If you can’t beat them, join them : Microsoft Introduces OneGet

Do you remember this guy from Maxxel tape commercials?


Throw out the old cathode ray tube and insert a few 24″ LCD panels, and that’s been me for the last 48 hours as I’ve absorbed the news from #BUILD2014, Microsoft’s big developer conference and the first one under Captain Satya “Fearless” Nadella.

Blown away.

All the consumer stuff is great and exciting and on a personal level, I think Windows Phone 8.1 finally has reached feature parity with iOS & Android and is thus a potential handset for me some three years after I gave the laughable Windows Phone 7 a chance.

But the biggest news is *nix & Windows, friends at last. Maybe.

Where’s Microsoft headed? Agnostic Computing land. Just look at these crazy developments:

  • Jeffrey Snover & a declarative Windows/Azure in WMF 5: Snover, who I’ve written about before, is the father of PowerShell & Desired State Configuration, Microsoft’s document-based attempt to simplify deployment. Basically it’s a Redmond-flavored Puppet, but, on a deeper level, and as Snover pointed out in an interview last year, it’s a declarative framework for Windows, which marks a subtle change in focus in our old API-focused OS. Windows is/will soon be document-based like Linux, which means something substantive to programmer types and something practical to guys like me who are tired of SCCM crashing
  • Speaking of Chef & Puppet, both are now a legit part of the Azure stack. The Puppet Labs CEO was even on stage at #BUILD
  • OneGet: Thomas Maurer, MVP Hyper-V blogger ,outlines OneGet in detail but here’s what you need to know: Are you familiar with Apt-get in Ubuntu/Debian or pkg install in *BSD? OneGet is like that. For f#($*#( Windows!
  • Xamarin: Microsoft is really embracing Xamarin, Miguel de Icaza’s firm that produces open source tools for .net. If anyone deserves a bit of fame & fortune, it’s probably de Icaza as he’s been a .net/C# supporter for a long time in a space and among a crowd that hung pictures of Bill Gates, Locutus of Borg. I mean, imagine trying to scratch out a living wedged between giant ecosystems and associated history baggage & dogma. That’s where de Icaza has been and I’m eager to see the fruits of the new relationship.
  • Microsoft open sources stuff: Suddenly Microsoft is interesting again, says WaPo, of the blizzard of open source announcements at #BUILD. .Net Compilers, Win Java Script, hell, they’ve even open sourced Word 1.0. “Microsoft is trying to be your friend, and it may actually win you over,” WIRED swoons.

To me, the significant news out of BUILD is further proof that Nadella’s got his priorities straight, that Microsoft’s no longer worrying about shedding some of the legacy stuff/philosophies that have held it back in mobile, cloud and elsewhere.

The line between the open source world & Windows used to be really sharp, fine, and narrow, with combatants clearly staked out on each side.

After BUILD 2014, it seems a whole lot more fuzzy, and I think that’s a great thing in IT and in the consumer space. You can almost have best of breed & one throat to choke simultaneously!

One last cool news bit from BUILD: Microsoft’s network virtualization solution to date has amounted to NVGRE, a packet encapsulation solution that few engineers outside of Azure seem to care about, use, or make products for. It’s only available if you’re a System Center customer and frankly, seems more trouble than its worth. I don’t have multiple tenants in my data-center, I have one: my employer.

Meanwhile, OpenDaylight and all the VMware SDN products & frameworks are gaining momentum. And you can experiment with that stuff for free. Cumulus Networks sells a Linux-powered switch, some companies are pushing API-based traffic management and SDN feels like it’s real & tangible.

Well, Microsoft’s got something new there too, and though I can’t say it’s truly “SDN,” it’s at least practical and interesting: program your switch with powershell. Hot!

Author: Jeff Wilson

20 yr Enterprise IT Pro | Master of Public Admin | BA in History | GSEC #42816 | Blogging on technology & trust topics at our workplaces, at our homes, and the spaces in between.

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