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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.

Microsoft is pushing hybrid clouds. Can you envision a customer for whom using public cloud is not the best way to go?
I think there's lots of examples of that. If you're in a highly regulated industry, if you've got data sovereignty issues that you may have to comply with for example if you're a government. Those are certainly organizations where people will have private clouds for as far as I can see into the future.

The most common scenario I see right now happening with most organizations they're asking how can I benefit from the public cloud, what's the best way for me to start benefitting from the public cloud. It could be that they take some of their non-mission-critical applications in the cloud or it could be like what Easy Jet talked about. [It placed a seat-assignment add-on to its reservation application in the cloud, but which appeared on the customer's Web reservation page as if it were all a single application.]

Their mission-critical application and that data stays in the data center  but then they use the public cloud for doing things like their Web server or extending what their on-premises capabilities can be in a much more simple way and enabling users a different set of capabilities, a more rich and more satisfying experience all leveraging Azure. Another example of a hybrid environment.

When you go with cloud-first, you end up with more updates. Why shouldn't that be a looming nightmare for IT?
In this cloud world the pace is just quicker, so all of us from a competitive standpoint need to figure out how we up our game and be able to get more value out to our customers to advance the business at a faster pace than we ever have before. So I think whether it's Microsoft, whether it's retail organization, a pharmaceutical all of have pressure to be more agile and to be quicker. That's just kind of driving it all.

The second thing is as we quicken our pace one of the things to point out is we actually have been releasing a lot more frequently than people realize. In the last 10 years we've done six releases of Windows Server. Windows Server 2003 and R2, 2008 and R2, 2012 and R2. So we actually have done six iterations of the operating system in a 10-year period which I don't think most people recognize, as well as if you look at Virtual Machine Manager since we released that in 2007 we've had an annual update release of that every year since then. So there are those things that are driving this and those things are kind of the reality.


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