Having recently returned from LEAP Nordic – a Microsoft conference in Redmond for more than 200 Nordic partners and customers – I am struck by how much Microsoft has changed. At least the perception of Microsoft in the Software Engineering community has changed. The common view used to be that Microsoft is a big, evil co-operation, protecting what’s theirs with all available measures. Now, however, it’s quite the opposite; Microsoft has embraced the open source trend and is being rewarded by a much nicer reputation. In fact, Microsoft is “hip” nowadays.
This embracement of openness was already made very clear during one of the first talks by Scott Hunter (@coolcsh) on the topic “Cross Platform and Open Source”. During his talk Scott gave the background of Microsoft’s open source initiatives, something that has been going on longer than most of us realize. It all started with the release of parts of the .NET infrastructure code in the early 2000s, and in 2008 ASP.NET MVC 1.0 was released under the Microsoft Public License. However, it wasn’t until 2012 Microsoft really open sourced something, i.e. also accepted contributions from the public, with ASP.NET and Entity Framework.
Today Microsoft is one of the most active companies on Github, has more than 16000 open source contributors (more than, for instance, Facebook), 62% of the development comes from the public, and the .NET Framework is not even owned by Microsoft but by the .NET Foundation, an independent foundation with the mission to “foster open development and collaboration around the .NET ecosystem.”
So why is Microsoft doing this? They have acknowledged that its’s a Cloud-first world, where revenues come from Cloud consumption and not from selling licenses.
Teleopti has also acknowledged and embraced the fact that we live in a Cloud-first world. Our long-term roadmap, both from a functionality and a technical perspective, is fully focused on delivering outstanding WFM functionality as a service over Microsoft Azure. We have been on Azure for a long time already, we got our first customer into production using Azure back in 2011, when Azure had only been generally available for a little more than one year.
Back then we only used two types of services, Azure Cloud Service, which we handled much like a virtual machine hosted in the Cloud, and the Azure SQL Service. Now we are about to take the next step and start distributing Teleopti WFM as a set of containers orchestrated by Azure Managed Kubernetes service (AKS).
With this road ahead, Brendan Burns (@brendandburns), who was previously at Google and is one of the founders of Kubernetes, was another highlight during LEAP. One of his key points was that there is no other way to go than open source for this kind of container orchestration system. This made our decision to go with Kubernetes feel even better. At Teleopti we have always preferred to use open source components and libraries over proprietary. During my time at Teleopti we have only bought a proprietary component/library once, and even if it might have been a good decision back then, every once in a while, we regret it deeply. Out of respect I will not say which component or library it is.
In line with the Cloud-first world, there is also a shift in mindset when it comes to platforms – Microsoft doesn’t care much if you run Windows, Linux, or whatever, as long as you are running on Azure. During a great talk by the DevOps advocate Abel Wang (@AbelSquidHead), I lost count on how many times I heard the mantra “using any language, for any platform.” It is even the case that when they are releasing AKS, it comes with only Linux support. Support for Windows containers are planned for later this year, something we at Teleopti really look forward to, as this will be part of our future architecture and we are not yet on .NET Core.
This rise in hipness, a reward for Microsoft’s increased openness, is also something I have noticed in other places. Just the other day I was in a discussion about code editors. One of my friends, someone that I have always considered to be quite far from being a Microsoft guy, proclaimed “I use Visual Studio Code – everything is backwards these days.”
Well, given Teleopti’s recent decision to go all-in on Microsoft and Azure, I like backwards!