microsoft-windows-azure-mysqlCall them strange -- but smart -- bedfellows in Microsoft's cloud. As part of the Microsoft Windows Azure initiative, Microsoft says the Azure cloud will support MySQL, the open source database. Frankly, The VAR Guy thinks it's a brilliant move. Here's why.

First, some background: Microsoft's traditional on-premise Windows Server offering runs a range of open source databases, email systems, content management systems, CRM software and so on. Keep in mind that Microsoft employs an open source chief. Also, Microsoft has quietly worked to certify multiple open source applications on Windows Server.

Moving ISVs to the Cloud

Now, Microsoft is seeking to repeat that success with Windows Azure, the company's newly launched cloud computing environment. On the one hand, Azure is a platform that allows traditional ISVs (independent software vendors) to re-write their on-premise server applications for cloud computing. On the other hand, Windows Azure could open the door to a range of new, innovative cloud apps.

Along the way, some big-name open source applications could land in the Azure cloud. For example, "we've enabled MySQL on top of Windows Azure," said Microsoft's Prashant Ketkar, director of product marketing for Windows Azure. Ketkar made the statement during a July 15 meeting with The VAR Guy at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09) in New Orleans.

The VAR Guy must admit: He double-checked his interview notes because Microsoft's own developer network suggests MySQL cannot be hosted on Azure. But Ketkar clearly stated to The VAR Guy: "We've enabled MySQL on top of Windows Azure."

Hmmm. Interesting stuff, especially since MySQL is so popular with hosting providers. Plus, Oracle stands to acquire MySQL as part of the pending Sun Microsystems buyout.

Oracle: The Azure Wild Card

Oh, and while we're on the subject of Oracle... You'll recall that Oracle was among the first major ISVs to port all of its applications from Unix over to Windows NT Server in the 1990s. It was a winning strategy that allowed Oracle to compete more effectively against Microsoft SQL Server on NT.

Fast forward to the present. The big question: Will Oracle, IBM/Lotus and other major ISVs offer some applications in the Azure cloud? The VAR Guy tends to doubt it. But remember this: SAP's Business ByDesign -- an on-demand SAP offering -- will join the Windows Azure effort, says Microsoft's Ketkar.

Hmmm. Can Windows Azure be the next-generation platform for ISVs moving to the cloud? The VAR Guy is watching. Closely.

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