(For the record, Miller says that Azure's main strength lies in the fact that Microsoft "gets" developers better than Amazon and to a lesser degree Google.)
The new reality also means that Microsoft won't be dogmatic about building its Azure infrastructure on Windows components out of loyalty to the Windows part of the business. A perfect illustration of this is the recent unveiling of Microsoft's Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) – a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking which, interestingly, is built on Linux.
The idea that Microsoft would have built ACS out of Linux two years ago would have been ludicrous, but now it makes perfect sense.
"Nadella runs the business by empowering his people to make the right decisions for the company as a whole and not by worrying if another division might get hurt," says Miller. "If I had to make a cloud switch, my reaction would also be to build it from Linux."
But Microsoft's Rengarajan is keen to point out that Microsoft is not abandoning Windows in the cloud for Big Data (or for anything else) – far from it.
To back this up he pulls says that HD Insight on Windows is currently one of Azure's fastest growing services.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.