Windows Azure: Microsoft’s Venture to the Clouds

By Yonatan Gordon

On Tuesday July 10th, at their Wordwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft announced some key developments in their Azure Cloud. These advancements were intended to further enable businesses to brand the cloud service as their own. As we will discuss, Microsoft’s announcement brings attention to the distinction between the patient cloud infrastructure and those agile companies seeking to create brand identity and awareness.

Light-Filled Clouds

In truth, a cloud filled with data is attainable to all. To abstract our discussion to the underlying principles behind cloud computing, we will now say that opening up the Azure Cloud to developers and smaller companies is symbolic of the opening of the storehouses of concealed wisdom.

On the one hand, wisdom is just a power of the soul, not the soul itself–but wisdom defines a man. In wisdom there is the higher and the lower–the initial (concealed) aspect, and the communication (revelation) of the concealed to reality.

The desirability of a cloud service comes first from the hidden aspect of wisdom, also termed the hidden pleasure within the skull. Pleasure is the cause of wisdom because pleasure is water and water can also be wisdom, like Moses who was taken out of the waters. With regards to the density of a cloud, when pleasure becomes thickened it becomes wisdom, similar to the way we measure the effectiveness of a cloud service by how dense it can become (i.e. how much data it can cluster, store and deploy).

Whereas the hidden pleasure of wisdom can thicken into water, the point is not to be satisfied with a thick cloud of knowledge filled to the brim with water. The goal is to take the self-pleasure of the intellect and turn it into a vector force of agility and deliverability. This takes the volition of will. To transition a dense cloud into an agent of precipitation.

Branding Will

Like in the precipitation of a cloud, will can cause pleasure to descend (e.g. as droplets) but pleasure can’t move will. This is why in some ways, it’s more interesting to see how companies will brand the cloud then how the cloud platform performs by itself. While pleasure is more internal than will, what illuminates the pleasure is just something (ha’arah) of the pleasure. Whereas with will, it is the will itself that is expressed. This is the deeper reason why a company can rebrand Microsoft’s cloud to the extent that you don’t even know it’s running on Azure. Branding is a function of will which is more essential then the hidden pleasure of the cloud infrastructure.

Everything that runs has a great deal of inertia to it it. So will is running while pleasure is in a state of “concealment after concealment”. Pleasure is introverted, concealed from the public’s view, whereas will is extroverted. A company rushes to exert itself, whereas the cloud service (if successful) will become less and less known to the customers of the branding company. Will in the psyche also relates to somethingness whereas pleasure is the source of all nothing, as it is called in Kabbalah “reisha d’ayin” (the head of nothingness). The will of the branding company then is like the something–the known extraversion–that controls the nothingness of the cloud itself–the self-pleasure or introverted principle of the intellect.

Even if a company has both sides (i.e. they have branded their service but people still know that it is running on Microsoft’s cloud), it is the extroverted nature–the branding–that will decide in the end how the service will be perceived. The introvert is more passive while the extrovert is more active.

Rapid Deployment

There are two primary functions of our cloud. The first is that it can contain the wonderment that illuminates the concealed wisdom. We said above that wisdom is dense, and like droplets ready for precipitation, are always ready to shower down upon the world. Now we are adding lighting to the mix. That within the cloud are also thoughts that have the potential to illuminate the concealed wisdom like flashes of lightning. When these thoughts are drawn down, this is the power of descent. So branding has the ability to turn wonders into rainfalls. To bring down concepts that would otherwise stay solely in their state of self-illumination. This exertion brings down the introverted nature of wondrous ideas out for the benefit of others.

We mentioned above that pleasure thickens into water. Now we will add that exertion or branding turns this water into droplets. The annulment of pleasure comes from its annulling itself in order give of its wondrous thoughts to orders. This is like when an introverted person goes up to speak publicly simply because others stand to benefit from the speech.

By inviting companies and developers to rebrand the Azure Cloud as their own, Microsoft is showing that in some ways, the branding is more essential than the service itself. What we mean to say is that branding is a function of a company’s outreach to their user base. By bringing down the technology provided by Microsoft in very specific ways, companies are showing their willingness to connect and benefit their customer base. Microsoft can be content with even complete anonymity, because in the end, companies and end-users are still using their service. In this model, it is the smaller companies or developers who are publicly speaking out the introverted or concealed nature of the cloud service. Microsoft doesn’t mind letting others do the speaking for them because it allows them to stay focused on expanding the concealed or introverted aspect of the concept.

Patient Alacrity

In each article we try to include some practical advice for both personal and business pursuits. The first lesson is that if you had a choice whether to choose the cloud infrastructure or the branding element, you would choose the former.

When a company attempts to create brand identity and awareness, it is like a surge forward into the market. In Kabbalah, though, this vector force movement is generally seen as something chaotic. An act which may be prone to the “shattering of the vessels” as it is called.

By contrast, the cloud infrastructure is something well-established. It patiently carries out its functions at its supposed to. As long as the system is “up” then you otherwise just assume that it is working. Branding, however, is a more volatile sense of agility and swiftness to enter the market.

At first glance these two approaches seem antagonistic–a person can either be swift and agile or slow and determined. Yet the Ba’al Shem Tov teaches that serving God properly requires us to combine both qualities into a singular concept called “patient alacrity” by directing the force of our eagerness through patient judgement.

In our context this means that our eagerness to develop brand awareness (our own cloud service) comes from being properly overlayed on top of the Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure. By opening their cloud service to developers, they are encouraging the eagerness and agility of new companies to combine with the patient temperament of a dominant player in the market.

This concept is what we also call containing volatile, swift and eager lights of the World of Chaos within the patient, steady and refined vessels of the World of Rectification. The strategy of “patient alacrity” is one that has vast scope well-beyond the realm of market branding and awareness campaigns.

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One thought on “Windows Azure: Microsoft’s Venture to the Clouds

  1. Pingback: Office 2013: Microsoft’s Venture from the Clouds « Community of Readers

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