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Microsoft's big Azure announcement is a Cloud in a Box

Simon Bisson | Oct. 21, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Cloud and Enterprise EVP Scott Guthrie used an event in San Francisco today to give an update on its Azure cloud platform, launching its on premises Cloud Platform System and the Azure Marketplace, where ISVs and developers can sell services and applications to Azure users.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Cloud and Enterprise EVP Scott Guthrie used an event in San Francisco today to give an update on its Azure cloud platform, launching its on premises Cloud Platform System and the Azure Marketplace, where ISVs and developers can sell services and applications to Azure users.

Noting that Microsoft's cloud is part of his productivity vision for the company, Nadella noted that "Productivity and platforms, that's our core, the soul of our company [...] The Microsoft cloud is the most complete cloud offering: used by businesses across every industry in every geography." With a revenue run rate of $4.4 billion, and with 80% of the Fortune 500 as customers, Microsoft's cloud is starting to justify the $4.5 billion of CAPEX.

Interestingly Nadella also pointed out two key figures, first that "20% of Azure is running Linux, there will be first class support for Linux on Azure." Secondly he stated, "Over 40% of Azure revenue from ISVs and startups, it's the best road to the cloud for startups." With Microsoft launching Azure Marketplace for software that runs in and on Azure, with support for any OS, any service, and any application, it's clear that Microsoft intends to build on a growing ecosystem, giving a startups a new outlet for their products and services.

Guthrie followed up unveiling new high capacity server images for working with large amounts of data, and a new high capacity storage tier, giving Azure users the option to scale up as well as scale out. However the key announcement was the company finally delivering on its Azure-in-a-box promise, with the launch of the on-premises Cloud Platform System.

Microsoft has been running hyper-scale cloud services for many years now, with at least five generations of hardware design under its belt. But the hardware is only part of the story, the rest is software: the hypervisor, the management tools, and the automation. The result is everything Microsoft needs to build and run a software defined data center at scale. Now it's time for the tools and technologies that run Microsoft's cloud to come into your data center.

While passing through Redmond a week or so ago, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the team responsible for delivering Microsoft's Cloud Platform System (previously codenamed "San Diego") and to see it in action.

Microsoft has long promised to deliver "Azure in a box". We've seen elements of that promise in hardware from HP and Dell, in the private cloud and orchestration tools in the latest System Center releases, and in the free Windows Azure Pack. While all the elements have been available, they've never been wrapped up into one product and with one point of contact for support. That's what the Cloud Platform System offers: a complete software defined data center in a box, or at least in a rack, with everything you need to run a private cloud.

 

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