Microsoft's vision of corporations using hybrid cloud has benefits for IT departments and end users as well as cost savings, says Brad Anderson, Microsoft vice president of Windows Server and System Center.
IT departments can look forward to replicate data-center virtual machines to a cloud service provider where they can provide fault tolerance and high availability and be ready for recovery in case of a disaster, Anderson said during an interview at TechEd North America 2013.
With the service, IT will also have the capability to manage any mobile device Windows, Android, iOS from the cloud-based InTune mobile-device management service within Microsoft Azure. The advantage is that for businesses using System Center Configuration Manager, the interface is the same, so there is no learning curve, but management can be extended to BYOD devices.
"You could just use the tools that you're using right now and now enable your users across their PCs, their Windows devices, their Apple devices and their Android devices," he says.
This yields benefits for end users as well. "I can bring up a company portal, authenticate with my Active Directory ID and the combination of Active Directory and System Center will automatically bring for me a personalized experience on any kind of device enabling me to provision the applications and get access to the data I need to be productive," he says.
New tools in Microsoft Office applications enable on-the-fly parsing and graphically representing data, as exemplified by new capabilities in Excel called GeoTracker and PowerPivotl, Anderson says. Users themselves can blend database information with data drawn from Web sources such as Twitter and Bing to create graphic depictions of the aggregate data.
A demonstration at the conference keynote showed attendees of TechEd distributed across a map of the world with bars on each location showing how many people came from each city relative to others that used the TechEd database plus Bing. Clicking on a city allowed drilling down to search the attendees from that city by job title.
Then using data from Twitter, a heat map of the world showed the increase of Tweets about TechEd from around the globe as the date of the conference neared.
The ability to take unlimited amounts of data, diverse sets of data, bring that all together and then bring this rich visualization on it that allows me to wallow in it," Anderson says. "I can experiment, I can ask questions and I can literally sit there in a very visual experience, experiment and form hypotheses and theories and learn about what is happening in my infrastructure if I'm IT or if I'm operating a business what's happening in that business and how I can differentiate and improve."
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