Microsoft's utility transformation: "very, very big deal"

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Nicholas Carr has a post today about a presentation Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie made to analysts yesterday in which he outlined the company’s utility computing future.

There are three stages to the process: physical infrastructure, software layer, and services. There’s the hardware:

As with Google, Microsoft is building its data centers out of huge numbers of cheap servers and other “commodity components,” both to keep costs down and to “achieve reliability through redundancy.” Over the last year, Ozzie said, Microsoft has doubled the number of servers installed in its utility plants “and we will keep investing.”

The OS:

The second level is “our cloud infrastructure services layer” which forms the “utility computing fabric upon which all of our online services run.” This is essentially the operating system for the data centers, or the “cloud OS,” as it’s sometimes called

And the apps:

The third layer – what Ozzie calls “the Live platform services layer” – consists of a set of shared services, such as identity management, contact databases, and advertising, that the company’s online applications will draw on.

The services will be aimed at consumers, IT staffs, businesses, and developers. Why is this an HPC post? Because its certainly a small leap to think that MS will be providing HPC services based on CCS ala Sun’s