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Open Source Strategist Finds Security in the Cloud

Microsoft's open source strategist Sam Ramji finished up his tenure in Redmond last Friday. He spent his last weeks at the company working to establish the CodePlex Foundation, a Microsoft-sponsored, non-profit organization that seeks to facilitate software vendors' participation in open source communities. Ramji is serving as interim president.

In addition to his work for the foundation, Ramji started a job at cloud computing analytics and governance provider Sonoa Systems on Monday, where he will head product strategy and business development. Founded in 2004, Sonoa offers API and cloud management through on-premise software, ServiceNet appliances, or a service hosted on Amazon EC2. Currently, Sonoa Systems is not associated with Windows Azure, or any open source initiatives.

News editor Jeff Schwartz caught up with Ramji this week and learned that promoting cloud interoperability is still a personal point of interest. Ramji shared his thoughts on Azure and the openness of Microsoft's cloud platform.

What are your observations in terms of Azure's early uptake? Will it be a viable alternative to Amazon?

"I think it will be very successful over time. I don't have deep knowledge on usage but what I did see though was in working with leaders like Ray Ozzie and Amitabh Srivastava that they were very open to open source. Over a year ago, when they had asked my team to help them build the PHP integration for Azure, and from what I've seen that work has continued past the initial project that my team at Microsoft delivered, I've seen four PHP SDKs. I think I saw a Ruby SDK not too long ago. I think the clarity that that group has that open source can expand usage and make Azure more broadly used and more useful is pretty clear. I feel that strategy and technology is in good hands."

Will it be an open cloud service or will it be a .NET cloud service that happens to also support open source?

"I think it will just be a cloud service period. You will be able to run .NET services and you will be able to run PHP services, I think it will be non denominational."

Read the full "Exit Interview" with Ramji.

What do you make of Ramji's departure from Microsoft? What steps does Microsoft need to take to ensure that Azure is more than a .NET cloud service? Express your thoughts below or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 10/01/2009

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