Bill Gates keynote transcript at TechEd has the following information about Microsoft's web services running hundreds of thousands of servers. In the future millions.
Now to make these services reliable, to make it easy to call them, to provide the kind of security that you want, there are a lot of new developments that have had to take place, things like identity federation. Things like the protocols that you see in the WS* standards, and that we've made easy to get to through the Communication Framework libraries. We're taking everything we do at the server level, and saying that we will have a service that mirrors that exactly. The simplest one of those is to say, okay, I can run Exchange on premise, or I can connect up to it as a service. But even at the BizTalk level, we'll have BizTalk Services. For SQL, we'll have SQL Server Data Services, and so you can connect up, build the database. It will be hosted in our cloud with the big, big data center, and geo-distributed automatically. This is kind of fascinating because it's getting us to think about data centers at a scale that never existed before. Literally today we have, in our data center, many hundreds of thousands of servers, and in the future we'll have many millions of those servers.
When you think about the design of how you bring the power in, how you deal with the heating, what sort of sensors do you have, what kind of design do you want for the motherboard, you can be very radical, in fact, come up with some huge improvements as you design for this type of scale. And so going from a single server all the way up to this mega data center that Microsoft, and only a few others will have, it gives you an option to run pieces of your software at that level.
You'll have hybrids that will be very straightforward. If you want to use it just for an overload condition, or disaster recovery, but the software advances to make it so when you write your software you don't have to care where those things are located, those are already coming into play. So the services way of thinking about things is very important, and will cause a lot of change.
I think Mike Manos has been in a few BillG reviews. Bill mentions data center issues - power in, how you deal with heating, sensors, and you can be very radical.