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Microsoft : Hybrid cloud is good for IT, end users and corporate bottom line

Tim Greene | June 6, 2013
At TechEd Brad Anderson, Microsoft vice president of Windows Server and System Center details hybrid cloud vision.

Saving money is another key part of hybrid cloud, Anderson says, and many of the cost savings businesses can take advantage of in their private corporate networks are offshoots from what Microsoft has learned building Azure.

"We literally operate over hundreds of thousands of servers [in Azure] and we deploy hundreds of thousands of servers every year," he says. "So for us just a relentless focus on decreasing complexity and decreasing costs by taking advantage of just industry-standard hardware is a lot of innovation that we're doing in the public cloud and then bringing on premises."

In particular, Azure has taught Microsoft to build storage networks on commodity hardware that is less expensive than traditional SAN gear, and that is now available to corporate customers in their private networks.

The ability to use corporate infrastructure management and device management tools across the cloud can also reduce expense.

"Everything from software defined networking, the innovations in storage where I get all of the benefits that traditionally have only come from a SAN but doing it on industry standard cost-effective hardware, the ability to unify my environment from a user enablement and endpoint protection to where I can manage my PCs, all my users' devices as well as my anti-malware on one common infrastructure all these things drive savings," Anderson says.

Since many of these new capabilities are part of standard platforms such as Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Server and InTune, there is no extra cost to current customers. "It's just Excel, it's just SQL, it's not additional licenses, it's not additional hardware, you don't have to rewrite your application" he says.

Anderson repeatedly uses the phrase "cloud-first engineering" to describe the principle behind moving features of Azure into the major Microsoft server platforms. He says that can protect business customers from scaling problems as well as giving it a thorough vetting before selling it as on-site products. "Develop the software, try it out, prove it out, battle-harden it in the cloud, then bring it on premises," he says.

This is made real with Azure Pack, new features that overlays the Azure Web portal to the Windows Server and System Center on-premises products. It can be used with System Center, for example, to enable end users in a department to create new virtual machines within cloud infrastructure based on policies set up by IT. "It's self-service, exactly as if you were to go to Azure," Anderson says.

Azure Pack is the renamed package Microsoft introduced last year under the name Windows Azure Services for Windows Server. "So this is the evolution of that with a name that's easier to remember and easier to say," he says.


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