Microsoft embarks on massive cloud offensive

8 Oct 2013

Software giant Microsoft is preparing to unleash a wave of new enterprise cloud services that will complement Office 365 and other services. The wave of products cover self-service data centre infrastructure, Azure app development, big data and enterprise mobility.

On 18 October, Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, promising to enable companies to build data centres “without boundaries” using Hyper-V for high-scale virtualisation, as well as lower-cost storage, software-defined networking and hybrid business continuity.

The Azure Business Pack will run on top of windows Server and System Center and will enable enterprises to deliver self-service infrastructure and platforms from their data centres.

Visual Studio 2013 and the new .NET 4.5.1 will also be available on 18 October.

On 1 November, Microsoft will offer Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers access to discounted Windows Azure prices.

This builds on strategic partnerships with Equinox and AT&T to allow firms to connect to their networks at exchange locations.

In a new focus specifically on e-government, Microsoft is introducing its Windows Azure US Government Cloud which will offer customers of the US government a dedicated community cloud for data, applications and infrastructure.

Microsoft will also launch a second preview of SQL Server 2014, which it claims gives customers 10 times to 30 times performance improvements.

For big data analytics, later this month Microsoft will release Windows Azure HDInsight Service, an Apache Hadoop-based service that works with SQL Server and widely used business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel and Power BI for Office 365.

Enterprise mobility

Microsoft cloud enterprise

In terms of enterprise mobility, a new product called Windows Intune will also be launched on 18 October, which enhances access to data for users of Windows, iOS and Android devices. This coincides with the introduction of the Microsoft Remote Desktop app for easy access to PCs and virtual desktops on a variety of devices.

Finally, the latest version of Microsoft’s CRM technology Dynamics CRM will be available later this month while Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 will offer small and medium-sized firms greater interoperability with Office 365 and various Azure applications.

“As enterprises move to the cloud, they are going to bet on vendors that have best-in-class software-as-a-service applications, operate a global public cloud that supports a broad ecosystem of third-party services, and deliver multi-cloud mobility through true hybrid solutions,” said Satya Nadella, cloud and enterprise vice-president at Microsoft.

“If you look across the vendor landscape, you can see that only Microsoft is truly delivering in all of those areas.”

Cloud enterprise image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years