CloudNEarlier this week, Microsoft delivered the opening keynote address at TechEd, a technology conference focused on IT Professionals and Enterprise developers.  The keynote introduced the idea of “everything as a service”, or cloud computing, as the future of IT.  Microsoft has already introduced a number of cloud-based software platforms but now they plan to bring the cloud business model to the center of their business strategy.

Mobile First, Cloud First – is the newest slogan adopted by Microsoft and is fully embraced by their new software lineup.  Despite all of the new products introduced at the TechEd conference, Microsoft did not introduce a single on-premise product.

“Mobility and cloud are the future of business, and the future is now,” said Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise Division. “Our differentiated cloud innovations, comprehensive mobile productivity solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud era.”

Microsoft’s new cloud agenda is focused on the use of Azure, a cloud computing platform developed to manage applications and services through a global network of datacenters.   Windows Azure has been around for a number of years but with the newly announced applications, Microsoft hopes to revitalize the platform and bring cloud capabilities to a larger audience.

Among the most notable new additions to their cloud software lineup are Azure Site Recovery, Antimalware for Azure and Azure Files:

Azure Site Recovery is offered as disaster recovery as a service.  Instead of an expensive and difficult to plan disaster recovery system, Azure will do the heavy lifting and link multiple datacenters to ensure that if one site fails your applications and data are available on another.   With nearly unlimited computing power, there is no limit on the amount of applications or files you can keep in use or store on the cloud.

Antimalware for Azure is exactly what it sounds like, a cloud based antimalware/antivirus software solution.  The antimalware solution will protect virtual machines and cloud services from attack. In addition, Microsoft will now support security suites on Azure from Trend Micro and Symantec.

Azure Files is a service that allows the sharing of a single file from multiple Virtual Machines. The file is accessible with standard Windows APIs allowing applications expecting on premise servers to utilize Azure file storage without rewriting the application. “It’s like a shared drive in Azure that all the virtual machines can take advantage of,” Anderson said.

All of these new services clearly point at Microsoft’s interest in moving
enterprise customers away from on-site software solutions and into a cloud based world. The questions that remains is whether or not Microsoft will innovate, or provide enough value, to compete with the other cloud providers that already have a head start.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Webmaster and Lead Designer