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Mark Russinovich moves to Azure – what does it all mean?

While Microsoft has yet to make an “official” announcement, it seems most have heard by now that Windows legend Mark Russinovich has joined the company’s Windows Azure team. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley broke the story late last week via Microsoft evangelist Matthijs Hoekstra’s Twitter page, and since then the Internet has lit up with posts about the news.Mark Russinovich

So what does it all mean? Well at the very least, it likely adds more credibility to Microsoft’s overall cloud platform. Russinovich is an extremely well-respected figure in the IT community, having cofounded Winternals Software and the immensely popular Sysinternals website. He’s been working as a technical fellow for Microsoft since 2006 – most recently with the Core OS Division team — and has been described by many as knowing Windows better than those who created it.

Simply adding his name to the Azure docket should help put more trust in folks regarding the platform. Quest Software’s Kevin Kline, for example, who has expressed to me his skepticism of the cloud in the past, expressed a much more positive vew on SQLServerPedia in response to the news. “When almost all of the heavy hitters in a company like Microsoft go to work on a single exciting new technology, you can easily tell which direction the wind is blowing. I encourage you to get on board soon with cloud computing, at least in experimentation mode,” he wrote.

He’s right about the heavy hitters. Russinovich also joins fellow technical … err … fellow Dave Cutler, the “father of Windows NT” who worked on building the core components of Azure. It’s unclear exactly what Russinovich’s role is on the team, though one blogger at Cloud Recovery opined it could have something to do with Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service components.

Back in 2008, Russinovich sat down with my colleague Margie Semilof where he expressed optimism about the potential of cloud computing, particularly in regards to its effect on administrators. “The idea [behind cloud computing] is we take some of the burden off the admin and put the burden in the cloud,” he said at the time. “I don’t think [admins] will ever have less work. The work will shift … I think when it comes to putting things in the cloud, that’s taking some of what they might consider grunt work and offloading that, and then focusing more on policy, and how you implement policy.”

You can see the full interview below.

For more information on Windows Azure and the cloud in general, visit

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