When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360 in May 2005 on MTV, several of my System Center colleagues and myself joked about how one day the Xbox would replace the racks of servers in the datacenter. Instead of a keyboard and mouse, you'd use an Xbox controller to navigate the server interface. How much easier it would be to manage the server using the Xbox 360's tiled interface?
You might think this is a crazy idea and that it will never happen—or, at least won't happen during your own IT lifetime. But, think about it for a second. Microsoft is steadily tying every piece of software they develop to the cloud. With each passing quarter, each Microsoft owned conference, and each brand new announcement, we are being led directly up Jacob's Ladder.
Microsoft Learning and Adapting
In What Yet Another Microsoft Reorg Might Mean for IT, I surmised that Microsoft is using the Surface tablet as a way of cutting its teeth on producing hardware devices. And, they are learning. The first release of the Surface was "OK," causing Microsoft to start dumping stock at various events to make room for Surface v2 this Fall. Version 2 of the device, in my opinion, will be extraordinary. Those that currently own Surface devices, love them, and I fully expect each Surface v1 owner to step-up to v2 when they are available.
As Microsoft continues learning and adapting, I fully expect to see a Microsoft produced private cloud device. It will run a Microsoft Cloud OS, include System Center components for management, and be built on Microsoft-branded hardware. At TechEd 2013 North America, there were a few Expo vendors who had put together turnkey cloud solutions using their own hardware, but software from Microsoft. I'm sure this is appealing to Microsoft. Microsoft wants to be your everything. Microsoft has the software and operating system piece, they've just always been very tentative about providing the hardware—until now, I believe.
Microsoft Private Cloud Management Application in Future?
So, while my colleagues and I may have been joking, and just a few years off on our theories, we may have been close to accurate in our thinking. And, I still keep up hope that whatever Microsoft comes up with will include the Xbox name.
If Microsoft provided the private cloud management application, would you deploy the Xbox One in your datacenter?