As cloud computing continues to gain momentum, monolithic brands like Google and Twitter are building out their own massive data networks for online services distributed across thousands of machines. Up to this point the most efficient way for them to execute their software with that many nodes in the hardware network has been to utilize Linux, the open source operating system backed by a technology called “containers.”
The corollary fact from a Microsoft perspective is that means they aren’t using Windows, and for the Redmond giant of the OS industry, that presents a very large problem moving forward. Unlike Linux Windows has proven to be a poor choice for the kind of massive cloud networks that appear to be the future of modern computing – especially now that Windows NT is defunct. That’s why Microsoft is shifting their efforts and retooling Windows to avoid obsolescence.
First, Microsoft announced it would add Linux-like container technology to Windows and now they have revealed that they are also developing a trimmed down version of there OS named Windows Server Nano, designed to run as a whole new kind of container which would add another new level of system security.
Microsoft Windows Server Nano will compete with Linux CoreOS – representing a major challenge to the competitive advantage Linux presently holds on the future of online services that operate by necessity across hundreds or thousands of distributed network machines (the foundation of the cloud).
Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft appears to finally be bending its own product line to the needs of its potential customers, instead of attempting to evangelize an internal vision in the hope of swaying IT professionals toward an MS-centric worldview.
Many businesses now run containers on public cloud computing services like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud or Microsoft Azure, but the new Microsoft Windows Server Nano would instead allow containers to run on virtual machines, which provides a much needed improvement in cloud data security. Whether Microsoft can chip away at Linux market share remains to be seen, but unlike in years past, at least it now appears Microsoft is willing to build what people want instead of trying to convince them to want something else.