So with all the energy and activity going on in the cloud at the moment, I'm starting to see three key tiers emerging (in my pea brain anyway):
1. User Layer - The first touch into the cloud through web product.
2. Service Layer - Many specialized services used in concert to produce User Layer product.
3. Cloud OS - Purpose built, flat, internetworked cloud operating system
So the purpose of this tome is to flesh out numero c! The cloud OS! See, the way I see it, if Microsoft wants to help partners build businesses in the cloud, we're going to have to start building some..., well, cloud!
So I reckon we start with a purpose built cloud OS. We start by flattening the OS architecture. The cloud doesn't care about platform lock-in, legacy drivers, video cards; those are silicon worries! It cares about sockets and storage, and it cares about fast and reliable! Therefor, kill the abstraction tiers, write each line of code to connect service tier to kernel tier with no abstraction in between, focus on the stuff that matters in the new world, throw the old world OS thinking out (well, maybe don't throw it out, but don't let it constrain the thought process).
Next, make sure multi-tenancy is baked in from scratch. Make sure things like water tight security, scalable communications, script'able config and deployment, are all by design. Also make sure it's like flubber! Remember that movie!? To me, I should be able to just throw Windows Cloud onto a couple of web appliances, then sit them on the same segment, tell them they're the persistence tier, and boom, they just go through a "firming" process, where the setup literally resets the OS into a web persistence server. On another segment, I do the same thing, but this time tell them they are the front end web servers, and boom, they firm up, connect to each other to say G'day, and then operate as just one single cloud. You then have your persistence cloud, your front end web server cloud, you could have a couple of different clouds too, like an authentication cloud... you get it.
The other major part of this story is for developers. See, the tools for Windows Cloud, let's say Visual Studio Cloud Edition would be all about orchestrating other cloud services, into new services. It would support direct push to your cloud infrastructure, would support redeployment, secure staging, throttling, the works. It would support reverse engineering existing web assets, all that stuff.
And finally, the licensing needs to be dead on. It needs to be tailored with hosters in mind, needs to be easy enough for a 4th year Masters of Economics student to understand (that's a good stretch goal for MS ;)), and needs to be domestically sensitive.
And there you have it... can't be that hard could it??