Microsoft To Discuss Its Vision for the Private Cloud
An hour-long webinar on Jan. 17 titled "Transforming IT With Microsoft Private Cloud" will give top Microsoft executives the chance to reveal more about its private cloud plans.
The event will be open to the public at this page (registration required), and speakers will include Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business; Brad Anderson, corporate vice president at Microsoft's Management and Security Division; Jacky Wright, vice president for Microsoft's IT Strategic Services; and Rand Morimoto, CEO at Convergent Computing.
By "private cloud," Microsoft means datacenter infrastructure built around its Server and Tools software products, which include Windows Server, SQL Server and Windows Azure. Of course, Windows Azure is Microsoft's Platform as a Service offering, typically thought of as a "public cloud" because of its multitenant approach of using shared infrastructure for multiple customers. However, Windows Azure is also available under a dedicated subscription plan for some Microsoft customers, so it might be considered a "private cloud" in that sense.
Microsoft has been pushing the cloud generally to organizations, but its business operations still reside mostly in delivering server products that are installed at the customer's premises, such as Windows Server. Charles Di Bona, general manager at Microsoft's Server and Tools, recently emphasized that point, telling financial analysts that "the cloud part of our business is much smaller than the server part of our business" and it will continue that way "for the foreseeable future." That fact may explain the marketing shift at Microsoft more toward the private cloud message.
Microsoft may have provided a dry run of the upcoming webinar with a press event held last month in San Francisco. Microsoft provided its own Q&A at that time, interviewing Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, and Nadella. Both executives emphasized Microsoft's hybrid approach, allowing organizations to tap public or private cloud infrastructure according to their needs and migration path timing. Nadella emphasized using the cloud to connect multiple devices, as well as Microsoft's more flexible Enterprise Agreement licensing for those Microsoft server licensees attempting to move to the cloud.
Microsoft can be expected to emphasize its System Center products during the webinar as part of its private cloud and public cloud visions. System Center isn't mentioned in the webinar announcement, but management of cloud services is a big Microsoft marketing push as the company prepares to release System Center 2012 products in the first half of this year.
Anderson, who has typically spearheaded System Center efforts at Microsoft, has been promoted up the ranks over the years, largely based on the success of System Center products. Nadella was promoted last year to head the Server and Tools Business Division following a stint as senior vice president at Microsoft's Online Services Division.
A blog post by veteran Microsoft observer Mary Jo Foley on Thursday noted that Microsoft's sprawling System Center 2012 line of about 10 products has been delayed from an expected release to manufacturing at the end of 2011. Microsoft has said that the new products will be available in the "early" first half of 2012. Foley's sources predicted an April launch to coincide with the Microsoft Management Summit event.
Most of the new System Center 2012 solutions are available just as betas or release candidate test versions. They can be downloaded here. For documentation, try accessing the links in this Microsoft blog post.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.