In an opening-day keynote speech at Microsoft Corp.’s Tech•Ed 2010 North America conference, Bob Muglia, president of the company’s Server and Tools Division, outlined the benefits and possibilities of cloud computing and how Microsoft can help customers harness the next generation of IT. Muglia noted that customers have different needs, with some desiring to extend efficiencies and productivity through existing investments in datacenters and applications while others look to cloud computing as a new model to enhance IT and the way they do business.
“Our job, simply put, is to deliver what customers need to take advantage of cloud computing on their own terms,” Muglia said. “Some vendors would have you believe that you must move everything to the cloud now and there is only one way to achieve cloud computing; don’t be misled and lose sight of the value of all the investments you have already made to enable the full promise of cloud computing.“Microsoft’s strategy is to deliver software, services and tools that enable customers to realize the benefits of a cloud-based model with the reliability and security of on-premises software,” Muglia continued. “Microsoft is unique in that no other solution vendor has the same level of experience and expertise in software and services. We are providing the most comprehensive set of choices available to customers.”
Muglia acknowledged that organizations may differ on how and when to adopt cloud computing and said that Microsoft will use a combination of products, services and industry collaboration to help customers make the change when they are ready. Key to tackling the challenge, he said, is for customers to strike the right balance between traditional software-based server architectures managed by the customer or a partner, the vast power and near limitless scalability of cloud services powered remotely by giant server warehouses, and a hybrid model that blends the two. Muglia said that Microsoft will deliver a single platform that works across both on-premises and off-premises solutions.
The company has gained deep experience running some of the world’s largest cloud services — with more than 600 million unique users on MSN, 4 billion Bing search queries monthly, more than 500 million active Windows Live IDs, 20 million users of the rapidly growing Xbox Live gaming service, and 40 million paid users of Microsoft Online Services across 9,000 business customers and more than 500 government entities. Thousands of customers in more than 40 countries have moved to production environments with Windows Azure, an Internet-scale cloud computing services platform hosted in Microsoft datacenters. Customers can find more information, tools and white papers to help evaluate and implement cloud computing technologies at www.microsoft.com/cloud Microsoft’s website dedicated to cloud computing.
In closing, Muglia reiterated that Microsoft’s approach is about helping customers make the most of their existing investments while elevating the potential of IT through cloud services. “We’ve said it before, but we are all in when it comes to our offerings for the cloud,” he said.
Also in his keynote address, Muglia highlighted several areas of product momentum that support Microsoft’s commitment to delivering customers choice. The following is a quick overview; more information can be found at the Tech•Ed Global Pressroom and by following the news on Twitter via #TechEd.
Public beta of service pack 1 (SP1) for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 coming by end of July. The new virtualization tools in SP1 will help Windows Server 2008 R2 users prepare for cloud computing, Remote FX provides rich 3-D graphical experience for remote users, and Dynamic Memory enables more control to adjust memory usage without sacrificing performance. The service pack also will include a series of incremental updates, previously delivered through Windows Update, for both Windows Server and Windows 7 users.
Windows Azure platform receives enhanced features. As part of its commitment to deliver the resources developers need to more easily build applications for the cloud, Microsoft announced an updated Windows Azure software development kit (SDK) with support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Visual Studio 2010 RTM support, and IntelliTrace support now available at www.windowsazure.com. In addition, the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network moved from beta to a production service and is now generally available.
Updates to SQL Azure. Microsoft announced it will offer spatial data support and access to 50 GB of SQL Azure Database capacity, allowing for higher scalability, flexibility and easier management of applications and services. Further enhancements to management capabilities include the public preview of SQL Azure Data Sync Service, which provides more flexible control over where and how data is distributed and synced across multiple datacenters, and Microsoft SQL Server Web Manager, a lightweight and easy-to-use tool to help develop, deploy and manage data-driven applications on the cloud.
Windows Server AppFabric now available. Released to manufacturing today, Windows Server AppFabric simplifies the development and management of composite applications by providing improved speed, elastic scale and high availability through distributed caching capabilities and new tools. Customers with licenses for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (Standard and Enterprise editions) can download Windows Server AppFabric at no additional cost.
Bing Maps announces new SDK. With today’s release of the Bing Map App Software Development Kit, developers can now create applications built on top of Bing Maps and hosted on Bing.com. By opening up the map app API, Microsoft is enabling developers to take mapping beyond point-to-point directions by providing a rich spatial canvas to visualize content, create dynamic mash-ups and help people complete tasks faster.
Unified Communications Group unveils features of Microsoft Communications Server “14” and Exchange Service Pack. Today, Microsoft disclosed the full feature set of its forthcoming unified communications platform, Communications Server “14,” which will be available later this year. Key new features in this release include expert search, Office document and application sharing, and one-click meeting access from Outlook, SharePoint and mobile phones, which contribute to the complete unified communications experience that connects people anytime from virtually anywhere. Microsoft also announced Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 beta is available today for customers to download.
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