To my surprise, I heard in Ray Ozzie's keynote this morning that Microsoft is building a Remote Monitoring Service (RMS) using System Center and their new cloud-based service platform, Azure. They'll use a SCOM as the local, on-premises agent that will relay alerts into the cloud where a bunch of compute nodes will process the event streams and make it available via the Web in report, dashboard, and scorecard form.
Why would I raise an eyebrow at this? It's a straight forward thing to do and an obvious way to sell an existing product to a wider array of customers. I found it surprising because I pitched a similar idea at my old company at the beginning of the year using their NMS as the local agent and AWS as the service platform. I discussed it with my boss and he said that companies weren't ready to put their data in the cloud, that they were too concerned about the security ramifications of such an architecture. I didn't disagree with him that many companies wouldn't trust us to manage their data in the cloud, so I dropped it.
Now that Microsoft is providing such a solution, however, I think that companies will be more likely to accept such a notion. I think that companies want a RMS and would like to outsource their network management needs, but haven't trusted the providers of such services. Now, with the 900 lb gorilla selling it, I'm sure many companies will farm out this non-core-competency.
And this, my friends, is the big deal about Azure: it will begin the mainstream adaptation of cloud computing.