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Microsoft goes all-in on hybrid cloud with Azure-in-a-box

Brandon Butler | Oct. 21, 2014
With its new Cloud Platform System (CPS), Microsoft is attempting to differentiate itself vs. rivals Amazon Web Services and Google.

In the past year, Microsoft has added 300 features to its cloud. On Monday, two more were announced: An extra-large virtual machine instance size and a new premium storage offering.

The G family of virtual machines come with twice the memory of AWS's largest current virtual machines and four times more than Google Compute Engine's largest VMs. The Premium Storage VMs offer 32 TBs of storage per machine with 50,000 IOPS (input/outputs per second). The new services are aimed at attracting large-scale workloads, such as enterprise-class databases and high-performance applications.

Microsoft also, as expected, launched a new marketplace of partners and services that run on top of Azure. The company highlighted partner Cloudera, which offers a Hadoop big data processing tool on top of Azure, as an example.

Microsoft also announced support for its fifth version of Linux on Azure with the introduction of CoreOS virtual machines. During the event, Nadella said: "Microsoft loves Linux," as part of his emphasis that Microsoft wants its cloud to be a platform for all types of workloads, not just those from Microsoft.

Microsoft rattled of a slew of enterprise customers using Azure, from GE Healthcare to AccuWeather, NBC and Heineken. More details on Microsoft's strategy can be found in its blog here.

Microsoft is also building up the capacity of its public cloud. By the end of the year the company will have 19 regions for its IaaS, including two new ones in Australia. Each of those regions has up to up to 600,000 servers across 16 data centers.


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