“Big deal, I am tired of Windows! What’s next? ”
“Crystal ball what is next?”
“Hmm! everything looks cloudy in there!”
“Aha! Clouds it is!”
Windows 7′s first RTM will be available on August 6. Although I am looking forward to it, especially because it fixes some of Vista’s problems, I am not too excited about it. I am really more interested in what is after Windows 7. Especially because Google has announced the Chrome OS .
Of course, there is the talk of battle of giants everywhere, from what we understand, that battle would be most likely in the cloud computing area.
Microsoft will have to have something for cloud computing, which it does. It has announced a new version of Office that will be based on a cloud computing model and more importantly it has launched a cloud computing Operating System, Windows Azure.
Just fighting in the cloud computing area won’t do it for Microsoft. Windows have had two very significant problems which can sink it’s boat: dependability and security.
Is Microsoft doing anything about it? Yes, they have. In fact, since 2003 Microsoft Research has been busy at work with an operating system called Singularity.
According to Microsoft, “Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools.”
Let me demonstrate what problem singularity is solving by relating my experience: About a year ago I bought a Sony laptop and installed Windows Vista ultimate on it. I was very happy with both my operating system and the hardware, but not for long! Soon after I bought an external monitor, my computer started crashing left and right. It made my new monitor completely useless.
I am sure each one of us has a story to tell about the blue screen of death. This is the exact problem that Singularity will be trying to solve. In the process, it might be a bit slower, but who wouldn’t want to give up a bit of performance for dependability?
Avoiding the technical details of the OS, all we have to know is that Singularity is a complete rewrite of the operating system designed around dependability.
Would it Actually See the Light of day?
Since Singularity has been a research project, would it actually see the light of day? It seems it might, but in a different form though.
It was reported in 2008 that Microsoft has been working on a project called Midori which according to SDTimes.com is “an offshoot of Microsoft Research’s Singularity operating system”. Source
Apparently Midori is a top secret project, so there isn’t much, publically, known about. However, one thing is for sure that it will be an offshoot of Singularity.
Windows Azure is the operating system for the clouds. What does this mean? It means it is software that manages all resources and services in a connected server environment. Practically what it means is that software can be created as a service and deployed to Windows Azure managed environment which can be scaled based on needs.
Windows Azure is an operating system that perhaps not a lot of normal Windows users will use. It will be used mostly by developers, and so on. Perhaps, you can compare it to Microsoft’s Server OS. However, we can’t ignore it. Just like Windows Servers, Azure will service applications that are written in Microsoft’s platform and services. Hence, providing infinite opportunities for innovative use of cloud computing – all in Microsoft’s platform.
Obviously, I am not the one who decides Microsoft’s direction, so who knows what Microsoft will do in the future; but, I can tell from observation that unless Microsoft solves its problems of dependability and security, it will have tough time in the future. Also, it has become abundantly clear that cloud computing is here to stay, so Microsoft will have to focus on it in order to succeed. My crystal ball says that Microsoft will focus on aforementioned points by using Singularity and tools for cloud computing such as Windows Azure – it will the weapons to use against its enemies like Google.