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Microsoft Endorses Hybrid Models to Facilitate Cloud Transition

The software company pulled together several updates under the cloud computing umbrella making no bones about its cloud focus

Not long ago Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying that Microsoft is "betting the company" on cloud computing. So it is really no surprise that at the company's TechEd 2010 event in New Orleans, the software giant reprised the same theme. Bob Muglia, Microsoft's president of servers and tools advised users to adopt a hybrid cloud model to ease the transition into cloud based networks. 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 highlighted all of Microsoft's existing flagship software tools that have migrated to the Azure cloud platform namely Microsoft Systems Center, Visual Studio 2010, Windows 7 and software from the acquisition of Opalis in 2009 and other .Net cloud partner offerings.The new version 4 of .Net that will be available from this week lets developers specify if they want an application to run on the cloud or internally. Muglia admitted that the present versions of Microsoft applications on Azure such as Windows Azure and SQL Azure were less than perfect as they do not have all the features of the corresponding standard software editions but assured that these disparities are being worked on. Other cloud related enhancements include an updated Windows Azure software development kit (SDK) with support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Visual Studio 2010 RTM support, and IntelliTrace support available at http://www.windowsazure.com. The company will be offering spatial data support and access to 50 GB of SQL Azure Database capacity for higher scalability and a Microsoft SQL Server Web Manager tool for data-driven applications on the cloud.

While Microsoft has often been accused of being late to the cloud party, it seems to be doing everything it can to make up for lost time and trying to hold its own against other PAAS competitors like Google and IBM. Along the same lines it announced that it has launched a Software and Services Excellence Center (SSEC) in Taiwan for promoting cloud computing related R & D in collaboration with its Taiwan partners. It has specifically outlined three goals for the org - developing system software for cloud data centers, build smart devices for cloud computing, and enable technology transfer and R&D sharing. NetApp and Microsoft have also collaborated on technology integration for better cloud management. Microsoft management tools can now be used to manage virtual environments incorporating NetApp storage to build internal and public clouds. Microsoft customers can create automated reports, troubleshoot storage issues, and view mapping of storage to individual VMs via Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.

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