Compuware recently concluded a year-long cloud service providers test between the three biggest current competitiors: Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Microsoft was the fastest for the entire duration of the test. Microsoft’s Azure loaded in just 6.07 second while Google’s App Engine clocked in slower by half a second.
Amazon’s EC2 service was left far behind at 7.2-8.11 seconds. (7.2 for their location in the east coast and 8.11 for the west coast.)
You may be asking, “What does Azure have to do with Windows 8?” Well as you know Windows 8 will be tied in tightly with Windows Live just as Google’s ChromeBooks are tied in tightly with all of Google’s cloud services and the Kindle Fire will be heavily connected to Amazon’s cloud services.
When you are buying one of these devices, you are really also buying their cloud services.
The actual speed of the cloud serviced will determine how long it takes to open a document stored in the cloud, buy a song, or look at your photos. If I’m thinking about buying a tablet but I haven’t decided if I want one with Windows 8, Android, or Amazon’s version of Android, the speed of the cloud serviced would be a big part of my decision.
These days, everything is in the cloud (at least for me,) it doesn’t matter how fast the device is if it takes a long time to load a document.
Recently, Microsoft acquired a “streaming OS patent.” This might mean that Microsoft has plans to stream future versions of Windows from the internet! That’s very cool, but this is where speed matters even more. Let’s say that in the near future, computers come built in with a special kind of bootloader that loads the machine and has a special log in page where you would log in to your operating system just like you would log in to a website.
Your log in information would be sent up to Microsoft (or any other operating system manufacturer.) The speed of the company’s cloud service would determine how fast your computer loaded. It could either be really fast, or slow, if the server had gotten a lot of activity at the time.
If the servers were getting that much activity, you might not be able to even use your device! Scary huh? This is why it’s even more important for Azure to be fast than any other cloud service.
We will probably see the log in problem sooner than you may think. If you are trying to log in to your computer using Windows Live’s Single Sign-on (SSO) and Azure’s servers are jammed, it will take a really long time to log on.
You might not even be able to log in at all! It’s a good thing though, that you can still log in without Windows Live, though it is a little inconvenient that you may find yourself without your normal app settings.
Overall, I don’t think that Microsoft will have a problem with server reliability or even speed, but if they do sometime in the future, we may find ourselves in a bit of trouble.