Microsoft introduced a comprehensive control panel for Azure at Build 2014. This panel is presented in a video on MSDN Channel 9 titled Azure preview portal. The narration is provided by Vishal Joshi, Principal Program Manager, and Azure Lead at Microsoft.
Microsoft has branded this new control panel as an effort to reduce the complexity of Azure. The Azure preview portal is presented along with a blog post written by Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group. Guthrie’s post is titled Microsoft announces new cloud experience and tools to deliver the cloud without complexity.
The video presentation captures the very wide reach of the controls, but doesn’t convey a less complicated process of managing infrastructure, processes, and people. Guthrie’s short post juxtaposes the inevitable complexity of a service like Azure, along with the preview panel as a method of at least simplifying the administrative experience for the user. When both the post and the video are considered, the new branding could use some further work.
On April 15, 2013, in a post to this blog titled How Important is the Useful Quotient for Elastic Cloud Services Like Amazon AWS? I stated my opinion of the imperative for AWS (and Azure, as its direct competitor) to simplify the management requirement for SMBs and other prospects lacking the highly technical internal resources otherwise required to get the service to work for them.
So Microsoft’s stated intention to remove the complexity of the process is a good start. But neither the video, nor Guthrie’s blog post actually convey any less a complicated experience. Microsoft apparently recognizes this obstacle. Hopefully in the near future they will present more examples of how they have worked to remove the complexity of managing Azure.
Should they manage to put together a set of tools accessible to SMBs, then the sales gains for the service look to be substantial. In my opinion much of the potential market for Cloud IaaS/SaaS offers has still not been reached.
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