Mark Headshot

Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure at Microsoft will take the keynote stage this year during the OCP U.S. Summit 2016 at the San Jose Convention Center to speak about the advantages of taking an open approach to cloud computing, as well as Microsoft’s work in contributing their innovations to OCP.

We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions to get some insight into his vision for the future of open technology. Check it out below!


Q: What motivated you to get into your areas of expertise?

A: When I was in seventh grade, I first became hooked on computer programming after I was introduced to an Apple IIe. ‘Computational thinking’ just clicked with me as a way to constructively seek a solution to a specific problem. It was one of the earliest feelings of empowerment that I can remember. That set me onto my career path, ultimately leading me to pursue a PhD in computer science and to where I am today.

Q: What is your vision for the future of open hardware? 

A: Cloud computing is continuing to transform businesses across all industries, driving the need for greater agility, scale and faster time to market. The hardware industry is no exception, and these demands will likely drive a transition from closed proprietary platforms to open platforms. With hardware serving as the foundation for infrastructure, this will have implications on cloud computing vendors. For Microsoft in particular, this transformation will continue to drive convergence between architectures for the public cloud and private/hybrid clouds, ensuring consistency in computing models between the two environments.

Q: What is the vision of your team at Microsoft, spanning over the course of the next 5-10 years?

A: It may sound simple, but our vision is focused on continuing to meet customers where they are as the cloud continually drives change at a mind-boggling pace. Across all industries, businesses are relying on the cloud to make things work better, faster – from intelligently predicting the health needs of patients, to predicting when airplane fleets need servicing – and these businesses need help in staying on top of the cloud’s rapid evolution. We’re uniquely suited to helping these businesses embrace the speed, scale and economic benefits and innovation the cloud is driving, while not needing to rip and replace their existing legacy infrastructure investments – and over the next few years, I expect to see more and more businesses going all-in to the cloud as they realize what it helps them achieve.

Q: What are some key milestone technical advancements you've made in the past year?

A: Our vision for the next 5-10 years is also the right lens to look back at our technical advancements over the past several months. Innovations like our recent preview of Azure Stack are an important example of us meeting customers where they are in the cloud. Azure Stack is a first-of-its-kind hybrid cloud platform product that lets organizations use our cloud platform, Azure, in their own datacenters – letting them achieve true consistency between on-premises and public cloud environments to help organizations to the cloud on their own terms. For other customers, their issues are getting their arms around the complexities associated with massive cloud scale and speed. For example, some of our customers are grappling with how to scale applications in today’s “always on” cloud age, where issues like lifecycle management, performance and high availability pose a problem for older applications. The answer is in microservices, an emerging approach where complex applications are composed of smaller, independent components that work together to deliver an application’s functionality – in turn enabling a much easier, faster way to update apps and have them support the pace of change in the cloud. We released a preview of our microservices platform Service Fabric several months ago and are continuing to innovate in this area.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at OCP Summit this year?

A: I’m most excited about connecting with the OCP community and sharing updates on Microsoft’s contributions with them – as well as our overall open source journey. Over the past months, I’ve frequently been speaking about Microsoft’s commitment to open source in the cloud, where we are working to enable choice and flexibility for customers across a wide range of tools, platforms and programming languages.