Bob Kelly, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Infrastructure Server Marketing, outlines how the right mix of private and public clouds can complement existing IT investments, reduce costs and ease management.
History shows that companies that invest in innovation during recessionary times can emerge healthier and better-positioned for long-term success. As well, IT organizations that invest in the right technology today can help their organizations operate more efficiently, create competitive advantages and ultimately prosper in the long run.
Cloud computing – the delivery of applications, server operating systems and other software as an online service – is one such technology that holds great promise. Bridging in-house software with online services creates new opportunities for strategic IT without breaking the bank or abandoning existing investments.
Cloud-based services allow companies to quickly and easily scale up as needed because they can provide a virtually unlimited pool of storage and computing resources. Cloud-based services also offer a “utility computing” model through which customers pay only for the resources they actually use, similar to buying electricity by the kilowatt-hour from a local utility.
Industry analysts have predicted a sharp rise in the adoption of cloud computing. According to IDC, worldwide IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold in the next three years, reaching US$42 billion by 2012.
“We expect the cloud adoption trend to be amplified by the current financial crisis,” says Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. “IT managers are facing many challenges today such as budgetary pressures, regulatory compliance demands, and securing and managing sprawling datacenters, so it’s critical that they identify the right transformational technologies to invest in for the future and understand their IT options.”
But cloud computing is not an all-or-nothing proposition.“Very few companies will rely either 100 percent on public cloud providers or 100 percent on in-house infrastructure,” says Bob Kelly, corporate vice president of Infrastructure Server Marketing at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft is working toward an integrated approach that bridges on-premises datacenters and the external cloud, which offers our customers the benefits of both approaches.”
At the 10th annual Microsoft Management Summit this week in Las Vegas, Kelly outlined an infrastructure strategy to help IT customers understand their options as they incorporate “the cloud” into their future plans:
Applications are traditionally run by on-site servers. By employing techniques such as virtualization, automated management and utility-billing models, IT managers can evolve the internal datacenter into a “private cloud” that offers many of the performance, scalability and cost-saving benefits associated with public clouds. Microsoft provides the foundation for private clouds with infrastructure solutions to match a range of customer sizes, needs and geographic regions.
Cloud computing is expanding the traditional Web-hosting model to a point where enterprises are able to offload commodity applications to third-party service providers (hosters) and, in the near future, the Azure Services Platform. Using Microsoft infrastructure software and Web-based applications, the public cloud allows companies to move applications between private and public clouds. In addition, the Azure development platform extends the capabilities of enterprise IT by facilitating development of a new breed of highly scalable and distributed applications that both augment and complement on-premises solutions. An open and interoperable platform, Azure supports Web standards and multiple programming languages.
“Our goal is to give businesses the choice of running applications on-site, in the cloud or using a combination of the two,” says Kelly. “This hybrid model gives customers the best of both worlds — the scale and convenience of a public cloud and the control and reliability of on-premises software — and lets them move fluidly between the two based on their needs. It provides customers an on-ramp from their current IT environment to the cloud.”
IT Service Solutions Announcements
Building on its cloud computing strategy, Microsoft made several announcements today and over the past few weeks on a broad range of hosted IT service solutions that complement its on-premises software, including these:
- The Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit for Enterprises, a new service offering to help customers create private clouds, and a Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit for Hosters, which provides the ability to deploy on-demand managed services and virtualized servers powered by System Center and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
- System Center Online Desktop Manager, an integrated security and management tool that will provide desktop management capabilities in the form of an online service. Designed to help businesses keep their IT environments secure and up-to-date using a Web-based subscription service to monitor, troubleshoot, update, configure and secure desktops, this new service will be available in beta by the end of this year.
- Microsoft Forefront Online Security for Exchange, an online service that helps protect an organization’s messaging infrastructure from spam, malware and e-mail policy violations.
- The availability in coming weeks of a second beta of a new set of technologies, code-named “Geneva,” that makes it dramatically easier for customers to build more secure access and multi-company collaboration into software and hosted services.
- The availability of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which delivers enterprise-class communications and collaboration software as subscription services to businesses of all sizes, for purchase in 19 countries worldwide.
- System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, which delivers end-to-end service management across Windows and non-Windows environments. A final release within 60 days is planned.
- Partner support, including the HP Insight Control suite for Microsoft System Center, which delivers a comprehensive set of infrastructure management capabilities for managing HP ProLiant and BladeSystem servers, as well as support for the PRO feature from Dell and others.
“The IT industry is in the midst of a major transformation as more applications are being delivered over the Web as a service,” adds Kelly. “As customers weather the current economic volatility, Microsoft and its partners will help customers build and adapt solutions for a broad range of scenarios. Microsoft’s infrastructure strategy and cloud services offerings are the most comprehensive in the industry, helping customers navigate these challenges and make the most out of their existing IT investments, whether on-premises, in the cloud or in between.”
Bob Muglia discusses the customer benefits of cloud computing