road with rainbow and clouds

Microsoft Ups the Cloud Ante

There's little doubt that Microsoft is taking its new vision of being a devices and services organization very seriously. Microsoft clearly believes this is what they must do to continue to compete in the consumer and enterprise space.

On October 7, 2013, in San Francisco, Satya Nadella, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, announced several new Microsoft cloud initiatives for Fall 2013. Some of the most important announcements included:

  • On October 18, Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.
  • Microsoft will also release the new Windows Azure Pack. The Windows Azure Pack runs on top of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 and it provides organizations with Azure-like management for their on-premise datacenter.
  • To enable development of cloud and enterprise applications, Nadella also announced that Visual Studio 2013 and the new .NET 4.5.1 will be available on October 18. Visual Studio 2013 features a Modern Lifecycle Management solution to facilitate team software development.
  • Microsoft will also release a second preview of SQL Server 2014. SQL Server 2014 features a new high performance In-Memory OLTP engine and its AlwaysOn Availability technology works with Windows Azure to provide cloud-based backup and disaster recovery.
  • Before the end of October 2013, Microsoft will release Windows Azure HDInsight Service. The HDInsight Service is Hadoop-based service that provides big data analysis and can be integrated with SQL Server.
  • Microsoft made a new release of Windows Intune, available October 18. The new Windows Intune works with System Center Configuration Manager to enable IT to manage Windows, iOS and Android devices.
  • To help encourage cloud adoption, Microsoft is offering Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers access to discounted Windows Azure prices, with the flexibility of annual payments.
  • Microsoft introduced its Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud. This new cloud offering will give U.S. government customers a dedicated cloud for data, applications and infrastructure. The Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud will be hosted in the continental U.S. and managed by U.S. personnel.
  • For devices, Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Remote Desktop app which is expected to be available in October 2013. The new Remote Desktop app supports the Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android platforms.
  • Finally, Satya announced the next release of Microsoft's CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall 2013. The cloud version will be available by the end of October. An on-premise version is expected to be available later in the fall.

Whether you're sold on the cloud or not, you can see that in this latest wave of releases that Microsoft is working hard to fulfill their devices and services vision and you can see that their cloud technology continues to evolve very quickly indeed.

Related: Microsoft Confirms Enterprise Cloud Solutions Will Launch with Windows 8.1

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