixes and oh dear, it was supposed to fix so many things but it fails miserably ….. during our tests several of our machines crashed for reasons that we could sometimes not even figure out … what a nightmare.

A similar approach is being used by Microsoft muscling its way into the business of virtualization software and computing in a cloud. Last week Microsoft began to offer the software needed for virtualizationvas a $40 add-on with its Windows Server 2008.
Rumor has it that a key component of its virtualization software called hypervisor will not be ready before October inspite of Steve Ballmer’s assurances to the media that we have to wait til August only.

So its wise to not throw out baby, water and bathtub when it comes to VMware. Wait and see if Microsoft’s solution will measure up.

WHAT DOES MICROSOFT’S MUSCLING IN THE COMPUTING IN A CLOUD MARKET MEAN FOR YOU?

Before we forget, Internet retailer Amazon has been the first to start renting out capacity in its datacenters to corporates. Some rumours claim Google will follow soon with a similar offer. Microsoft knows that the development of having central processing replace the desktop is a real threat to its business model. Microsoft wants to dominate the virtualization market and make sure that it runs on its software and not anybody else’s.

But will this deteriorate service dependability and reliabity? We informed you about the 2008-02-24 (Sunday) event when the youtube.com website was ‘hijacked’ on a global scale. The incident was a result of the unauthorized announcement of the prefix 208.65.153.0/24 and caused the popular video sharing website to become unreachable from most, if not all, of the Internet.

The RIPE NCC conducted an analysis into how this incident was seen and tracked by the RIPE NCC’s Routing Information Service (RIS) and has published a case study at:

YouTube Hijacking: A RIPE NCC RIS case study

We are moving to a new technology architecture where being dominant on one’s desktop and server operating systems is becoming less important. Outsourcing all your hardware and data to so-called datacenters using computing in a cloud makes the corporation more vulnerable. If something goes wrong for whatever reason, the firm has to wait until those managing computing in a cloud services succeed in making your data and services accessible again. This was illustrated both by the YouTube hijacking event as well as by the BlackBerry shut down:

CyTRAP Labs trend – computing in a cloud – your BlackBerry and YouTube services fail

CyTRAP Labs take on this issue

Corporate servers are estimated to run at only 15-20% of capacity. Virtualization separates computing tasks from machines on which they run. Hence, unused capacity can be exploited and virtual machines can be moved between actual real world servers.

While this all improves efficiency it also increases pressure on Microsoft that dominated the market for the desktop as well as server operating systems. One result of these developments has been Microsoft having to lower prices for its software and experiencing continuing pressure and erosion of its profit margins:

No free lunch with Microsoft – but price people are willing to pay for software is coming down

From a user’s perspective one can only hope that Microsoft will not succeed in dominating the virtualization and computing in a cloud market. If we want dependability and reliability of our services, Microsoft is not necessarily the firm with a reputation for this, is it?

If this post was helpful to you, please consider stumbling it or Digg this EU-IST post from CyTRAP Labs.
Also of interest:
Reliability and dependability of information networks – Taiwan’s earthquake – are we redundancy compliant? UBS IT infrastructure fails – can we learn anything from this event?
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