Q&A About Open Source and Azure with Mark Godfrey of Microsoft

Mark Godfrey is a TSP with Microsoft Canada. Recently he spent time presenting to an audience of more than 200 application developers about Open Source, Azure and Optimus Information at the Vancouver Microsoft Technology Summit

Open Source is everywhere at Microsoft. Check out what’s running on Microsoft Azure today.

Q: Welcome Mark, and thanks for joining us today.

A: My pleasure, happy to be here.

Q: For people who don’t know you and your role, can you explain what you do at Microsoft?

A: Sure. At Microsoft I’m a TSP – Technology Solution Professional. I’m the guy who helps the sales teams by talking to customers about how Microsoft technology works and how it will fit into their environment to improve agility, increase innovation and secure their IT assets

Q: You enjoy this role?

A: I love this role. I think it is the best job at Microsoft.

Q: Thanks – I’ve known you for a few years and I know that statement is true. Can we begin with some myth busting? I was really surprised to learn that about 50% of the workloads on Azure today are actually Open Source workloads.optimus-mark-qanda-blog-2-1 Q&A About Open Source and Azure with Mark Godfrey of Microsoft

A: True, we are approaching that, getting very close, I expect to see it will be greater than 50% within the next two years.

Q: Honestly, I am shocked. I had no clue.

A: You and most of the people in the room where I was presenting. I think the challenge we’ve had is that we haven’t done a good job of marketing how integrated we are with existing Open Source software. It’s really a shame that we haven’t been better at letting folks know we want to meet them where they are. If they are already using Chef and Puppet or any number of Linux distros. There are a lot of app development tools that are already built and integrated into Azure. We want the Open Source world to know about this.

Q: Who should we be telling? Are there industries or vertical markets that are more likely to be using instances of Open Source?

A: No, it’s everybody; anybody who is running Open Source software today. It’s not just small business and the hipster shops. It’s government and big business that are also using a lot of Open Source technology, especially in the application development and DevOps world.

When Microsoft first introduced Azure, we actively met with customers about their Windows workloads. And, in parallel, we were ensuring that Azure was equally friendly for Open Source. Now customers are beginning to realize, ‘wait a second, Microsoft is a great platform to meet us where we are.’ Customers might be using tools like Chef, Puppet, Drupal – all these different Open Source technologies – and not realize they don’t have to change. They can continue with these technologies on Azure.

Q: What’s the advantage of putting your Open Source workloads on Azure as opposed to another public Cloud provider?

A: Speed and agility, and the rate of innovation you can drive. It’s the same challenge you have with the Windows world, in that standing things up on-premises can take weeks or months. Standing things up in Azure and leveraging the services that already exist in Azure is minutes or hours. And Microsoft is the only public cloud platform that offers a truly hybrid solution; what you’re doing on-premises can be extended into Azure. You just can’t do that the same way with AWS or Google Cloud.

I’ll give you some examples, and the picture above really illustrates this; application development platforms like Joomla and Drupal can run natively on Azure. It means that development teams can deliver applications much faster than if they were using an on-premises development platform that needed to be created or recreated for every project. By leveraging Azure, they continue to manage and leverage the technology that they use today, but at cloud speed, so there’s not a lot of retraining, replacement, or new hiring that’s required.

Q: That leads me to my next question: Microsoft has a lot of great partners and one of them co-presented with you – Optimus Information Technology.

A: That’s right. We have an incredible partner community and they each have unique skills that help our customers move to the cloud. One of the strengths that Optimus brings is their test harness. This technology enables automated testing of Open Source applications. Microsoft is committed to helping our customers, and will fund proof-of-concepts and pilots for customers who are moving or testing workloads in the cloud.

Q: How do customers take advantage of this?

A: Simply reach out to Optimus or reach out to your local Microsoft TSP. We can help you get started.

Q: Mark, thanks for your time. This was really interesting.

A: My pleasure.

For readers of this blog who want to learn more about funding a PoC for automated testing of Open Source applications using the Optimus test harness, simply reach out to our Chief Technical Strategist, Ryan O’Connor.