Connect, Microsofts developer’s fair, is finally clear that the future of the company is in the cloud business. This can be seen, for example, in the long overdue membership of the Linux Foundation or the new SQL Server. In the mobile development, Microsoft alone provides tools and the cloud backend.

Microsoft’s Connect conference, which has been designed for developers, has been used by the company in recent years for some surprises. In 2014, a completely revised .Net framework, which is still open source, was released. Last year, the company presented with Visual Studio Code an editor for web development, which is also open source. And this year, Microsoft is a Platinum sponsor of the Linux Foundation (LF).

Joining the Linux Foundation is only logical

This costs Microsoft 500,000 US dollars per year and gives the company a place in the fairly manageable circle similar to financial sponsors such as HPE, Intel, Samsung, Cicso, Huawei, IBM or Fujitsu. The fact that Microsoft opens up after decades of the rejection of the Linux system is perhaps still a surprise. The step was foreseeable and long overdue.

And this is not due to the Linux system itself, but to what has been developed around Linux as well as the orientation of the Linux Foundation. For example, it is not to be expected that Microsoft is suddenly actively involved in the development of the Linux kernel, like HPE, IBM or Intel, apart from its virtualization technology Hyper-V.

Connect 2016 Microsoft is putting everything on the cloud

Rather, Microsoft is using the Linux Foundation for the multitude of Foundation-supported open source projects that were initially developed on Linux and now run on Microsoft’s Windows or the Azure cloud and are supported by Microsoft. This includes, for example, Node.js, which can be used with the edge browser’s Javascript engine, as well as the language used by Mircosoft in its own distribution, Open Daylight for software-defined networking, or the Open Container Initiative.

The latter endeavors to standardize container runtime environments and their management tools. Microsoft supports this project because it now supports container technology in its Windows server. The fact that the members of the Management Board of the LF, which is part of the sponsorship, are occupied by John Gossman from the Azure team is only consistent.

SQL Server ripe for the cloud

The Microsoft Service Pack 1, announced by Connect, of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2016 also exemplifies how Microsoft moves large and important parts of its portfolio into the cloud. After all, MSSQL is probably one of the most important enterprise products of the company and is running as promised in the spring now not only on Windows, but also on Linux – even if the functional equality on both platforms is not yet fully achieved.

In addition, the database system should also be able to run in a dock container. This allows customers to build up these comparatively quickly, but also move relatively quickly if necessary, or simply terminate instances. This makes the host environment less important, and the focus on MSSQL as a competitive product is all the more important.

This paradigm shift is also reflected in the new pricing model. The four versions of MSSQL (Standard, Web, Express, and LocalDB) have the same range of functions, with only a few exceptions, as opposed to versions with different functionalities.

In the past, particularly costly, and thus probably unused, capabilities such as in-memory technology are thus available to a broader range of users and profit from the larger user base in the long term. In the future, the usage will be charged as usual in the case of cloud offers according to the number of CPUs used and the available memory. For customers, the costs for MSSQL itself as well as for the hosting are more manageable, more predictable and, above all, scalable.