As I've said before, I don't make predictions. So here is my non-prediction for next year.
When the Azure services platform is launched, we will see the creation of an ecosystem based upon the following concepts:-
- build and release applications to Microsoft's own cloud environment providing Azure and the Azure Services.
- build and release applications to a number of different ISPs providing Azure and specific Azure Services (i.e. SQL, .Net and Sharepoint services).
- purchase server versions of Azure and specific Azure services for your own infrastructure.
- buy a ready made scaleable "Azure" container cloud from Dell, for all those large data centre needs of yours.
Since the common component in all of this will be the Azure platform itself, then migration between all these options will be easy as pie through the Windows Azure Fabric Controller. If this happens, then the lower orders of the computing stack will end up becoming less visible and the hypervisor wars will become an afterthought. It could be Game, Set and Match to MSFT for the next ten years.
This vision however is only possible, if the network effect parts of Azure actually work (I'll post about that some other time) and the advantages of componentisation through an acceleration in business innovation are realised.
Of course, all of this will create a huge dependancy for all parties concerned on this technology layer but without a clear cut alternative, the pressure to adopt could be immense. The real battleground for the "cloud" has always been in building an ecosystem around the framework layer of the computing stack.
Anyway, this is not a prediction but simply what I would do in order to create a closed marketplace. Naturally, I'd prefer the market to be open and it'll be interesting to see how this pans out.