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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.

You make a lot out of "cloud-first engineering" and taking innovations from Azure and placing them in on-premises products. Explain why that is a good thing.
The number of times in my career that we have built something on premises and the needs of the customer go beyond what our scale limits that we put on the product, the number of times that happened if I could count that it would be incredible. I could count that in terms of dozens. When you think about cloud-first, one of the principles that does for us is plan for the kind of scale you would need to scale to if you were delivering a cloud-based service that is being used by hundreds of millions of individual devices. So plan for that scale but then deliver it on premises and then our customers are not going to run into any kinds of scale limits.

Another thing it allows us to do is to really understand how to take advantage of these cost-effective industry-standard hardware components. So we do a lot of innovation just down in the actual fabric of the service. So again as you think about scaling to hundreds of millions of users, to do that and be cost effective and be cost competitive you want to do that on the lowest cost hardware that you can and I think that's an innovation that we've been able to drive with what we've learned in the cloud with our cloud-first principle and then bringing on premises.

The third thing I would say is another core part of that cloud-first premise is develop the software, try it out, prove it out, battle-harden it in the cloud, then bring it on premises. The great example of that is what we've done with the Windows Azure Pack. With the Windows Azure Pack we literally are bringing capabilities like high-density Web hosting, the portal framework that you use when you come up to Azure as well as Service Bus think about this as our messaging system to keep your applications and services running across clouds. All those were proven first in Azure, battle hardened, scaled now we bring that on top of Windows Server and System Center through the Windows Azure Pack.

Is there any difference between Azure Pack and Windows Azure Service for Windows Server, a bundle of features Microsoft announced late last year?
It's rebranded.

But it's the same?
Correct. It's an evolution. Service Bus wasn't in the 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.


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