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Q&A: Microsoft hybrid-cloud push promises benefits for IT, end users, pocketbook

Tim Greene | June 6, 2013
Microsoft's chief hybrid-cloud exec opens up about what it can mean for businesses.

The second thing I think really centers around the simplicity and the power that self-service [business intelligence (BI) toolset] that is part of SQL exposed through Excel. 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. 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.

With the self-service, maybe you can talk a little bit about Excel and how exactly that fits in with what you're saying.
Excel is the tool that most individuals around the world use when they're looking at numbers and financials and those types of pieces. What we've done is we've added a couple of add-ons to Excel one's called GeoTracker, one's called PowerPivot and this all in-memory capability that allows you first and foremost to take incredible amounts of data we demonstrated for example a billion rows of data inside of Excel and being able to in sub-second be able to experiment and wallow in that data to get insights.

The other thing we've done is we've now also attached that with capabilities coming down from Bing, and that's what gives us the ability to take a look at data in the context of location. We demonstrated the ability to take a look at the individuals attending TechEd, where they're from, what their titles are but seeing in a very visual way modeled on top of a map of the Earth and then be able to experiment or drill down into it. OK let's take a look at the people coming here from Sweden or the people coming from Miami but giving that very visual capability married with data coming off the Internet, for example data coming from Twitter. It helps me understand what is happening and how I can customize the sessions here to the attendees.

Let's talk about the announcements and what they mean for saving money.
This is a place that Microsoft understands deeply, and it all starts with the learning that we have inside of Azure and the 200 cloud-scale services that we operate. I mentioned that we literally operate over hundreds of thousands of servers and we deploy hundreds of thousands of servers every year. 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.


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