Microsoft Windows Azure makes move Amazon Web Services refuses to make, Tell us what Server Hardware is used in the Cloud

Some people believe the cloud is great and solve all problems.  But, those who don’t believe the hype want to know more about the data center and the hardware in the cloud.  When AWS had outages in 2012, Digital Realty Trust was forced to make it clear that the AWS outages due to power problems were not in their facilities. 

Digital Realty, DFT: No Interruptions from Virginia Storm

July 3rd, 2012By: Rich Miller


A facility at the Digital Realty Trust data center campus in Ashburn, Virginia

The two largest wholesale data center operators in the northern Virginia market said their data centers performed flawlessly during last weekend’s electrical storms, maintaining electrical power during grid outages and keeping customers online.

Microsoft made the announcement yesterday. that it is sharing its server hardware designs it uses in its Cloud.

The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the datacenter servers we have designed to deliver the world’s most diverse portfolio of cloud services. These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform. They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times. We also expect this server design to contribute to our environmental sustainability efforts by reducing network cabling by 1,100 miles and metal by10,000 tons across our base of 1 million servers.

GigaOm’s Barb Darrow covered the release and makes the point that Amazon Web Services doesn’t share its server hardware designs it uses.

The great unmentioned player here is Amazon Web Services, which dominates the public cloud infrastructure space to date. While Amazon Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton talks broadly about data center energy efficiency, Amazon does not publicize its server designs.

Is the future of Clouds a transparency telling the users what hardware you are running on?  Seems like it is good for users bad for the Cloud Suppliers.

Disclosure: I spend some time working for GigaOm Research and know many of the GigaOm editorial staff.