Microsoft made the decision to change its cloud pricing and licensing by ‘closing a loophole‘ in its licensing agreements for Windows Server, SQL server, and other software to add a “tax” to businesses attempting to use existing licenses on Amazon’s AWS or Google’s GCP, arguably in an attempt to bolster its own Azure cloud platform. If this changes how much your cloud infrastructure costs, now might be a good time at looking at alternative options.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux logo

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its derivative CentOS are great open source Linux platforms with long life-cycles and enterprise support. Using an operating system such as RHEL with other open source software can give you a great stable, cheap, and well-supported platform to work with with. In addition, it can give your company access to an open source ecosystem that makes it easier to find technical talent.

Red Hat has also been championing the idea lately of a “Hybrid Cloud” to enable further in-sourcing and to make it possible to reduce costs associated with cloud providers.

(Side note, Red Hat makes its money on Software Consulting, and was bought by IBM for $34 billion last year. Warren Buffet, famously a fan of value investing and also avoiding tech stocks, has a small holding in the company)

Mono (for .NET exe’s)

For some .NET apps, I’ve had good luck running them in a Docker container on Linux with Mono, the opensource implementation of Microsoft’s .NET framework. This can circumvent the need for a Windows Server license entirely.

An example of an obscure .NET videogame server running on a Mono Docker container:


Further reading:

Joel Spolsky’s ‘Fire and Motion’

Think of the history of data access strategies to come out of Microsoft.   ODBC, RDO, DAO, ADO, OLEDB, now ADO.NET – All New! Are these technological imperatives? The result of an incompetent design group that needs to reinvent data access every goddamn year? (That’s probably it, actually.) But the end result is just cover fire.  

The competition has no choice but to spend all their time porting and keeping up, time that they can’t spend writing new features.  

Look closely at the software landscape. The companies that do well are the ones who rely least on big companies and don’t have to spend all their cycles catching up and re-implementing and fixing bugs that crop up only on Windows XP.

The companies who stumble are the ones who spend too much time reading tea leaves to figure out the future direction of Microsoft.

My previous exploits with Docker:

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