How big is an appliance, anyway?
Before today, a refrigerator is probably the largest appliance you or I have encountered. But today, Microsoft announced an Azure appliance that consists of hundreds of servers — a “cloud-in-a-box” that is managed by Microsoft but hosted in a customer datacenter.
Why would Microsoft go through the trouble of creating and managing numerous miniature Azures? One possible explanation is that customers are trying the proprietary platform to see what the fuss is all about, but not sticking with it — kind of like garlic ice cream at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It could just be that Azure is not taking off as everyone imagined.
Customers leaving Azure in droves?
I recently acquired an email from Microsoft, desperately seeking to address an apparent exodus of customers from Windows Azure:
My team is working to understand why some of our valued customers have stopped using their Windows Azure platform subscription(s). I am emailing today to ask you to complete a short survey on why you have stopped using our service.
We will use this information to improve our platform and address issues that may have led you to stop using your subscription. We take your feedback seriously and it will lead to direct action.
Microsoft, it seems, is merely following what is en vogue these days.
Interesting strategy shift: If customers won’t come to your proprietary platform, see if you can trap them inside a box right in their own own datacenter. Cloud computing at its finest.