Tuesday, 28 October 2014


It might be super-unfashionable to say but I have to admit to being somewhat of a Microsoft-phile over the years. 

I've made a decent living from consulting around their technologies over the last 16 years for starters (thanks for paying the mortgage Mr Gates!).

In any dealings with them I've had they have been nice individuals and they have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.

Not to say I don't have any criticisms.  Quite the opposite.

Anything to do with licensing and Microsoft then just forget it. 

I also hate how far they are behind the curve nowadays - always picking up what others have already started;  GUI operating systems, Cloud computing and Tablets are just a couple of examples.

This brings me on nicely to DevOps.

I'm currently in Barcelona at their annual TechEd event and took part today in their DevOps focus group.  Surprisingly for such a "focus group" that I was really the only one around the table that had any kind of matured DevOps culture at work (and really we are still only beginners tbh). 

Whether this is representative of their customers I don't know. What it is says about their customers I also don't know...

Anyway that is a bit disappointing, I'm always keen to hear from other adopters especially ones that are further down the path than we are.

I digress.

It strikes me that Microsoft are in a fantastic position to sow the market place right up.  They have tools and technologies that range from cradle to grave, from requirements analysis, through to development, testing, provisioning, release, support etc...

Add in that they also cover on premise, hybrid and cloud solutions then you have the vast majority of the application life-cycle and deployment scenarios.

I can't think of any other companies that are in the same privileged position.

However, they aren't embracing this and they are missing a big opportunity.  If they want to be the premier Cloud player then they need to make it easy for people to get from idea in someone's head to the production space in a fast, repeatable and easy fashion.  Anyone can provide a load of compute power.  The real differentiator is being able to facilitate the whole pipeline; laptop to production.

There are a lot of different tools along their chain - the vast majority of which are very Microsoft-centric meaning its difficult (or at least harder) to integrate your favourite technologies if they aren't from Microsoft.

Tools that don't integrate become silos of information and reduce visibility and transparency across teams;  ultimately leading to reduced collaboration.

The sheer number of different tools and solutions makes it difficult to know where to start. 

Do I use TFS or GIT?  Or both? Should I put System Centre in before and get the Ops and provisioning bit right first?  Oh hang on I want to use the Azure pack but I use VMware?

Prompt head explosion.

My boss said something today and he's quite right.  If we knew were to begin with all this stuff and it arrived out of the box then we'd probably buy everything Microsoft have.  It's just too darn hard and too darn complex.  Microsoft seem to expect that you are Microsoft only and are on the very latest everything.  Not realistic.

I hate this term but if there was a "single pain of glass" across your SDLC with the ability to be agnostic of technologies then Microsoft would be onto a winner.

With a Microsoft "something" orchestrating the life-cycle we could integrate what we have right now and eek out the non-MS stuff over time rather than having to blow our data-center up and start again.


If Microsoft were really embracing DevOps then they wouldn't be as late to the game as they are and so uninsipring in some of the their technologies. 

For example the release tools in Visual Studio 2013 are so behind the likes of UrbanCode Deploy it's a bit embarrassing.  PowerShell DSC (Desired State Configuration) is so far behind Puppet its redic (as they say in Essex).  Why would I just want to configure my Windows servers when Puppet can control network devices and a whole range of other stuff too?

I think its the same as a personal trainer. 

I wouldn't ask a fat personal trainer to train me.

If you don't live and breathe it then you can't be credible for trying to sell it.

P.S. yes Microsoft I am available to help you put this right in exchange for a small island or something like that (I hear the Bahamas are nice)  :)


  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for your feedback and joining the focus group during TechEd.

    Keep your eyes tuned on Azure Pack, our web-based self-service portal. Our partner community is rapidly growing, and Azure Pack can now connect to many different backend systems including System Center, Azure, VMware, Amazon Web Services and SalesForce. We'll have more coming out in the near future also and should have some better DevOps integration.

    Symon Perriman
    Senior Technical Evangelist

  2. One correction from my earlier comment - there is currently not an extension for Salesforce, but actually it is for Rackspace. This is provided by Schakra with the Konube Integrator http://blog.schakra.com/2014/10/28/konube-integrator-by-schakra/

  3. Hi Symon,

    I've looked at the Azure Pack which is great. However, the point really of the article is that this is yet another part of the SDLC solution.

    We need something that brings together requirements, development, source control, Cloud etc

    There are too many isolated tools that are too difficult to get up and working. I'm looking for "DevOps out of the box"...