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Microsoft Articulates How it Wants to be Cloud Provider of Choice

October 24, 2014

The race to be your all inclusive cloud provider intensified this week as Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella revealed how the Redmond, WA-based giant intends to exert itself as the preferred vendor for “E”verything cloud. This comes on the heels of major “Cloud First” initiatives the past few weeks from Oracle, SAP and IBM just to name a few.

What CEO Nadella outlined in a speech in San Francisco, Microsoft is using Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics to deliver what the company is touting as “the industry’s most complete cloud.” Part of this completeness were enhancements to its hyper-scale, enterprise-grade, hybrid cloud platform. These include:

  • The new Azure G-series of virtual machines and Premium Storage
  • General availability of the Microsoft Cloud Platform System, powered by Dell
  • Partnerships with Cloudera Inc. and CoreOS
  • A new Azure Marketplace.

“The enterprises of today and tomorrow demand a cloud platform that is reliable, scalable and flexible,” Nadella said. “With more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 on the Microsoft cloud, we are delivering the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography.”

Beefing up cloud solutions on all fronts

Microsoft’s public cloud offering Azure was front and center in terms of its positioning for cloud supremacy.  Nadalla noted for example that with general availability of Azure in the Australia region this coming week, Azure will be operational in 19 regions globally which they say is at least double the number of any other public cloud provider.

Along with this milestone were Azure enhancements, which included: the G-series of virtual machines and premium storage for Microsoft Azure, which are clearly aimed at hyperscale requirements and an enticement for large enterprises and developers to think cloud first when they need to run significant workloads.

The integration of Azure with the rest of the Microsoft cloud solutions portfolio was also highlighted. The company is showcasing its Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS) that is powered by Dell, which brings together Azure, Windows Server and Microsoft System Center to provide an “Azure-consistent cloud in a box.”  CPS comes with pre-integrated hardware from Dell and software from Microsoft. It delivers actionable insights from Azure to customers and partners with the control of an on-premises appliance and will be available for purchase on Nov. 3.

In making the announcement, Microsoft delivered an interesting equation for cloud success—Enterprise + startups and ISVs = accelerated cloud adoption and innovation.

It noted that more than 40 percent of Azure revenue now comes from startups and ISVs. In recognition of the importance of these players, the new Azure Marketplace has been designed to make life much easier for these critical partners in accelerating cloud adoption. The new Azure Marketplace will enable Azure customers to search for and deploy their preferred operating system, service or application in minutes.

In fact, two new partners joined Docker Inc., Oracle and hundreds of others are in the Azure Marketplace:

  •  Cloudera, a provider of enterprise analytics and data management, will be Azure certified by the end of 2014.
  • CoreOS, the popular container-based Linux operating system, is now available to all Azure customers. 

The latter is significant since it extend Microsoft support of the popular Linux OS by Azure.

 “Our ecosystem is the backbone of our cloud platform, and our embrace of open source technologies is at the heart,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. “By helping to create an open platform powered by choice and flexibility, we are enabling the enterprises and developers of today and tomorrow to connect with each other and create new business opportunities in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

With all of the heavy weights having weighed in on their desire to be the trusted vendor of choice for cloud solutions, by expanding their own offerings and greatly expanding their ecosystems to make their solutions friendly to developers and IT departments in general, things are certainly heating up in what is already a hotly contested market. As the saying goes “Game On!” 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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