Home » Cloud Computing strategy » Microsoft’s half-baked cloud computing strategy (H1’FY14)

Microsoft’s half-baked cloud computing strategy (H1’FY14)

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Core information:

My previous post described The first “post-Ballmer” offering launched: with Power BI for Office 365 everyone can analyze, visualize and share data in the cloud [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 10, 2014]… and everything you could know about Satya Nadella’s solution strategy so far (from Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise organization):
– Power BI as the lead business solution and the Microsoft’s visionary Data Platform solution built for it
– Microsoft’s vision of the unified platform for modern businesses [i.e. a quite evolved vision versus that of H1’FY14 that you would see soon in section 2. (compare those two)]

Here I will briefly present the state of the cloud computing strategy of Microsoft that preceded the above described offering launched in February, immediately after Satya  Nadella was appointed Microsoft CEO replacing Steve Ballmer. This will also allow anybody to assess what might be considered by some purist people as one belonging to the Ballmer era of Microsoft only, as well as compare that with the first “post-Ballmer” offering described in the post referenced above.

Details here will presented in the following sections:

  1. The Microsoft way so far (pre-FY15)
  2. Microsoft Cloud OS vision (H1’FY14)
  3. Microsoft Cloud OS delivery and ecosystem rollout (H1’FY14)

3.1 Windows Server 2012 R2
3.2 System Center 2012 R2
3.3 Windows Azure Pack
3.4 SQL Server 2014 (CTP1, CTP2)
3.5 Windows Intune
[+ Visual Studio 2013 which I will not include here]
3.6 Cloud OS Network partners
3.7  Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Partners

In two separate posts (because of their volumes) I already presented the next section about this topic:

4.  Microsoft products for the Cloud OS [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, as of Dec 18, 2013, but published only on Feb 14, 2014]

4. 1 Windows Server 2012 R2 & System Center 2012 R2
4.2 Unlock Insights from any Data – SQL Server 2014
4.3 Unlock Insights from any Data / Big Data – Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) and Windows Azure HDInsights
4.4 Empower people-centric IT – Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
4.5 Microsoft talking about Cloud OS and private clouds: starting with Ray Ozzie in November, 2009 (was separated because of its length)
>>> 4.5.1 Tiny excerpts from official executive and/or corporate communications
>>> 4.5.2 More official communications in details from executives and/or corporate

The half-bakedness of the Microsoft cloud computing strategy in “pre-Nadella era” is particularly visible when one compares the four sections included here with that of  The cloud services brokerage (CSB) business model and the HP Cloud Services [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 4, 2014]. CSB is a completely missing term on the whole Microsoft website (even on Technet). Even among 3d party communications invited to Microsoft events only one discussed that concept back to March 2011, and it was even not a central or global event, but a lonely Australian one. See Cloud Computing: Myths, challenges, opportunities and realities – taking control of your cloud strategy [Gartner, Oct 4, 2010]. Curiously there were 2 CSB companies for which Microsoft has published case studies on its site: the Nintex partner solution for the Windows Azure Platform back to September 2011, and the Strategic SaaS partner profit and loss case study for the Microsoft Online Services in May 2010.

Also HP’s Cloud Services offerings have a more advanced state of communications and even of delivery (but only in terms of the CSB aspect) than that of Microsoft. In addition HP’s strategy is based not only on the OpenStack initiative but on its own multivendor cloud services management software, an approach still partially existing in Microsoft’s current strategy. So HP’s strategy might be considered a more complete one, especially by people who were heavily influenced by HP’s very effective communications.

My description of the Microsoft cloud computing strategy (H1’FY04) is “half-baked” in true double sense: “half empty” meaning that the most essential elements are still missing, or  “half full” meaning the opposite. IMHO everything depends on current reader’s perceptions. For a “softie” (whether an inside person, or an outside one) it will be “half full”, while for others it will “half empty”. So for the first group the “half-bakedness” should carry a positive meaning, while for the second group a negative one. There is no judge to decide between these two opinions. My point of view is a neutral one, meaning that important elements have already been introduced, but other, equally important elements are still missing.


1. The Microsoft way so far (pre-FY15)

Cloud OS Network: 5 important things to know [Microsoft in Government Blog, Feb 5, 2014] by Dan Mannion, Director, Public Sector Cloud Strategy

Microsoft recently announced the Microsoft Cloud OS Network, a new program that will help governments tackle the challenges of transitioning to the national cloud. In my travels since the announcement, I’ve heard a lot of questions from leaders about the Cloud OS Network and why it should matter to them. Here are the five most common questions with my answers.

1. What is the Cloud OS Network?

It’s a worldwide consortium of 25 cloud service providers that have standardized on the Microsoft Cloud Platform. Together, these providers cover more than 90 markets, serving more than 3 million customers and operating 2.4 million servers in more than 425 datacenters. As the world’s leading Microsoft cloud providers, they’re the first out of the gate with the latest technologies. When you work with one of them, you get a public cloud based in Microsoft Azure, one of the world’s largest platforms—and a Windows Server–based private cloud, the world’s most innovative platform.

2. What does the Cloud OS Network mean by “hybrid cloud”?

Think of the hybrid cloud as having three pillars: First there was the private cloud, based in your own datacenter; next came the public cloud enabled by Microsoft Azure and others; and now there’s the service provider cloud, accessible through the Cloud OS Network. By taking advantage of all three pillars, you get a consistent, connected “hybrid” cloud in which you can manage your infrastructure and applications freely, even moving them between clouds.

3. How will the Cloud OS Network handle my security concerns?

Of our inaugural Cloud OS Network partners, six are designing national clouds today—and government specialists from more countries will be signing up. These providers address unique government data security, privacy, and sovereignty concerns by developing solutions that can be certified to specific in-country requirements. And with local datacenters, their solutions will help you keep your data within your own borders.

These providers offer specialized government solutions now:

For an up-to-date list, keep an eye on the Cloud OS Network website.

4. Why this group of service providers?

Many members of the Cloud OS Network have worked with Microsoft cloud services for a decade or more. Not only do they have the in-house skills and experience to deliver the most efficient, scalable, and secure cloud solutions to governments, but they’re also backed by Microsoft’s cloud expertise. Since 1997 when we launched the original Hotmail service, we’ve delivered more than 200 cloud services to billions of people worldwide. Taken together, that’s a level of experience that’s hard to beat.

5. How does Microsoft ensure the quality of these providers’ solutions?

Microsoft gives its Cloud OS Network partners implementation support that other providers don’t get. Only these partners have access to Microsoft intellectual property and solution architects to guide them in designing and deploying the most efficient, scalable clouds in their countries. By working with these select service providers, your government will have the direct support of Microsoft as you get your cloud up and running.

For more answers: Watch the program video to hear straight from the service providers. Or, contact a Cloud OS Network service provider in your country. If there isn’t one, take advantage of a partner in a neighboring country or contact Microsoft to nominate a local service provider to be part of the network. You can also tweet me a question @dmannion, and I’ll respond. Any way you do it, it’s vital to your cloud rollout’s success that you check out this great new program.

“Watch the program video”: The Cloud OS Network of Leading Cloud Service Providers [MSCloudOS YouTube channel, Dec 12, 2013]

Learn about the Microsoft Cloud OS Network, a worldwide program for leading cloud service providers who have embraced the Cloud OS vision. These partners will offer infrastructure and application solutions based on a Microsoft-validated platform. Customers will benefit from uniquely tailored services in their local markets adding greater flexibility and choice. Learn more about participating partners and solutions on http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os-network.aspx

Note that in that Cloud OS Network announcement [Dec 12, 2013] video only 6 companies—Outsourcery PLC, TeleComputing, T-Systems, Tieto, SingTel, and OVH.com—are represented out of those 25 announced 2 months ago. If you check the Cloud OS Network website indicated in the Feb 5, 2014 post for government customers you will find only a single company, Tieto with a sufficiently developed offering strategy:

Tieto – Cloud OS Network [TietoCorporation YouTube channel, Feb 3, 2014]

As a member of Cloud OS Network our customers will benefit on several levels. Tieto’s set of cloud transformation services includes unique data security and control capabilities as well as in-country data centres. We help our customers move into the cloud step by step, in a pace that is suitable for them, and deliver the hybrid solution of legacy IT, private cloud and public cloud solution, that is suitable for their specific needs. http://www.tieto.com/CloudOSNetwork

Note that on the Cloud OS Network website Tieto is described as:

Tieto is the largest Nordic IT services company providing full life-cycle services and product development for private and public sectors. Tieto is committed to develop enterprises and society through IT.

Cloud OS Network

Tieto is a member of the Microsoft Cloud OS Network.

As a member of Cloud OS Network our customers will benefit on several levels. Tieto’s set of cloud transformation services includes unique data security and control capabilities as well as in-country data centres.

imageDatacenter without Boundaries – Tieto offers a true and complete hybrid cloud solution. Tieto can support our customers whether they have a dedicated environment, a hosted cloud solution with Tieto Productivity Cloud, or Microsoft’s public cloud (Windows Azure and Microsoft Office 365) or a hybrid solution combining them. Tieto Productivity Cloud, based on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, enables full service delivery over different cloud scenarios and smooth transitions between them.

imageCloud Innovation Everywhere – Tieto Productivity Cloud is built on the R2 versions of Windows Server, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack, providing best-in-class cloud platform software supporting our customers’ IT infrastructure transformations. We help them make their businesses more efficient and build new businesses through standardization, virtualization, automation, and innovative new offerings. We help our customers move into the cloud step by step, in a pace that is suitable for them, and deliver the hybrid solution of legacy IT, private cloud and public cloud solution, that is suitable for their specific needs.

Tieto Productivity Cloud

Productivity, CRM, Big data, BI, Office – all the enterprise Microsoft solutions you know and are familiar with, delivered from the most advanced, flexible and secure cloud solution available. Delivered the way you need it – private, hybrid and/or Microsoft cloud.

image

The tools you know – delivered the way you need.

image

Tieto Productivity Cloud is built in collaboration with Microsoft, and as a partner in the Microsoft Cloud OS Network, we can deliver the most advanced technology through our own cloud ecosystem integrated with your legacy systems.

As the largest Microsoft partner in the Nordics, together with deep industry knowledge, we support customers moving to the cloud with the latest Microsoft solutions.

Cost efficient

image• Capex free
• Increased productivity
• Shared platform


Flexible

image• Scaling up and down based
on business needs
• Fast automated deployments


Secure

image• Latest technology used
to ensure secure data
• Private data center
 


Future proof with hybrid cloud

image
• Grows with hybrid clouds
• Controlled evergreen in private cloud
 


Get the best from the cloud!

Tieto can provide full services regardless the delivery model you need: On premise, Tieto’s Private Cloud (TPC) or a public cloud solution with Office 365 or Azure or a Hybrid solution fitted to your needs. Tieto supports all scenarios! You can select what ever suits your organization the best.

Example Scenario of a Hybrid Cloud Solution in Tieto Productivity Cloud.

image

Read more here
– some of the links go to other parts of Tieto’s services structure.


2. Microsoft Cloud OS vision (H1’FY14)

The topmost strategic intent defining the Cloud OS vision of Microsoft was detailed in my earlier post titled Cloud first” from Microsoft is ready to change enterprise computing in all of its facets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 4, 2013]

represented by these alternative/partial titles explained later on in this composite post:
OR Choosing the Cloud Roadmap That’s Right for Your Business [MSCloudOS YouTube channel, June 3, 2013]
OR Microsoft transformation to a “cloud-first” (as a design principle to) business as described by Satya Nadella’s (*) Leading the Enterprise Cloud Era [The Official Microsoft Blog, June 3, 2013] post
OR Faster development, global scale, unmatched economics… Windows Azure delivers [Windows Azure MSDN blog, June 3, 2012] which is best summarized by Scott Guthrie (*) as the following enhancements to Windows Azure
OR as described by Brian Harry (*) in Visual Studio 2013 [Brian Harry’s MSDN blog, June 3, 2013]
OR as described by Brad Anderson (*) in TechEd 2013: After Today, Cloud Computing is No Longer a Spectator Sport [TechNet Blogs, June 3, 2013]
OR as described by Quentin Clark (*) in SQL Server 2014: Unlocking Real-Time Insights [TechNet Blogs, June 3, 2013]
OR as described by Antoine Leblond (*) in Continuing the Windows 8 vision with Windows 8.1 [Blogging Windows, May 30, 2013], and continued by Modern Business in Mind: Windows 8.1 at TechEd 2013[June 3, 2013] from Erwin Visser (*) describing some of the features that businesses can look forward to in Windows 8.1
OR putting all this together: Microsoft unveils what’s next for enterprise IT [press release, June 3, 2013]

Note that the necessity to include such a plethora of alternative/partial titles is proving by itself how much Microsoft’s H1’FY14 cloud computing strategy was half-baked.

Then the H1FY14 expression of the vision came out in the form of
Experience Microsoft Cloud OS vision [Microsoft page, Sept 15, 2013]

It’s a new day in IT. There are more apps, more devices, and now, more data than ever — all driven by the rise of cloud computing and the use of cloud services. With these technologies playing an ever present role in businesses, how can IT drive more efficiency and deliver new forms of value? Microsoft’s answer is the Cloud OS.

imageBig data, the cloud, and bring your own device are converging technology trends that represent real opportunities for IT to deliver more efficiencies and new value. By responding to these opportunities, IT can reduce the cost and complexity of running datacenters at scale, draw insights from any data, support employees wherever they work across any device, and create new business apps or transform existing ones.

Microsoft’s approach allows IT to get all the benefits of scale, speed, and agility while still protecting existing investments. This means IT can now rapidly build and deploy apps, flexibly manage IT services, and support real-time analytics across all forms of data.

Why Cloud OS? [Hybrid cloud, public cloud, and private cloud which are representing the overall infrastructure vision]

image image image image[pages you will reach when clicking on the above tiles, note the names of pages which are representing the particular and proper visions for the infrastructure, while the above tile names are representing the particular strategic intents:]

[Virtualization of the datacenter]
[Business intelligence and analytics from all data sources]
[Unified Device Management, Security and Compliance]
[Modern Business Applications using Cloud Services]

Aston Martin. Driving strategy and innovation with the power of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision

Behind every luxury sports car produced by Aston Martin is a sophisticated IT infrastructure. The goal of the Aston Martin IT team is to optimize that infrastructure so it performs as efficiently as the production line it supports. This video describes how Aston Martin has used cloud and hybrid-based solutions to deliver innovation and strategy to the business.

Read the case study [Microsoft Case Study: Windows Server 2012 – Aston Martin]

Related videos on the 4 subpages indicated by the tiles on the above page:

[Virtualization of the datacenter > Transform the datacenter]

Why Microsoft From vendors that are applying new labels to old on-premises solutions to those that want you to rip up your existing infrastructure and bet everything on public cloud, there are a host of vendors claiming to solve all your IT challenges. Microsoft’s solutions help you take advantage of your existing investments and move to the cloud at a pace that suits your business needs. Through proven solutions that help customers choose between private, public, or hybrid, you can be sure your IT infrastructure can adapt as the needs of your business change.

[Business intelligence and analytics from all data sources > Unlock insights on any data]

image

you might click here as well

Why Microsoft
There are plenty of vendors who claim to meet your big data needs, but their solutions are not usually designed to handle today’s new data sources or built to take full advantage of the cloud. Some try to sell you on complex, expensive hardware solutions that are difficult to use while others provide limited data visualization solutions that address only one issue at a time. See how Microsoft offers a complete, flexible data platform that helps everyone at businesses like yours, from the front office to the server room, unlock insights from any data, big and small, no matter where it resides.

[Unified Device Management, Security and Compliance > Empower people-centric IT]

Toyota Automotive retailer avoids $1.3 million in IT costs with cloud-based PC management tool. Toyota Motor Europe (TME) had no tools to manage 3,500 car-diagnostic PCs running outside the corporate domain at 3,000 dealerships. TME chose Windows Intune to manage the PCs remotely from a web-based console. It can standardize software deployments to ensure consistent customer service and enhance the security of managed computers to reduce downtime at dealerships. Remote assistance capabilities will also help reduce on-site support costs.

[Modern Business Applications using Cloud Services > Enable modern business applications]

Aviva Drive UK insurance firm uses mobile application and cloud platform to track driving behavior. Aviva, a leading provider of financial services worldwide, wanted to help customers save money by basing auto insurance quotes on the behavior of individual drivers instead of statistics. To better understand potential customers, Aviva needed to collect telematics data from moving vehicles. However, deploying on-premises infrastructure was too costly and complex. That changed when it implemented a hybrid-cloud solution based on Windows Azure. The solution uses smartphones to collect telematics data that it stores in the cloud on Windows Azure SQL Database.

Then the latest introductory videos for the above 4 vision aspects:

Cloud computing is bringing new opportunities and new challenges to IT. Learn how Microsoft can help transform your datacenter to take advantage of the vast possibilities of the cloud while leveraging your existing resources. Learn more: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/modern-data-center.aspx
Data is being generated faster than ever before, so what can it do for your business? Learn how to unlock insights on any data by empowering people with BI and big data tools to go from raw data to business insights faster and easier. Learn more: http://www.microsoft.com/datainsights
People want access to information and applications on the devices of their choice. IT needs keep data protected and without breaking the budget. Learn how the Microsoft People-centric IT vision helps businesses address their consumerization of IT challenges. Learn More: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/pcit.aspx
A revolution is taking place, impacting the speed at which Business Apps need to be built, and the jaw dropping capabilities they need to deliver. Ignoring these trends isn’t an option and yet you have no time to hit the reset button. Learn how to deliver revolutionary benefits in an evolutionary way. Learn More: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/modern-business-apps.aspx


3. Microsoft Cloud OS delivery and ecosystem rollout (H1’FY14)

3. 1 Windows Server 2012 R2

Key Features In Windows Server 2012 R2 Explained [gizmodoAU YouTube channel, June 4, 2013] that was when the preview of it was released at TechEd North America 2013

Microsoft senior program manager Jeff Woolsey talks through some of the major enhancements in Windows Server R2, announced at TechEd North America 2013, and explains how to get ready to shift to the new platform.

Then all the essential details, especially that product’s relationship to the delivery of the whole Microsoft Cloud OS vision [12:10]: Introduction to Windows Server 2012 R2 [MSCloudOS YouTube channel, Sept 4, 2013] at TechEd EMEA 2013 in Barcelona

Get the details on the upcoming release of Windows Server. We go over enhancements and new capabilities in Networking, Storage, Hyper-V, PowerShell and availability – making it easier than ever for customers to truly embrace the cloud with Windows Server.

Announcing the General Availability of Windows Server 2012 R2: The Heart of Cloud OS[Windows Server Blog, Oct 18, 2013]

For years now, Microsoft has been building and operating some of the largest cloud applications in the world. The expertise culled from these experiences along with our established history of delivering market-leading enterprise operating systems, platforms, and applications has led us to develop a new approach for the modern era: the Microsoft Cloud OS.

Delivered as an enterprise-class, the simple and cost-effective server and cloud platform Windows Server 2012 R2 delivers significant value around seven key capabilities:

  • Server virtualization.
  • Storage.
  • Networking.
  • Server management and automation.
  • Web and application platform.
  • Access and information protection.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

To compete in the global economy and keep up with the pace of innovation, IT organizations must improve their agility, their efficiency, and their ability to better manage costs while enabling their business and end users to stay continuously productive.

Then I will recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters [Microsoft Download Center, Jan 23, 2014]

Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster (whole poster)

Mini-posters

  • Virtual Hard Disk and Cluster Shared Volumes Mini Poster
  • Virtual Hard Disk Sharing Mini Poster
  • Understanding Storage Architecture Mini Poster
  • Storage Spaces and Deduplication Mini Poster
  • Scale-Out and SMB Mini Poster
  • Hyper-V and Failover Clustering Mini Poster

These posters provide a visual reference for understanding key private cloud storage and virtualization technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2. They focus on understanding storage architecture, virtual hard disks, cluster shared volumes, scale-out file servers, storage spaces, data deduplication, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, and virtual hard disk sharing.

as well as Windows Server 2012 R2 Products and Editions Comparison [Microsoft Download Center, Feb 7, 2014]

This chart illustrates the differences among the various Windows Server 2012 R2 products and editions, including the various editions of Windows Server, Microsoft Hyper-V Server, Storage Server, and MultiPoint Server. The chart includes information about locks and limits (such as the maximum number of connections of various kinds, domain-joining capability, and CPU and RAM limits), which server roles are supported, and which server features are available.

Finally Windows Server 2012 R2 [Microsoft product site, Oct 17, 2013]

Windows Server 2012 R2 provides enterprise-class datacenter and hybrid cloud solutions that are simple to deploy, cost-effective, application-focused, and user-centric.

Greater flexibility and agility with Windows Server 2012 R2

At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure with new features and enhancements in virtualization, management, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, the web and application platform, and more.


Telco giant uses hybrid-cloud strategy to trim IT costs by 15%, gain agility

Telefónica is using a hybrid private-public cloud strategy based on Microsoft software to reduce IT costs by 15%, ramp up business agility, and increase data center flexibility and reliability.

Read the case study


Limo firm virtualizes biggest workloads while improving availability, reducing costs

By using Windows Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, and Microsoft SQL Server 2012, EmpireCLS virtualized its dispatch and reservation system and slashed disaster recovery time from three minutes to three seconds.

Read the case study


Benefits

With Windows Server 2012 R2 you can scale to run your most important workloads with robust recovery options. You’ll achieve value quickly with a wide range of cost-effective, high-performance storage options and simplified delivery of multi-tenant IT services. You can build, deploy, operate, and monitor applications on-premises and in the cloud. Empower users with secure access to corporate resources on the devices they choose.

Enterprise-class

Improve performance and scale capacity more efficiently to run your largest workloads while enabling robust recovery options to protect against outages.

Simple and cost-effective

Deliver multi-tenant-aware storage and networking multi-tenancy capabilities for storage and networking on low-cost, industry-standard hardware.

Application focused

With enhanced support for open frameworks, you can build, deploy, and scale applications and websites with more flexibility by unlocking application portability between on-premises environments and public and service provider clouds.

User-centric

Deploy a virtual desktop infrastructure and lower storage costs significantly using a broad range of storage options and VHD deduplication


Capabilities

Server virtualization

Take advantage of the cost savings of virtualization, and maximize server hardware investments by consolidating your servers as virtual machines on a single physical host. Hyper-V runs multiple operating systems including Windows, Linux, and others, in parallel, on a single server. Windows Server 2012 R2 extends Hyper-V’s capabilities with additional features and industry-leading scalability for host processors and memory.

Learn More

Storage

Whatever your storage platform, the data it holds is the bedrock of your business. Windows Server 2012 R2 helps you optimize your existing storage investments, such as SANs. It also lets you build scalable, high-performance, highly available storage solutions using industry-standard hardware and Windows Server 2012 R2. Windows Server 2012 R2 helps ensure your storage remains continuously available, so your services can be, continuously available too.

Learn More

Networking

You can manage an entire network as a single server, so you get the reliability and scalability of multiple servers at a lower cost. Automatic rerouting around storage, server, and network failures keeps file services online with minimal noticeable downtime. Together with System Center 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 can provide an end-to-end software defined networking solution across public, private, and hybrid cloud implementations.

Learn More

Server management and automation

Following a standards-based management approach, the Windows Management Framework provides a common platform for automation and integration to help you automate your routine tasks with tools like Windows PowerShell. Other improvements help simplify deployment, ensure that the components of your datacenters have the correct configuration, and enable you to take action to manage across multiple servers through a single relevant dashboard in Server Manager.

Learn More

Web and application platform

Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on the tradition of the Windows Server family as a proven application platform, with thousands of applications already built and deployed and a community of millions of knowledgeable and skilled developers already in place. You can build and deploy applications either on-premises or in the cloud—or both at once, with hybrid solutions that work in both environments.

Learn More

Access and information protection

With Microsoft’s Access and Information Protection solutions, you can manage a single identity for each user, across both on-premises and cloud-based (SaaS) applications. You define a user’s level of access to information and applications each user has to information and applications based on who they are, what they are accessing, and from which device—, even applying multi-factor authentication. You can provide secure remote access to your mobile workers using the Windows Server Remote Access (RRAS) capabilities of DirectAccess and VPN (including automatic VPN connections) and enable your users to sync their work files from a corporate server to their devices. Also, you can manage mobile devices to remove corporate data and applications when a device is lost, stolen, or retired from use.

Learn More

Virtual desktop infrastructure

With Windows Server 2012 R2, it’s even easier to deploy and deliver virtual resources across devices. VDI technologies offer easy access to a rich, full-fidelity Windows environment running in the datacenter, from virtually any device. Through Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services, Microsoft offers three flexible VDI deployment options in a single solution: Pooled Desktops, Personal Desktops, and Remote Desktop Sessions.

Learn More


3.2 System Center 2012 R2

Introduction to System Center 2012 R2 [Channel 9 via EPC Group.net YouTube channel, on Channel 9: June 3, 2013; on this YouTube: June 12, 2013 ] that was when the preview of it was released at TechEd North America 2013

Nagender Vedula MDC-B206 You heard the announcement, now get the details on the upcoming release of Microsoft System Center. We go over key enhancements and new capabilities in System Center that truly enable customers to provide Infrastructure as a Service using on-premise, hoster, and public cloud environments.

Announcing the General Availability of System Center 2012 R2: Management Delivered [The System Center Team Blog, Oct 18, 2013]

he Cloud OS vision combines Microsoft knowledge and experiences with today’s trends and technology innovations to deliver a modern platform of products and services that helps organizations transform their current server environment into a highly elastic, scalable, and reliable cloud infrastructure. Utilizing the software that powers the Cloud OS vision, organizations can quickly and flexibly build and manage modern applications across platforms, locations, and devices, unlock insights from volumes of existing and new data, and support end-user productivity wherever and on whatever device they choose. At the heart of Cloud OS is Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.

Today, we are pleased to announce the general availability of System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2. 

System Center 2012 R2 effectively manages the scale and performance that Windows Server 2012 R2 offers.  Building on System Center 2012, this release enables at-scale management of major Windows Server 2012 R2 capabilities, including running VM snapshots, dynamic VHDX resize, and Storage Spaces.  

System Center 2012 R2 also extends software-defined networking in Windows Server 2012 R2 with provisioning and management support for a multitenant VPN gateway to enable seamless extension of datacenter capacity.  System Center 2012 R2 will continue to help you provision and manage a flexible hybrid IT environment that adapts dynamically to changing business needs, including migrating workloads to Windows Azure Virtual Machines and managing them consistently.

We’re very proud of the releases of Windows 8.1 and Window 8.1 RT, and the enhancements they bring.   System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager and Windows Intune fully support these new versions of Windows, and Windows Server 2012 R2 helps enable greater mobility and access through features including Workplace Join and Work Folders.

What to do next?

If you haven’t begun evaluating System Center 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Intune, it’s a great time to start. 

Let us know what you think – stay engaged in the communities, and share your success stories.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Unified management for Cloud OS with System Center 2012 R2 [Microsoft product site, Oct 17, 2013]

System Center 2012 R2

System Center 2012 R2 delivers unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Windows Azure environments, in a manner that’s simple, cost-effective, application focused, and enterprise-class.

System Center 2012 R2 delivers unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Windows Azure environments, thereby enabling the Microsoft Cloud OS. System Center 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across [ 02 | ] infrastructure provisioning, [ 03 | ]infrastructure monitoring, [ 04 | ] application performance monitoring, [ 05 | ] automation and self-service, and [ 06 | ] IT service management.


Medical center gains cost-effective disaster recovery, IT cost savings with upgrade

DHMC used the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 to create a disaster recovery solution and further streamline data center management.

Read the case study


What’s new in System Center 2012 R2

This Microsoft Virtual Academy module introduces the Cloud OS and provides an overview of System Center, including an introduction to what is new with System Center 2012 R2.

Watch the videos of the Jump Start [ 03 | Windows Azure Pack related also]


Benefits

System Center enables the Microsoft Cloud OS by delivering unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Windows Azure environments.

Application focused

System Center enables easy workload portability between Windows Server and Windows Azure. It helps you deliver predictable line-of-business application SLAs by providing deep insight and diagnostics for your .NET and Java applications. Global Service Monitor and System Center Advisor deliver application health and performance insights from Windows Azure. System Center helps you provision your apps faster and repeatably using service templates. Your application developers and operations staff can help you take applications to market faster through built-in System Center-Visual Studio dev-ops integration. Finally, System Center provides your application owners with a unified, self-service view across clouds.

Enterprise-class

System Center 2012 R2 delivers best-in-class management for Windows Server environments that your critical business applications run on. It provides extensive built-in knowledge to help you optimize performance and availability for first-party Microsoft workloads like Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint. System Center helps you bridge physical and virtual networks, thereby enabling flexible workload mobility in hybrid environments. It can help you optimize your investments in SAN storage. System Center also provides robust heterogeneous datacenter management, including multiple hypervisors and Linux support. Finally, System Center enables unified monitoring for your on-premises and Windows Azure infrastructure, helping you to extend your existing investments and skill-sets.

Simple and cost-effective

To make it easier to deploy, we deliver service templates and runbooks for System Center components. You can easily integrate System Center capabilities with your existing management tools through the built-in web-service interfaces and Integration Packs. System Center can help you optimize storage cost-performance for your business-critical workloads by effectively managing Windows Server file-based storage and Storage Spaces. It also provides extensible automation and integration, thereby helping you to operate your infrastructure in a cost-effective and predictable manner.


Capabilities

Infrastructure provisioning

System Center helps you manage virtual and cloud environments with full support for Windows Server capabilities, including industry-leading Hyper-V scale and performance, plus support for VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer. It also delivers robust support for Linux-based environments, with full support for Dynamic Memory. System Center allows VM connectivity to fibre channel-based SAN so you can virtualize the most demanding workloads and connect them to your highest-tier storage platforms. To drive down storage costs for your business-critical workloads, it enables bare metal provisioning and cluster creation of scale-out file server clusters. System Center enables virtual networking for multitenant environments along with automated provisioning of edge gateways that bridge physical and virtual networks. System Center delivers reliable and cost-effective automation to help you drive operational efficiency. You can also migrate on-premises workloads to Windows Azure through the familiar System Center experience. The Configuration Manager component helps you automate physical server deployments, software inventory, and in-guest updates.

Infrastructure monitoring

System Center provides best-of-breed Windows Server monitoring and robust cross-platform monitoring support (including RHEL/SUSE Linux, Oracle Solaris, HP-UX, and IBM AIX). You can assure physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure health with the familiar Operations Manager console. Built-in network topology discovery allows you to monitor the health of your network devices. The connector between VMM and Operations Manager components enables granular monitoring of your private cloud infrastructure resources. The System Center Management Pack for Windows Azure allows granular monitoring of Windows Azure resources. You can monitor your VMware infrastructure with the VEEAM Management Pack. And you can ensure reliable workload configurations using the System Center Advisor connector for Operations Manager.

Automation and self-service

Use service templates for faster and repeatable application and workload provisioning—for example, to define and deploy a SharePoint farm for use by application owners. With the Windows Azure Pack, you can deploy scalable, multi-VM infrastructure services such as SQL clusters for use by application owners. Work with application owners to define the policies that govern the underlying infrastructure services, empowering them while retaining control. To ensure hybrid IT consistency between on-premises and Windows Azure environments, System Center provides unified views (through the App Controller component) and supports common deployment artifacts such as VHDs for Windows Server and Linux. Finally, System Center enables dynamic capacity expansion to support application needs through robust automation workflows (based on PowerShell and the Orchestrator component) and Integration Packs (including Integration Packs for Windows Azure and SharePoint).

Application performance monitoring

System Center assures LOB application SLAs by providing deep application insight for .NET and Java applications, including line-of-code level traceability to pinpoint and resolve issues that impact application health. Through integration with System Center Alliance partner BlueStripe, System Center can enable transaction monitoring. Achieve a rapid application lifecycle by delivering dev-ops capabilities that span people, process, and systems. Deep Visual Studio-System Center integration makes it possible for developers to work productively with their operations counterparts in a cloud-optimized release cadence. System Center Global Service Monitor gives you outside-in monitoring for web applications through Windows Azure-based global points of presence for a 360-degree view of application health.

IT service management

System Center offers easy publishing and consumption of IT services by enabling self-service requests for private cloud capacity through a Service Catalog and Cloud Service Process Pack. You get deep integration of people, process and knowledge with a CMDB as well as pre-defined industry-standard workflows for core datacenter processes. You can even measure and increase efficiencies of your operation through granular resource metering for chargeback combined with a data warehouse for SLA tracking and reporting.


3.3 Windows Azure Pack

What’s In Azure Pack For Windows Server? [gizmodoAU YouTube channel, June 4, 2013] that was when the preview of it was released at TechEd North America 2013

From Lifehacker @ TechEd North America 2013: Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie explains the new features of Azure Pack for Windows Server

Windows Azure: Announcing Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 + Some Nice Price Cuts [ScottGu’s Blog, Oct 18, 2013]

Today we released some great updates to Windows Azure:

  • Virtual Machines: Support for Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Cloud Services: Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and .NET 4.5.1
  • Windows Azure Pack: Use Windows Azure features on-premises using Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Price Cuts: Up to 22% Price Reduction on Memory-Intensive Instances

Below are more details about each of the improvements:

Virtual Machines: Support for Windows Server 2012 R2

This morning we announced the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 – which is a fantastic update to Windows Server and includes a ton of great enhancements.

This morning we are also excited to announce that the general availability image of Windows Server 2012 R2 is now supported on Windows Azure.  Windows Azure is the first cloud provider to offer the final release of Windows Server 2012 R2, and it is incredibly easy to launch your own Windows Server 2012 R2 instance with it.

Cloud Services: Support for using Windows Server 2012 R2 with Web and Worker Roles

Today’s Windows Azure release also allows you to now use Windows Server 2012 R2 and .NET 4.5.1 within Web and Worker Roles within Cloud Service based applications.

Windows Azure Pack: Use Windows Azure features on Windows Server 2012 R2

Today we also made generally available the Windows Azure Pack, which is a free download that enables you to run Windows Azure Technology within your own datacenter, an on-premises private cloud environment, or with one of our service provider/hosting partners who run Windows Server.

Windows Azure Pack enables you to use a management portal that has the exact same UI as the Windows Azure Management Portal, and within which you can create and manage Virtual Machines, Web Sites, and Service Bus – all of which can run on Windows Server and System Center. 

The services provided with the Windows Azure Pack are consistent with the services offered within our Windows Azure public cloud offering.  This consistency enables organizations and developers to build applications and solutions that can run in any hosting environment – and which use the same development and management approach.  The end result is an offering with incredible flexibility.

Price Cuts: Up to 22% Reduction on Memory Intensive Instances

Today we are also reducing prices by up to 22% on our memory-intensive VM instances (specifically our A5, A6, and A7 instances).  These price reductions apply to both Windows and Linux VM instances, as well as for Cloud Service based applications:

Deliver Your Cloud like A Hoster? Yes Please, with Windows Azure Pack For Windows Server 2012 [“TechNet Deutschland in Kooperation mit ESCde” YouTube channel, Nov 23, 2013]

Taking the Azure Self Service experience, in this presentation we will take the new Windows Azure Pack, dissect it into small modules, and take a look at how this new Rich HTML5 UI can become your front door for self-service cloud offerings. We will serve up a lot more than just Virtual Machines, creating our own gallery of offerings as we investigate its sophisticated ability to deliver our tenants Web Sites, Databases, Virtual Machines and with a mix of automation; ensure we deliver the perfect experience.

Azure Pack, Private Cloud, Windows Server [Microsoft product site, Oct 17, 2013]

Windows Azure Pack

The Windows Azure Pack delivers Windows Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter. Offer rich, self-service, multi-tenant services and experiences that are consistent with Microsoft’s public cloud offering.

Windows Azure-consistent experiences and services in your datacenter

The Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost. Once installed in your datacenter, the Windows Azure Pack integrates with System Center and Windows Server to help provide a self-service portal for managing services such as websites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus; a portal for administrators to manage resource clouds; scalable web hosting; and more.


Benefits

Self-service IT from your datacenter

Deliver IT services through a rich self-service portal to help enable hybrid cloud scenarios across private, public, and hosted clouds.

Web PAAS – Platform-as-a-Service

Create high-density, scalable web application hosting services that are simpler to deploy and administer.

IAAS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Create Infrastructure as a Service offerings for Windows Server and Linux VMs, integrated with software defined networking capabilities for straightforward migration and deployment.

Database as a service

Create cloud-based database offerings that are easily provisioned and administered.

Developer friendly

Build and deploy applications using many popular development frameworks, platforms, and tools including source control repositories.


Capabilities

The Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost. Once installed in your datacenter, the Windows Azure Pack integrates with System Center and Windows Server to help provide the following capabilities:

Management portal for tenants

A Windows Azure-consistent, customizable self-service portal experience for provisioning, monitoring and management of services such as Web Sites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus.

Management portal for administrators

A portal for administrators to configure and manage resource clouds, user accounts, tenant offers, quotas, and pricing.

Service management API

The foundation for the capabilities in the management portal, the service management API is an OData REST API that helps enable a range of integration scenarios including custom portals and billing systems.

Web Sites

Consistent with Windows Azure Web Sites, this service helps provide a high-density, scalable shared web hosting platform for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js web applications. It includes a customizable web application gallery of popular open source web applications and integration with source control systems for custom-developed websites and applications.

Virtual Machines

Consistent with Windows Azure Virtual Machines, this service helps provide Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities for Windows and Linux virtual machines (VMs). It includes a VM template gallery, scaling options, and virtual networking capabilities.

Service Bus

Consistent with Windows Azure Service Bus, this service helps provide reliable messaging services between distributed applications. It includes queued and topic-based publish/subscribe capabilities.

Automation and extensibility

The Windows Azure Pack also includes capabilities for automating and integrating additional custom services into the services framework, including a runbook editor and execution environment.

Windows Azure Pack Webinar [Cloud OS Community (UK) YouTube channel, Jan 13, 2014]

Damian Flynn (MVP) joins us for this Cloud OS Community Webinar to present about the new addition to the Cloud OS technology set, Windows Azure Pack. Damian talks about the common look and feel, the framework, API’s, Providers, Usage Scenarios and more. Webinar was delivered on 8th January 2014

 


3.4 SQL Server 2014 (CTP1, CTP2) 

What’s new in SQL Server 2014? [gizmodoAU YouTube channel, June 5, 2013] that was when the preview Beta (CTP1) of it was released at TechEd North America 2013

Microsoft’s general manager of product management, Eron Kelly, explains what’s new in SQL Server 2014.

Is Microsoft Getting Too Far Ahead of Its Customers? [SQLServerProMag YouTube channel, June 24, 2013]

Microsoft has accelerated its development schedule. SQL Server 2014 was a surprise announcement. Is it too much too soon?

What’s new in SQL Server 2014feature drilldown [SQL Server 2014 – Features Drilldown] [Channel 9 via EPC Group.net YouTube channel, on Channel 9: Sept 10, 2013; on this YouTube: Sept 17, 2013 ]

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 builds on the mission critical capabilities delivered in the prior release by providing breakthrough performance, increased availability and manageability for mission critical applications. With new in-memory capabilities like [codename Hekaton], and enhanced in-memory data warehousing and BI features [updateable columnstore,] SQL Server 2014 provides the most comprehensive in-memory database solution in the market. You will also learn about new capabilities in management and deployment to Windows Azure, enabling new Hybrid IT and HA/DR scenarios. Join this session for a deep dive into the features and learn how to implement these capabilities.

SQL Server 2014 CTP 2 Now Available [SQL Server Team Blog, Oct 17, 2013]

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP2 was announced by Quentin Clark during the Microsoft SQL PASS 2013 keynote.  This second public CTP is essentially feature complete and enables you to try and test all of the capabilities of the full SQL Server 2014 release. Below you will find an overview of SQL Server 2014 as well as key new capabilities added in CTP2:

SQL Server 2014 helps organizations by delivering:

  • Mission Critical Performance across all database workloads with In-Memory for online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing and business intelligence built-in as well as greater scale and availability
  • Platform for Hybrid Cloud enabling organizations to more easily build, deploy and manage database solutions that span on-premises and cloud
  • Faster Insights from Any Data with a complete BI solution using familiar tools like Excel

Thank you to those that have already downloaded SQL Server 2014 CTP1 and started seeing first hand the performance gains that in-memory capabilities deliver along with better high availability with AlwaysOn enhancements.  CTP2 introduces additional mission critical capabilities with further enhancements to the in-memory technologies along with new hybrid cloud capabilities.

What’s new in SQL Server 2014 CTP2?

New Mission Critical Capabilities and Enhancements

  • Enhanced In-Memory OLTP, including new tools which will help you identify and migrate the tables and stored procedures will benefit most from In-Memory OLTP, as well as greater T-SQL compatibility and new indexes which enables more customers to take advantage of our solution.
  • High Availability for In-Memory OLTP Databases:  AlwaysOn Availability Groups are supported for In-Memory OLTP, giving you in-memory performance gains with high availability.  IO Resource Governance, enabling customers to more effectively manage IO across multiple databases and/or classes of databases to provide more predictable IO for your most critical workloads.  Customers today can already manage CPU and memory.
  • Improved resiliency with Windows Server 2012 R2 by taking advantage of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs).  CSV’s provide improved fault detection and recovery in the case of downtime.
  • Delayed Durability, providing the option for increased transaction throughput and lower latency for OLTP applications where performance and latency needs outweigh the need for 100% durability.

New Hybrid Cloud Capabilities and Enhancements

By enabling the above in-memory performance capabilities for your SQL Server instances running in Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you will see significant transaction and query performance gainsIn addition there are new capabilities listed below that will allow you to unlock new hybrid scenarios for SQL Server.

  • Managed Backup to Windows Azure, enabling you to backup on-premises SQL Server databases to Windows Azure storage directly in SSMS.  Managed Backup also optimizes backup policy based on usage, an advantage over the manual Backup to Windows Azure.
  • Encrypted Backup, offering customer the ability to encrypt both on-premises backup and backups to Windows Azure for enhance security.
  • Enhanced disaster recovery to Windows Azure with simplified UI, enabling customers to more easily add Windows Azure Virtual Machines as AlwaysOn secondaries in SQL Server Management Studio for greater cost-effective data protection and disaster recovery solution.  Customers may also use the secondaries in Windows Azure for to scale and offload reporting and backups.
  • SQL Server Data Files in Windows Azure – New capability to store large databases (>16TB) in Windows Azure and the ability to stream the database as a backend for SQL Server applications running on-premises or in the cloud.

Learn more and download SQL Server 2014 CTP2

SQL Server 2014 helps address key business challenges of ever growing data volumes, the need to transact and process data faster, the scalability and efficiency of cloud computing and an ever growing hunger for business insights.   With SQL Server 2014 you can now unlock real-time insights with mission critical and cloud performance and take advantage of one of the most comprehensive BI solutions in the marketplace today.

Many customers are already realizing the significant benefits of the new in-memory technologies in SQL Server 2014 including: Edgenet, Bwin, SBI Liquidity, TPP and Ferranti.  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog highlighting the impact in-memory had to each of their businesses.

Learn more about SQL Server 2014 and download the datasheet and whitepapers here.  Also if you would like to learn more about SQL Server In-Memory best practices, check out this SQL Server 2014 in-memory blog series compilation. There is also a SQL Server 2014 hybrid cloud scenarios blog compilation for learning best practices.

Also if you haven’t already download SQL Server 2014 CTP 2 and see how much faster your SQL Server applications run!  The CTP2 image is also available on Windows Azure, so you can easily develop and test the new features of SQL Server 2014.

SQL Server Pro Editorial Jan 2014: The In-Memory Revolution [SQLServerProMag YouTube channel, Dec 3, 2013]

The new In-Memory OLTP database engine clearly positions SQL Server 2014 as the enterprise database market leader in in-memory technologies.

SQL Server 2014 [Microsoft product site, June 3 –> Oct 16, 2013]

SQL Server 2014 CTP2

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 brings to market new in-memory capabilities built into the core database and provides new cloud capabilities to simplify cloud adoption for your SQL databases and help you unlock new hybrid scenarios.

Download trial


Microsoft SQL Server 2014 builds on the mission-critical capabilities delivered in the prior release by providing breakthrough performance, availability and manageability for your mission critical applications. SQL Server 2014 delivers new in-memory capabilities built into the core database for OLTP and data warehousing, which complement our existing in-memory data warehousing and BI capabilities for the most comprehensive in-memory database solution in the market.

SQL Server 2014 also provides new disaster recovery and backup solutions with Windows Azure, enabling customers to use their existing skills with the on-premises product offerings to take advantage of Microsoft’s global datacenters. In addition, SQL Server 2014 takes advantage of new Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 capabilities to give you unparalleled scalability for your database application in a physical or virtual environment.


Edgenet Gain Real-Time Access to Retail Product Data with In-Memory Technology
[MSCloudOS YouTube channel, June 3, 2013]

To ensure that its customers received timely, accurate product data, Edgenet decided to enhance its online selling guide with In-Memory OLTP in Microsoft SQL Server 2014.


Next Steps

Learn more about SQL Server 2014


3.5 Windows Intune

Putting the Easy in IT: Windows Intune Launches Today [Microsoft features story, March 23, 2011]

Microsoft today launched Windows Intune, a cloud-based solution that lets IT pros provide management and security of PCs, all with only a Web connection. Users can “try before they buy” with a 30-day trial subscription. Paid subscriptions include an upgrade to Windows 7.

When Microsoft PC management and security solutions go to the cloud, the result is Windows Intune – a new Microsoft product to help businesses manage, secure and update their fleet of PCs.
Windows Intune, which launches today at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) in Las Vegas, makes it possible for IT professionals to provide PC management and security services to their organization or client over the Internet – at a low monthly cost, said Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows Commercial Marketing.
image
“If you have a PC and can connect it to the Internet, it can be managed and better protected with Windows Intune – and that’s a benefit for IT and for end users,” Reynolds said. “It’s a solution for customers of all sizes, especially those with a lightly managed or unmanaged PC environment.”
Subscriptions to Windows Intune are available now for purchase in 35 countries, or users can “try before they buy” with a free 30-day trial, he said. Paying Windows Intune customers also receive upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise and future versions of Windows, ultimately giving PC users the best productivity experience with their Windows PC and helping IT lower support costs by standardizing on a single version of Windows. Subscribers also have the option of adding Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) tools, which will include two new updates announced today: Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring, and Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset.
The inclusion of the Windows 7 IT features makes Intune “a very compelling package,” Reynolds said.
From a single console, the Windows Intune cloud service lets an IT manager see across all of the PCs they manage, including being able to manage updates on PCs, track what software and hardware users have installed, and provide remote assistance. It also includes endpoint protection based on Microsoft Forefront technologies.
imageOnce IT employees sign up all the PCs in their environment, they can “drill down, and if needed, take action so that everybody’s up-to-date and highly secure” regardless of whether they’re connected to the corporate network or just the Internet, Reynolds said. “You can make sure everyone has the latest updates, or see if someone’s running out of disk space, or see what hardware exists,” Reynolds said. “It’s easy to use, and it’s all in one place – an IT professional could take a look at home on a Sunday morning or at a coffee shop or anywhere that they have access to the Internet.”

Windows Intune is not just for IT professionals – it also works well for companies that provide IT solutions such as San Jose-based InfinIT Consulting, said Jerod Powell, the company’s CEO and cofounder.

Powell said InfinIT Consulting hosts cloud services and provides IT consulting, including managing the IT of “some pretty large clients” using a beta version of Windows Intune.
Powell said his company is dedicated to Microsoft solutions, and “wholeheartedly jumped in and embraced Windows Intune.” His clients have found it to be a low-cost solution that keeps them up to date and allows them to upgrade their operating system to Windows 7.
“It’s easy to sell, and it augments our existing services well knowing that when Microsoft decides to take an initiative with a product line, they go all the way with it,” Powell said.
Powell said his company worked with Microsoft during the Windows Intune beta to provide feedback. Suggestions like those from InfinIT were valuable in shaping the final product, said Joseph Dadzie, Intune’s principal group program manager.
imageDadzie and his team developed Windows Intune. When it was released for beta a year ago, the team was expecting 1,000 customers to participate. They got that many in just 36 hours. Due to high interest, an expanded beta program opened in July, and many more customers participated – some who used Windows Intune to manage up to 3,000 PCs.
“Beta was great,” Dadzie said. “We got a lot of valuable feedback and learning both from customers and from running the service itself.”
Dadzie said one of the team’s main challenges was to make the product powerful, but also easy to use. In the future, they look forward to evolving Windows Intune to meet the changing needs of the professional environment, including more employees wanting to work remotely, and working from a wider variety of devices.
“It’s not only the employees who want to work from home – the IT folks also want to work from anywhere, so having a service that is cloud-based is a powerful way to help them manage everything but also reduce their costs,” Dadzie said.
He encouraged potential customers to try a 30-day trial version of Windows Intune.
“Microsoft is all-in when it comes to the cloud, and this is just proof of it. We’ll continue to evolve the product to meet customer needs,” Dadzie said. “We want to make IT’s job

Delivering Unified Device Management with Windows Intune and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 [Windows Intune Blog, Jan 15, 2013]

This post is from Mike Schutz, General Manager
Windows Server and Management Product Marketing


Back in September, we announced our strategy around unified device management, and how the next releases of Windows Intune and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager will deliver on that vision.  As part of today’s update to our Cloud OS vision, we’re pleased to announce that System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection Service Pack 1, as well as the latest Windows Intune service, are available today.

Together, these releases deliver a unified device management solution for the enterprise, built on a “People-centric” model, where the user is the focus, not the device.  IT is able to provide users with access to the corporate resources (applications and data) they need on the devices they choose.    Administrators are able to address the unique challenges created by Bring Your Own Device policies by being able to identify and manage endpoint devices, including Windows PCs (physical and virtual), tablets, smartphones, Macs, and embedded devices all through a unified administration console.

This blog post highlights new device management capabilities in Windows Intune and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1. For information about new cloud and datacenter capabilities, please read the blog post located here.

Windows Intune addresses new challenges IT departments face when managing devices, including:

  • Providing management and software distribution across a range of mobile devices and platforms, including Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Android, and iOS
  • Through integration with Configuration Manager 2012 SP1, IT administrators will be able to manage both corporate- and personally-owned devices with a single console, making it easier to identify and enforce compliance
  • A self-service portal for selecting and installing company apps

With the latest release, the Windows Intune service is now expanded to 45 additional countries taking the total to 87 countries worldwide.

Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 contains several enhancements, including:

  • Support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, including delivery of Windows 8 applications, the ability to limit downloads on 3G and 4G network connections to prevent unwanted data charges, and support for Windows To Go
  • Native management of Windows Embedded devices
  • Support for PowerShell for administrative tasks
  • Windows Azure-based Distribution Points
  • Support for Mac OS X devices and Linux and Unix servers

Endpoint Protection 2012 SP1 contains enhancements, including:

  • Ability to automatically deploy definition update three times per day
  • Real-time administrative actions to update definitions, scan, and remediate issues quickly
  • Client-side merge of antimalware policies

For more information and to sign up for a free 30-day trial subscription to Windows Intune, click here.  SP1 can be downloaded by MSDN and TechNet subscribers as well as through the Volume Licensing Software Center.

From Michael Park and Mike Schutz: Cloud OS Announcement [Microsoft transcript, Jan 15, 2013]

Michael Park: System Center 2012 SP1 and the new Windows Intune cloud-based service that’s now available provide a unified PC and mobile device management solution. It’s a comprehensive approach that lets IT use one management solution to provide users with access to corporate resources on the devices that they choose, and therefore represents a win for both users as well as IT. This solution provides management and software distribution with enterprise scale of up to 100,000 devices.

Windows Intune is now offered in 87 countries around the world, representing the majority of the world’s population.

This combination of Windows Intune and System Center is really ideal for helping IT secure and manage the new generation of powerful Windows 8 PCs, Windows RT tablets, Windows Phone 8 smartphones, as well as all the diverse other platforms in today’s modern enterprise, including Android and iOS. So this is a really exciting announcement for us to help bring together the management of PCs and devices to help IT and end users at the same time.

From: Microsoft unleashes fall wave of enterprise cloud solutions [press release, Oct 7, 2013]

People and devices in the cloud

The proliferation of cloud applications, data and consumer devices is moving many enterprises to a bring-your-own-device model. The new release of Windows Intune, also available Oct. 18, combines with System Center Configuration Manager to help IT departments give mobile employees security-enhanced access to the applications and data they need on the Windows, iOS and Android devices of their choice. This unified management environment for PCs and mobile devices complements the new access and information protection capabilities in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Further, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available for download in application stores later this month, to provide easy access to PCs and virtual desktops on a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android.

Windows Intune [Microsoft product site, Oct 17, 2013]

Windows Intune delivers cloud capabilities for PC and mobile device management.

Manage PC and mobile devices from the cloud

Windows Intune lets you manage PCs and mobile devices from the cloud, enabling people to use the devices they choose to access applications and data while following corporate policies.

The web-based administration console in Windows Intune provides simplified management of client computers in your organization, including Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Apple iOS, and Android devices. You can upload and publish software packages, configure and deploy management and security policies, and hardware and software computer inventory without on-premises infrastructure.

Choose the management solution that’s right for you

You can use Windows Intune on its own for cloud-based management of PCs and mobile devices, or integrate it with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager to manage your corporate-connected Windows PCs, Macs and Unix/Linux Servers on-premises along with your users’ mobile devices together in a complete, comprehensive management solution using a single administrative console, infrastructure, and reporting system.


Luxury sports car maker uses online PC management to boost staff productivity

Aston Martin’s IT team uses Windows Intune to keep laptops, mobile devices, and smartphones reliable and secure, safeguard corporate data stored on them, and support remote sales and engineering staff so they stay productive on the road, working with global dealerships.

Read the case study


Automotive retailer saves $1.3 million with Windows Intune

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) had no tools to manage 3,500 car-diagnostic PCs running outside the corporate domain at 3,000 dealerships. TME chose Windows Intune to manage the PCs remotely from a web-based console

Read the case study


Benefits

Windows Intune provides a cloud-based device management service that can help your business manage and secure personal computers and mobile devices. Windows Intune can help you support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives so your employees can concentrate on their jobs while you help manage their computers and mobile devices.

Improve efficiency and reduce complexity

Managing PCs and mobile devices from the cloud through Windows Intune requires no infrastructure on premises. Organizations can begin managing without spending time and resources on deployment planning and adding servers to their environment.

Enable consumerization responsibly

Whether using corporate or employee-owned devices, Windows Intune helps protect corporate resources with -a comprehensive set of configuration policies and reporting.

Capabilities

Empowers users to use the device of their choice

Windows Intune enables policy configuration of PCs, smartphones and tablets, enables remote wipe to help protect company data if lost or stolen, and provides a self-service portal for people to enroll their own devices and install applications consistently across all their devices.

Delivers management without infrastructure

Windows Intune manages devices through the cloud with integrated security and compliance management. It utilizes Active Directory integration with Windows Azure, taking advantage of existing user accounts and security groups. A simple subscription set-up enables quick deployment without on-premises infrastructure.

Simplifies IT administration

Windows Intune eliminates the need to plan, purchase, and maintain hardware and infrastructure to manage devices.. It reduces administrative burden by providing an easy-to use console to define compliance and configuration policies and offering people a consistent list of applications to install from a self-service portal.


3.6 Cloud OS Network partners

The Cloud OS Network of Leading Cloud Service Providers [MSCloudOS YouTube channel, Dec 12, 2013]

Learn about the Microsoft Cloud OS Network, a worldwide program for leading cloud service providers who have embraced the Cloud OS vision. These partners will offer infrastructure and application solutions based on a Microsoft-validated platform. Customers will benefit from uniquely tailored services in their local markets adding greater flexibility and choice. Learn more about participating partners and solutions on http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os-network.aspx

Hosting Service Provider | Microsoft Cloud OS [Microsoft page, December 12, 2013]

The power of the Cloud OS Network

The Cloud OS Network is a worldwide consortium of cloud service providers who have embraced the Cloud OS vision. These organizations offer solutions based on the Microsoft Cloud Platform designed to meet your business needs.

Members of this network combine industry-leading Microsoft technology with their hosting and geographic expertise to provide you full flexibility and choice for your hybrid datacenter solution. Hear from these providers directly in this video.

See below for Cloud OS Network partners [23] and get started today.

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ALOG is the leading carrier-neutral data center provider, and the only data center in Brazil with available space for large projects of co-location and data center containers. Alog has about 1,500 corporate customers in its four sites at Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. View more >

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Aruba S.p.A, created in 1994, is the Italian leading company for a number of hosting services, e-mail, PEC and domain names. Aruba has developed a strong experience in data center management thanks to its growing international network. In 2011, Aruba increased its offer by adding cloud computing to its data center solutions.
View more >

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With more than 130,000 people in 44 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services delivering business and technology solutions. View more >

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Capita IT Services is a leading provider of ICT solutions, outsourced & managed IT services. Capita Private Cloud platform offers the best of public & private clouds in a secure, UK-based data center. View more >

imageCGI is the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. Approximately 68,000 professionals serve thousands of global clients across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. View more >

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CSC is a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions and services. Our mission is to create superior value for our clients by being the industry leader in next-generation IT services. View more >

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Dimension Data plc is an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability, and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients.
View more >

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DorukNet was founded in 1993 as the first ISP in Turkey. Today, it is one of the most reliable alternative telephony operators. DorukNet has focused on offering corporate services since the beginning.
View more >

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[pointing to Fujitsu Nordic]Fujitsu is the leading ICT services and hardware provider in Finland. We take care of our customers’ ICT, including application support, operations and development.
View more >

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[pointing to 富士通 : FUJITSU Japan] Fujitsu is the leading ICT company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. View more >

imageiWeb provides the on-demand server and cloud infrastructure that allows over 10,000 customers worldwide to deliver today’s Internet-based technologies and to create tomorrow’s online innovations. View more >

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NTTX provides advanced, hosted multi-tenant, public and private cloud solutions, delivering integrated client solutions through direct collaboration and engineering excellence, both on and off-premise. The Cloud OS vision in action. View more >

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[Operating throughout the UK, employs 150 people]Outsourcery offers a full range of award-winning Microsoft-based cloud solutions including software applications, virtualised infrastructure and unified communications.
View more >

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OVH.com is the #1 Internet hosting provider in Europe and #3 worldwide. Founded in 1999 by Octave Klaba, the company has experienced exponential growth with now over 150,000 dedicated servers in 12 data centers located in France and in Canada. View more >

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Revera is New Zealand‘s cloud services leader. More than 200 New Zealand government and private sector organisations use Revera to reshape their IT for the new era of hyper-connected business. View more >

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SingTel is Asia’s leading communications group providing a portfolio of services including voice and data solutions over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms as well as ICT and pay TV. View more >

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Sogeti is a leading provider of technology and software testing, specializing in application, infrastructure and engineering services. Sogeti consists of more than 20,000 professionals in 15 countries. View more >

imageDrawing on a global infrastructure of data centers and networks, T-Systems operates ICT systems for multinational corporations and public sector institutions. This includes cloud services “made in Germany”.
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[press release: a leading supplier of cloud computing, centralized IT On-demand solutions and outsourcing to the Nordic SMB market … 800 employees and 800 business customers in the Nordic countries] “Making IT easier” is TeleComputing’s mission, fulfilled by providing any place, any time, any device access to its subscription based services – successfully delivering IT as a Service since 1997. View more >

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Tieto is the largest Nordic IT services company providing full life-cycle services and product development for private and public sectors. Tieto is committed to develop enterprises and society through IT. View more >

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Triple C Cloud Computing is the first and largest cloud provider in Israel. The company provides cloud computing, Internet, hosting & DR, maintenance & support from the company’s Tier 4 data center. View more >

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VTC Digilink is an affiliate of VTC, the largest multimedia service provider in Vietnam. We focus on cloud and telecom infrastructure, serving government, corporate and private sectors nationwide. View more >

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WORTMANN AG is a 27-year old, privately owned German IT producer and distributor. They produce tablets, notebooks, PCs, servers and LCDs under the brand TERRA, and sell only indirect through resellers in Europe.
View more >

 

From that the leading Microsoft partners in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Cloud IaaS) as per Gartner and August 2013:

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Source: Gartner Names CSC a Leader
in Cloud Infrastructure as a Service
[press release, Aug 21, 2013]
(the previous two also from CSC: for Dec’11 and Oct’12)

About CSC
CSC is a global leader of next generation information technology (IT) services and solutions. The Company’s mission is to enable superior returns on our client’s technology investments through best-in-class industry solutions, domain expertise and global scale.  CSC has approximately 87,000 employees and reported revenue of $13.8 billion for the 12 months ended June 28, 2013.

CSC Recognized as Leader in Independent Analyst Report for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service [CSC, Aug 21, 2013]

Cloud compute IaaS, in the context of this Magic Quadrant, is defined as a standardized, highly automated offering, where compute resources, complemented by storage and networking capabilities, are owned by a service provider and offered to the customer on demand. The resources are scalable and elastic in near-real-time, and metered by use. Self-service interfaces are exposed directly to the customer, including a Web-based UI and, optionally, an API. The resources may be single-tenant or multi-tenant, and hosted by the service provider or on-premises in the customer’s data center.
This Magic Quadrant covers all the common use cases for cloud IaaS, including development and testing, production environments (including those supporting mission-critical workloads) for both internal and customer-facing applications, batch computing (including high-performance computing), and disaster recovery. It encompasses both single-application workloads as well as “virtual data centers” (VDCs) hosting many diverse workloads. It includes suitability for a wide range of application design patterns, including both “cloud-native” application architectures as well as enterprise application architectures.
Leaders have distinguished themselves by offering an excellent service and having an ambitious future road map. They are likely to excel in a particular use case, and can serve a broad range of use cases, although they do not excel in all areas, may not necessarily be the best providers for a specific need, and may not serve some use cases at all. They have a track record of successful delivery, significant market share, and many referenceable customers.
View the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service report in its entirety.

From Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service [Gartner, Aug 19, 2013]

CSC

CSC is a large, traditional IT outsourcer with a broad range of data center outsourcing capabilities.

Locations: CSC has multiple cloud data centers in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Brazil, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.K., Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. It has global sales. Support is provided in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Mandarin.

Compute: CSC offers a vCloud Datacenter Service, a VCE Vblock-based cloud IaaS architecture in different tenancy models — public multitenant in a CSC data center (CloudCompute), single-tenant compute with a multitenant back-end (BizCloud Virtual Private Edition [VPE]), and private single-tenant in a CSC data center or in the customer’s own data center (BizCloud) — and optional managed services. It offers both paid-by-the-VM and SRP pricing. Because features are introduced into BizCloud before being rolled into CloudCompute, the latter contains a subset of BizCloud features; furthermore, it is best-effort and lacks API access. While customers can access vCloud Director if they prefer, CSC has built its own, more user-friendly portal.

Storage: Block storage is persistent and independent of the VM. There is an option for SSDs. Storage snapshots are not supported. CSC does not offer object-based cloud storage.

Network: CSC has the full range of networking options.

Other notes: Managed services are optional. CSC also has significant additional software capabilities supporting IT operations management, along with trigger-based and schedule-based autoscaling, and quotas and leases for resource management. It also offers database as a service (CloudDB) and Hadoop as a service.

Recommended uses: General business applications, test and development, cloud-enabled data center transformation.

Strengths

  • Unlike most other traditional data center outsourcers, CSC has fully embraced the highly standardized, highly automated cloud model, successfully blending the benefits of a true cloud service into an enterprise-ready offering. It has a solid platform that is attractive to traditional IT operations organizations that still want to retain control, but need to offer greater agility to the business and are willing to embrace data center transformation.
  • CSC has a strong road map focused on bringing enterprise-class IT operations management (ITOM) tools, including automated managed services, to cloud IaaS. It is trying to integrate not just traditional ITOM tools, but also DevOps tools; for example, it offers Nolio’s application deployment tool as part of its platform. It is also building infrastructure utility services for specific applications on top of the platform. In addition, it has begun to blend PaaS-layer services into its IaaS offerings.
  • CSC is one of the few providers to have a standardized architecture across both public and private cloud offerings, as well as a single rate card across all of these offerings — although the pricing is the same, the minimum commitments vary. CSC’s pricing for infrastructure resources is very competitive.
  • CSC has developed a portfolio of cloud-related professional services, including Smart Start, a proof-of-concept program intended to help a customer achieve a “quick win” in moving an application onto IaaS, and then methodically migrating other workloads over time. In general, CSC is generous about offering trials to prospective customers.

Cautions

  • Cloud computing is driving a radical reinvention of the way in which CSC delivers services, including significantly broadening the range of companies that CSC targets with its offerings. The cloud division is run as its own business unit, which gives it greater agility but also sometimes brings it into conflict with its slower-moving and more conservative parent company. At present, however, CSC is investing heavily in its cloud business.
  • Prospective CSC customers should be careful to understand the distinction between CSC’s outsourcing business and its cloud offerings; in particular, they should be sure to understand what is and isn’t within the scope of a particular tier of managed services. Existing CSC outsourcing customers report challenges in getting CSC to engage in cloud opportunities.
  • Although CSC has a vCloud Datacenter Service, it has been gradually reducing its dependence upon VMware, in favor of integrating best-of-breed third-party ITOM tools, as well as developing its own software. While this improves CSC’s overall competitive position, it may be challenged to compete with other organizations that can invest heavily in cloud development and have their own large engineering teams.
  • CSC’s focus has been on enabling traditional IT operations organizations to make the transition to cloud infrastructure, resulting in a distinctive feature set. It is trying to increase its traction with developer audiences, but will find this challenging, given the positioning of the broader CSC brand.


Dimension Data

Dimension Data is a large SI and value-added reseller. It entered the cloud IaaS market through the 2011 acquisition of OpSource.

Locations: Dimension Data has data centers on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., plus the Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa. Local-language sales and support is provided in 51 countries, with cloud-specialized support provided from its regional service centers.

Compute: Dimension Data offers VMware-virtualized paid-by-the-VM public cloud IaaS, as well as SRP-priced private cloud IaaS, with optional managed services.

Storage: There is persistent block storage with an optional SSD-accelerated tier, but it is not VM-independent.

Network: Dimension Data has a full range of networking options.

Other notes: There are two tiers of optional managed services, which include improved SLAs. There is no multifactor authentication. There is no colocation.

Recommended uses: E-business hosting, cloud-native applications, general business applications, and test and development.

Strengths

  • Dimension Data’s Managed Cloud Platform (MCP) is a single unified architecture across its public and private cloud offerings; it is one of the few providers to provide such an architecture. It is pursuing a federated model, whereby service provider partners offer MCP-based services via resale or white label, but Dimension Data provides one consistent, unified service globally. It also provides sales and marketing enablement to its OneCloud Alliance members.
  • OpSource had a long history as a SaaS hoster, and Dimension Data has retained these capabilities. Its rich suite of offerings for that market includes not only infrastructure, but also an on-demand billing platform, custom application management and help desk support. It has excellent SLAs, including 100% availability, and even stronger SLAs are available to customers who buy managed services.
  • Dimension Data has launched Cloud Software, a set of partnerships with ISVs. It offers Dimension Data-tested and -licensed software from those ISVs, on demand. Depending on the software, the price may be hourly or monthly. However, there is little software available in this model.

Cautions

  • While Dimension Data’s offering is VMware-virtualized, it is not vCloud Powered. Instead, Dimension Data is doing extensive software development of its own, allowing it to drive a faster pace of innovation and control it costs better. Although it is able to invest in the necessary engineering resources, and has consistently rolled out incremental improvements in a continuous delivery model, this also represents a new way of doing business for Dimension Data, which has historically been an integrator of technology, not a developer of technology.
  • Although Dimension Data has a capable basic cloud IaaS offering, it needs value-added capabilities, whether delivered through its own services or via an ecosystem of partners. It has tried to differentiate based on its network model, but such capabilities are increasingly “table stakes.”
  • Dimension Data is owned by NTT Group. While NTT has deliberately chosen Dimension Data to be its most agile business, with minimal interference from the parent, Dimension Data’s future ability to move quickly is likely to depend on continued support and noninterference.


Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a large diversified technology company. It has a range of cloud IaaS offerings, including the Fujitsu Cloud IaaS Trusted Public S5 (formerly the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform), multiple regional offerings based on a global reference architecture (Fujitsu Cloud IaaS Private Hosted, formerly known as Fujitsu Local Cloud Platform), and multiple private cloud offerings. Although Fujitsu has received vCloud Datacenter Service Provider partner status, it has not yet launched this offering.

Locations: S5 is available in data centers in the U.S. (West Coast), Germany, the U.K., Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Fujitsu has global sales, and provides support in 34 languages; the S5 portal is available in English and Japanese. The regional offerings have their own capabilities and locations, which are different from those of S5.

Compute: S5 is a multi-tenant, best-effort, fixed-size and non-resizable, paid-by-the-VM, Xen-virtualized offering; it is also available in a single-tenant version (S5 Dedicated).

Storage: Block storage is persistent and VM-independent. Although S5 has storage snapshots, snapshots cannot be used as VM images. Customers cannot import their own VM images.

Network: Although S5 supports private connectivity and private-IP-only VMs, it cannot use customer-provided IP addresses. It does not fully support complex network topologies.

Other notes: There is no metadata tagging of assets, but user quotas are supported. Managed services are optional.

Recommended uses: General business applications, and test and development.

Strengths

  • Fujitsu has a long history in IT services and data center outsourcing. It has a large global sales force, is the leader in IT outsourcing in Asia/Pacific and has a strong European presence. This gives it a large existing base of captive customers into which it can sell cloud services, and it has been successful at extending existing Fujitsu relationships into cloud deals. It has very responsive support, and good account management.
  • Fujitsu is a global vendor of hardware and software, and it is developing most of its own technology for its cloud offerings, across IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. It is leveraging its existing technology, including its ITOM software, to accelerate the pace of its cloud business. Fujitsu’s Resource Orchestrator — Cloud Edition software is used to provide the visual designer used in its IaaS user interfaces, as well as significant depth of portal features.
  • Fujitsu’s previous strategy of allowing its regions to pursue their own cloud strategies has enabled certain regions, such as Australia, to develop offerings tailored to the needs of their local markets, at a faster pace than Fujitsu has been able to do so as a global entity. Fujitsu has begun an “offering standardization process” intended to bring the regional offerings in line with the global ones, but it may be a few years before this is accomplished.
  • Fujitsu rolls out S5 features first in Japan, then extends them to its other regions. Furthermore, Fujitsu in Japan offers additional cloud capabilities — Japan-based organizations or projects targeted at the Japanese market should investigate what capabilities are specifically available in Japan, such as object-based storage, database as a service, and Hadoop as a service.

Cautions

  • Although Fujitsu has been rapidly improving S5’s capabilities, and has been highly responsive to customer requests, its feature set lags the market leaders. Its VM provisioning times are lengthy compared to other providers. It cannot meet common compliance requirements.
  • Fujitsu’s previous strategy of allowing regional control means that development efforts are fragmented across the globe. As such, the private hosted service offerings may differ in each region, making it difficult for Fujitsu to capitalize fully on engineering resources and achieve economies of scale, although Fujitsu has recently strengthened its global cloud strategy and management.
  • Although Fujitsu can sell its IaaS platform on a stand-alone basis, it is most often combined with managed services or a broader outsourcing relationship.

Microsoft itself in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Cloud IaaS) as per Gartner and August 2013::

Microsoft

Microsoft is a large ISV with a diverse array of related technology businesses; it is increasingly focused on delivering its software capabilities via cloud services. Its Windows Azure business was previously strictly PaaS, but Microsoft launched Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (which include Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks) into general availability in April 2013, thus entering the cloud IaaS market.

Locations: Windows Azure Infrastructure Services are available in data centers on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., as well as in Ireland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Singapore. Microsoft has global sales, and Windows Azure support is provided during local business hours in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Portuguese; 24/7 support is provided only in English.

Compute: Windows Azure VMs are fixed-size, paid-by-the-VM, and Hyper-V-virtualized; they are metered by the minute.

Storage: Block storage (“virtual hard disk”) is persistent and VM-independent. There is no support for bulk import/export. Object-based cloud storage is integrated with a CDN.

Network: Third-party private connectivity is not supported. Inter-data-center Azure traffic goes over the Internet, not a Microsoft private network. There is no network security as a service.

Other notes: Enterprise-grade support costs extra. The SLA is multi-fault-domain, but does not have any exclusion for maintenance. There is no granular RBAC. Although audit logs are kept, they are retained for less than 60 days. The broader Windows Azure service is a full-featured PaaS offering with significant complementary capabilities, such as database as a service; the Virtual Machines are integrated into the overall offering. Trigger-based autoscaling is in beta.

Recommended use: Test and development for Microsoft-centric organizations; cloud-native applications; use as part of an overall Windows Azure solution.

Strengths

  • Microsoft has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading stand-alone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center) and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings. Its vision is global, and it is aggressively expanding into multiple international markets.
  • Microsoft has built an attractive and easy-to-use UI that will appeal to Windows administrators and developers. The IaaS and PaaS components within Windows Azure feel and operate like part of a unified whole, and Microsoft is making an effort to integrate them with Visual Studio and System Center.
  • Microsoft’s brand, existing customer relationships and history of running global-class consumer Internet properties have made prospective customers and partners confident that it will emerge as a market leader in cloud IaaS. The number of Azure VMs is growing very rapidly. Microsoft customers who sign a contract can receive their enterprise discount on the service, making it highly cost-competitive. Microsoft is also extending special pricing to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers.

Cautions

  • Windows Azure Infrastructure Services are brand-new and consequently lack an operational track record. The feature set is limited and the missing features are ones that are critical to most enterprises. Many features are in “preview” (beta), or “coming soon,” and it is not always obvious to the customer which features are still in preview. Although Microsoft has a generally good uptime record with Azure PaaS components, it will be challenged to scale its IaaS business rapidly.
  • Microsoft is in the midst of a multiyear initiative to make its on-premises software “cloud first,” rather than trying to scale software originally built for on-premises single-enterprise use. It now faces the challenges of getting its core infrastructure technology to operate at cloud scale, managing that infrastructure at cloud scale, and facilitating the ability of customers to move toward more highly automated infrastructure.
  • Microsoft has just begun to build an ecosystem of partners around Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, and does not yet have a software licensing marketplace. Furthermore, it has little in the way of enterprise Linux options. Consequently, the offering is currently very Microsoft-centric and appeals primarily to .NET developers.

Traditional (Data Center) leading competitors of Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Cloud IaaS) as per Gartner and August 2013::

HP

HP is a large diversified technology company with a range of cloud-related products and services. Its only true cloud IaaS offering is the HP Public Cloud, although it has some cloud-enabled infrastructure services, such as the HP Enterprise Services Virtual Private Cloud.

Location: HP’s Public Cloud data centers are in the eastern and western U.S. Although it has global sales, the service is offered only in English.

Compute: HP Public Cloud is a multitenant, best-effort, fixed-size, KVM-virtualized, OpenStack-based offering.

Storage: VM storage is ephemeral. There is an option for persistent, VM-independent block storage. Customers cannot import their own VM images. There is object-based storage with an integrated CDN (via a partnership with Akamai).

Network: Although private connectivity is supported, all VMs must have Internet connectivity and customers cannot use their own IP addresses. The load-balancing service is currently in private beta.

Other notes: The SLA is multi-fault-domain, but does not have any exclusion for maintenance. Multifactor authentication is not supported. There are no audit logs. The monitoring service is currently in private beta. User quotas are supported.

Recommended use: Test and development for existing HP customers, or those who specifically want to explore an OpenStack-based cloud offering.

Strengths

  • HP has an ambitious and comprehensive vision of interoperable public and private cloud infrastructure, integrating HP’s hardware capabilities, ITOM tools, outsourcing capabilities and partner ecosystem.
  • HP has a large global sales force and marketing budget. It has been successful at attracting a global customer base for its public cloud, despite currently having data centers only in the U.S.

Cautions

  • Although HP has invested significant engineering resources into its Public Cloud over a multiyear period, its Public Cloud compute offering was not generally available until December 2012. It is therefore a new entrant, with a limited track record, and its feature set is nascent.
  • Although HP’s public cloud offering is based on OpenStack, as is HP Cloud OS (the platform for HP Converged Cloud and part of the HP CloudSystem CMP), there is limited interoperability between the Public Cloud and private clouds based on HP CloudSystem. HP Public Cloud’s inability to import VM images on a self-service basis means that customers cannot currently directly transfer workloads from their private cloud to HP Public Cloud, even if their private cloud is based on OpenStack.
  • HP has been willing to offer extraordinary discounts to prospective customers in order to bring them onto its Public Cloud. Such discounts may not be sustainable, so prospective customers should be cautious when evaluating the solution’s long-term costs


IBM

IBM is a large diversified technology company with a range of cloud-related products and services. IBM’s only true cloud offering is SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE), although it also has a cloud-enabled infrastructure service called IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, as well as PaaS services.

Locations: SCE’s data centers are in the eastern and western U.S., as well as Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Brazil. IBM has global sales. Support for SCE is provided in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Portuguese.

Compute: SCE is a multitenant, best-effort, fixed-size and nonresizable, paid-by-the-VM, KVM-virtualized offering.

Storage: VM storage is ephemeral. There is an option for persistent, VM-independent block storage. Although storage snapshots are supported, they cannot be used as VM images. There is no support for bulk import/export of data. Object-based storage is supported through a partnership with Nirvanix.

Network: Third-party private connectivity is not supported. Inter-data-center SCE traffic goes over the Internet, not an IBM private network. There is no network security as a service. Only front-end load-balancing is supported.

Other notes: Multifactor authentication is not supported, and RBAC is limited. There is no monitoring service and no general autoscaling service. Enterprise-grade support costs extra, and while OS support may be added to premium support, it is not equivalent to a managed service.

Recommended use: Test and development or batch computing for existing IBM customers, or those who want to use the related PaaS capabilities.

Strengths

  • IBM’s cloud vision encompasses public and private cloud at both the systems and application infrastructure levels. IBM’s portfolio of products and services has IaaS, PaaS and SaaS elements, along with hardware, ITOM software, middleware and database software, and comprehensive consulting and outsourcing capabilities. However, IBM has not brought together these disparate elements in a way that motivates customers to use SCE instead of competing, non-IBM services.
  • IBM’s PaaS, in the form of SmartCloud Application Services, can easily be used to enhance SCE’s capabilities. IBM also has a software marketplace for SCE. However, in both cases, this is primarily useful for customers running IBM software on SCE, as there is very limited support for third-party software.

Cautions

  • Although IBM has improved the speed of its development cycle for SCE, its feature set still lags significantly behind those of its competitors. Enterprises are likely to be especially concerned by the weaknesses in security capabilities and the inability to meet regulatory compliance requirements.
  • IBM’s SLA is weak, and it excludes maintenance; IBM typically has more maintenance-related downtime than its competitors. It also has a more complicated sign-up and contracting process than most of its public cloud competitors.
  • While IBM has a stated commitment to OpenStack, SCE is not currently based on OpenStack. Moreover, on 8 July 2013, IBM acquired SoftLayer, which has its own proprietary cloud IaaS platform. This creates uncertainty about the future direction of IBM’s cloud infrastructure platforms and portfolio, including the future of the SCE offering as the platforms are reconciled. Prospective customers should ask IBM about its SoftLayer integration plans.

From IBM SoftLayer vital to Big Blue’s software, hardware success [SearchCloudComputing.com, Feb 18, 2014]


How is the integration of SoftLayer with IBM going from a corporate culture standpoint? Are you still in the getting-to-know-you stage?

Crosby: We are still a standalone unit, and we will be for some period of time. IBM understands the importance of SoftLayer, and that is why you haven’t seen a full integration at this point. I have full support of the board, from Ginny [Rometty, IBM CEO] on down, to make this transition. …


How much interaction do you have with the [IBM] server hardware groups?

Crosby: A lot. I am like a kid in a candy store. … I am going around meeting all the groups in IBM and asking them, ‘Well, here is the widget I want to be cloudified,’ and they will go build it to work with SoftLayer.

You have the Power 8 chip coming in April with new features to better run cloud applications. Increasingly, people are transitioning over to Intel servers, but IBM just sold off its System x Intel-based servers. Does that concern you?

Crosby: We look at the Power series differentiating us from competitors. For example, we are deploying Watson on Power to do [business intelligence] and big data solutions for various industry segments. With the number of sockets on processors and amount of RAM [in Power servers], it is a performance improvement over x86 that can’t be matched. We won’t compete directly with the x86 for the same business because it makes no sense long-term.

Cloud-based analytics is a big play for IBM. Is it the killer app for cloud and big data?

Crosby: We are going after [analytics] with a multipronged approach. We just purchased Aspera, which allows us to do large-file transfers in a short period of time. This helps us get data sets to and from big data solutions fast.

If you look at Power, which does transactions fast, and then look at IBM’s complete software set on big data analytics, that tells you what the data means and puts those pieces together. We are not just a Hadoop cluster running on virtual machines, which is what a lot of big data solutions are.

With its lower cost, is Analytics as a Service how IBM will get more people interested in cloud services?

Crosby: Yes. In fact, that is the future of Watson. We want to give business intelligence to all companies — no matter what size or how much data they have. We want to give them access to understanding their business through the cognitive abilities of something like Watson. We will turn that into a service worldwide, and it will be available on-demand.

IBM looks to end the OpenStack wars with Jumpgate — a bridge to public clouds [VentureBeat, Feb 7, 2014]

As open-source cloud software OpenStack picks up more and more momentum, public-cloud providers are thinking hard about how much they should support OpenStack when many of them already have their own proprietary systems.

IBM is looking to make that an non-issue.

The company’s SoftLayer cloud business has come up with middleware to connect the application programming interfaces (APIs) that OpenStack uses with the APIs that public clouds use. And the company has released that middleware, called Jumpgate, under the MIT open-source license.

“Externally, it exposes endpoints that adhere to OpenStack’s published and accepted API specification, which it then translates into the provider’s API using a series of drivers,” IBM SoftLayer engineer Nathan Beittenmiller wrote yesterday in a blog post about Jumpgate. “Think of it as a mechanism to enable passing from one realm/space into another — like the jumpgates featured in science fiction works.”

Indeed, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is as an on-ramp from a business’s on-site OpenStack-based data centers to a public cloud — potentially IBM’s.

“Given that OpenStack has its own set of APIs, it’s natural that players like IBM will try to build translation layers and abstraction layers,” Mårten Mickos, chief executive of private cloud company Eucalyptus, which supports the APIs for public cloud Amazon Web Services (AWS), wrote in an email to VentureBeat. “They must do it in order to bridge out to the rest of the cloud world.”

While IBM presumably sees its Jumpgate middleware as an way to get new public cloud business from companies running OpenStack, the bigger impact is the fact that Jumpgate could help companies bridge the gap between OpenStack and AWS, whose cloud is more widely used than IBM’s.

Cloudscaling cofounder and chief executive Randy Bias and other cloud commentators have been pushing for OpenStack to become more compatible with AWS, because it’s such a prominent public cloud.

Now it seems their wish could be granted. At the same time, Jumpgate is vendor-neutral, which is good news for companies that want more than just one public-cloud provider option.

Is IBM’s $4.4 Billion Cloud Bigger Than Amazon’s? Not Quite. [Re/code,

Is it possible that IBM’s new cloud computing services business unit — the one that got suddenly bigger last year after the acquisition of SoftLayer — is bigger than cloud computing’s dominant player, Amazon Web Services?
It turns out that it is, but it’s not a very good comparison. It all depends on what you consider to be “the cloud.”
Let’s start with the basic numbers, which have emerged in recent days as both IBM and Amazon have reported their fourth-quarter and annual results.
If you look at IBM’s cloud business strictly by revenue, the company’s CFO Martin Schroeter disclosed on a conference call with analysts on Jan. 21 that it finished the year with $4.4 billion in cloud revenue, a 69 percent increase over the prior year.
Compare that with the revenue Amazon reported yesterday in its “other” segment (which includes its AWS cloud unit): $3.7 billion for the 2013 fiscal year. Amazon has never specifically broken out exactly how big AWS is by revenue and so the “other” segment includes AWS as well as revenue from advertising, branded credit cards and other “non-retail activities.”
Now that IBM has said it’s getting serious about cloud services and plans to double the unit’s footprint with $1.2 billion in new capital spending, you can expect Big Blue to argue the point that it’s the player to reckon with. This could erode the perception that Amazon is the king of the cloud, which it has indisputably been for years.
But there’s more to this than a single revenue number. In his comments on the subject, Schroeter specified that of that $4.4 billion in cloud revenue, only $1.7 billion was delivered as services.
The distinction isn’t going to be lost on anyone who has been following the jockeying for mindshare in the cloud business. Schroeter was clear on one point: IBM sees its cloud business as encompassing several things that Amazon simply doesn’t have.
In addition to its public cloud services, IBM is also a big proponent of the private cloud concept, where the customer owns the infrastructure, but has the ability to manage it as though it were a public cloud. It also likes to sell the two together in what it calls a “hybrid cloud.” Its cloud business includes its software-as-a-service offerings, marketing software, collaboration, supply chain management, price optimization and scores of other specialized business apps. IBM also has Watson in its cloud.
So if IBM wants its cloud business to be seen as bigger than Amazon’s, it’s going to be at best a tricky apples-to-oranges comparison. For instance, Amazon doesn’t offer private clouds. Nor does it offer software-as-a-service applications, though lots of companies that build SaaS apps rely on Amazon to host them.
AWS is a pure infrastucture-as-a-service company. And as of last year the market research firm Gartner reckons that to be a $9 billion business. In a survey of the market published in August, Gartner observed that Amazon’s cloud had five times the computing capacity of its 14 nearest competitors combined.
But given that it does some things in cloud computing that Amazon doesn’t do — SaaS applications for one — IBM can and probably will argue that it addresses a wider spectrum of cloud services than Amazon does. In so doing it could claim to lead a market that IBM and only IBM has labeled as “the cloud.” Is IBM’s combined SaaS application business really as big as that of Salesforce, which is expected to crack $4 billion in revenue when it reports in February? Most of that revenue comes from Salesforce’s main product, which is its flagship SaaS software for tracking sales leads.
Analysts have yet to buy in to IBM’s method. Another study by Synergy Research Group looked at the infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service revenue of Amazon versus Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and IBM and found Amazon to be well ahead of the combined revenue of the other four.
That’s not to say IBM can’t or won’t grow. Its plans call for a total of 40 data centers in 15 countries around the world. And it plans to boost its cloud revenue — SaaS and services, all of it — to $7 billion by next year. As anyone who has followed it for awhile can tell you, Big Blue has a pretty good record of hitting its publicly stated goals. But catching up with Amazon on an apples-to-apples, cloud-to-cloud comparison? That’s unlikely to happen in 2015, though you can bet that IBM will find a way to claim the crown just the same.


3.7 Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Partners

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The slides are from WS-B321 Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track v3 [a presentation ppt originally developed for Microsoft internal TechReady event, Feb 2, 2013; delivered on MMS 2013, April 9, 2013]

In fact these partnerships for pre-configured and validated configurations (the basic idea behind all kind of Fast Track solutions) with Microsoft’s hardware partners go back into November 2010 with the announcement of the Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program. The Private Cloud Fast Track solutions program was launched by Microsoft almost two years ago, in April 2012 (when System Center 2012 was released), and the closest partner at that time was HP (as it was with the earlier Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program): 

Deliver a Private Cloud

Delivering a private cloud requires designing and implementing the capabilities defined in the Private Cloud Reference Architecture (PCRA).  This is discussed in detail in the Plan section of this series, and it’s recommended that you read it before reading the content in this section.  Guidance in the Design section below helps you determine which design options for each private cloud capability will be most appropriate given the unique requirements of your organization.  Guidance in the Implementation section details reference implementations and implementation guidance that you can use to implement a private cloud solution.

Designing for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This section contains guidance that first maps relevant Microsoft products and technologies to capabilities discussed in the PCRA.  From there, you can reference further guidance for designing a private cloud with Microsoft products and technologies.

Implementing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Once all the planning and design work is complete, you can use the guidance below to help you implement your private cloud or to purchase a pre-configured hardware appliance that provides the infrastructure capabilities, as well as other capabilities detailed in the systems management, operations, and service delivery layers of the Private Cloud Reference Model.

At MMS 2012, ESG had the opportunity to visit with Scott Schaffer from HP, along with Mike Schutz from Microsoft, on HP’s Virtual System VS3 — built on Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track architecture and featuring the newly released System Center 2012.

imageHP VirtualSystem VS3 Fast Track Solution

  • Highest performance for large enterprise
    – ProLiant Gen 8 servers
    – HP 3PAR storage
    – Insight Control for System Center 2012
  • 512 cores
  • 16.4 TB memory

ESG at MMS 2012 : Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track [“Enterprise Strategy Group ESG” YouTube channel, April 18, 2012]

At MMS 2012, ESG had the opportunity to visit with Mike Schutz from Microsoft, to discuss Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track … and then invited Scott Schaffer from HP to talk about the HP Virtual System for Microsoft that is built on the Fast Track architecture. We also discuss some of the high points of the recently completed ESG Lab Validation of the Fast Track architecture running on HP hardware.

This was with the V2 version of the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track program which was quite successful (source: Microsoft, April 2013):

image

It was updated a year later, in April 2013,  into the V3 version as follows:

  • v1 = Windows Server 2008 R2 + System Center 2008
  • v2 = Windows Server 2008 R2 + System Center 2012
  • v3 = Windows Server 2012 + System Center 2012 SP1
  • Medium validated v3 solutions: Cisco-NetApp, Cisco-EMC, HP (soon), Hitachi (near future), NEC (June’13)
  • Small validated v3 solutions: Cisco-EMC, Cisco-Nimble, IBM, Fujitsu

Microsoft Fast Track Program for Private Cloud [V3] – Nimble Storage [Nimble Storage YouTube channel, recorded in April 2013, published here on Oct 1, 2013]

Claude Lorenson from Microsoft describes the Fast Track program and specifically, the SmartStack solution with Cisco and Nimble Storage for private cloud deployments.

Especially important here is mentioning of the whole spectrum of pre-configured solutions, from SMBs to cloud service providers, and then the SMB/Branch focused Fast Track V3 Small solution built on Cisco UCS C-Series blade servers and the Nimble Storage CS-Series hybrid storage arrays:

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the clickable reference: Nimble Storage SmartStack for Windows Servers with Cisco and Microsoft

In more detail: Private Cloud with Windows Server 2012 and HyperV, and Nimble Storage [Nimble Storage YouTube channel, April 29, 2013]

Guest speaker Claude Lorenson from Microsoft describes how Nimble Storage plays a key role in a new reference architecture for private cloud deployments. The new architecture is part of Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track program, which helps customers reduce risk and accelerate their transition to cloud. Nicholas Schoonover provides an in-depth look at the technical aspects of the architecture, which is based on Cisco UCS blade servers, Nimble storage hybrid arrays, and Microsoft Windows 2012 and Hyper-V

From here the following configuration for 75 VMs is worth to have a separate look:

image

More information:
imageMicrosoft Private Cloud Fast Track v3: Private Cloud Reference Architecture Based on Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 [Channel 9 video]
presentation ppt  for that event: WS-B321 Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track v3 [originally developed for Microsoft internal TechReady event, Feb 2, 2013; delivered on MMS 2013, April 9, 2013]

The latest information on that front:


Investment Is Key
This is critical: You need vendors—both technology and service vendors—that invest as much into the quality of their partnerships as they do into the quality of their technology. This isn’t just about who has the best technology, it’s about who’s built the best support ecosystem.

And that makes yesterday’s Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track Validation announcement so significant. Microsoft has also joined the FlexPod Cooperative Support Model, which “means it will be easier to replicate and resolve multivendor issues so customers receive a more streamlined response to their issues.”

NetApp and Cisco Attain Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Validation for FlexPod Architecture with Support for SMB 3.0 [from NetApp: “This solution has achieved Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validation with SAN and SMB 3.0/CIFS, which includes validation for Windows Server® 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.”]; Microsoft Joins FlexPod Cooperative Support Model

CloudMunch brings Open DevOps to Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud

Parallels Announces Support for Windows Azure Pack for Parallels Automation

Emulex Announces OneConnect OCe14000 to Increase Performance and Scalability for Virtualization and the Cloud

Hortonworks and Microsoft Collaborate to Expand Hadoop’s Reach

Hortonworks and Microsoft are working together to expand the reach of Apache Hadoop and deliver Apache Hadoop to Microsoft Windows and Windows Azure environments. In the effort to help customers embrace Apache Hadoop, Microsoft has logged over 6,000 engineering hours in the last year, committing code and jointly driving innovation across a range of open source projects including the Hive/Stinger initiative.
Visit the Hortonworks labs website for more information on the collaboration. 
In addition, Microsoft and Hortonworks will host a webinar on February 6 for customers interested in learning how to implement the Hortonworks Data Platform with Microsoft’s Windows, Office, SQL Server, Parallel Data Warehouse, and Windows Azure platforms.

Fujitsu Enables More Effective Use of Cloud with Enhanced Hybrid Cloud Initiatives [press release, Nov 20, 2013]

Full lineup of services and products compatible with Microsoft Cloud OS added to Fujitsu cloud services

2. The new private cloud service FUJITSU Cloud IaaS Private Hosted A5+ for Windows Server
Fujitsu now offers a private cloud service hosted from its datacenter running Windows Server 2012 R2 and the system administration software System Center 2012 R2. Customers can use a Hyper-V-based virtual environment with either virtual or physical machines for a fixed monthly fee per machine. The service can also be tailored to a customer’s operations, and the systems flexibly customized with such features as security policies and private leased circuits – unavailable with public clouds.
3. The enhanced private cloud platform FUJITSU Integrated System Cloud Ready Blocks
The vertically integrated private cloud platform, Cloud Ready Blocks, complies with Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track [V3++], which reduces complexities and risks when deploying a private cloud. Now Cloud Ready Blocks has been enhanced to make it compatible with Windows Server 2012 R2 and the system administration software System Center 2012 [R2].
In building a private cloud environment for customers, not only does the offering come prepackaged with all the required hardware and software, thereby significantly reducing the time required for deployment, but it also automates operations through infrastructure integration management, thereby significantly reducing operating costs. In addition, smooth back-ups of business application software assets and the construction of disaster recovery environments are made possible by employing hybrid cloud functions for the A5 for Windows Azure public cloud service, the Private Hosted A5+ for Windows Server private cloud service, and the Cloud Ready Blocks private cloud platform.

FlexPod in a Microsoft Environment [DC Bootcamp, Nov 7, 2013]

A Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track

Together, NetApp and Cisco deliver a strong foundation for a Microsoft Private Cloud. Cisco and NetApp are simplifying Private Cloud deployment for customers with prevalidated and certified configurations that dramatically reduce infrastructure and application deployment time from days to hours and can result in even faster time to value for your organization. NetApp provides sophisticated storage capabilities and tight integration of data management software with Microsoft products and Cisco supplies a leadingedge data center platform that consolidates core server and networking functionalities. When your organization builds a private cloud with FlexPod, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012 SP1, it can deliver IT services and applications more efficiently and cost effectively.

This solution has achieved Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validation, which includes validation for Windows Server® 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1. And, it was voted Best of TechEd 2013 in the Systems Management category.

Learn how your organization can simplify your data center transformation and improve efficiency by attending the FlexPod DC Bootcamp in a Microsoft Enviroment. This one day technical workshop will include technical presentations along with a complete hands-on experience in a lab environment session managed by our technical experts. This is your opportunity to experience the solution in a real live implementation scenario and accelerate your path to success with private cloud.

So it looks like that except Fujitsu no vendor validated yet (for H1’FY14 definitely) its Fast Track Private Cloud solution for the R2 versions of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012.

Private Cloud Fast Track, Fast Track Partner program [Microsoft page, Sept 15, 2013], this is the U.S. site, but there are at least the same local language sites [Sept 15 – Nov 23] for:

Reduce private cloud risk and complexity

Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track is a joint effort between Microsoft and its hardware partners to deliver validated, pre-configured solutions that reduce the complexity and risk of implementing a private cloud. The Fast Track program provides flexibility of solutions and customer choice across hardware vendors’ technologies, and uses the core capabilities of the Windows Server operating system, Hyper-V technology, and Microsoft System Center to deliver the building blocks of a private cloud infrastructure as a service offering.


Benefits

  • Faster deployment to help tame complexity with pre-configured, partner-led solutions
  • Flexibility and choice for virtualization and private cloud offerings
  • Out-of-the-box offerings with reduced risk and greater confidence


Find out more about Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Partners

Cisco

My insert here: Cisco UCS Solutions | FlexPod [with NetApp] and VSPEX [with EMC] [Cisco YouTube channel, July 24, 2013]

Learn about the Cisco Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 reference architectures and how they provide the best TCO. For more information: cisco.com/go/microsoft

Read also: Cisco VSPEX Solution with Microsoft Fast Track 3.0 Small Implementation [Cisco whitepaper, March 2013] which is describing in quite a detail the Cisco and EMC solution based on the Cisco UCS C220 M3 Rack-Mount Server with the Cisco UCS 1225 Virtual Interface Card (converged adapter) connected to the EMC VNXe3300 iSCSI Target.

    Dell

    desktopsites

    EMC

    Fujitsu

    HP

    My inserts here:
    HP VirtualSystem [VS3 solution] for Microsoft [HP Enterprise Business YouTube channel, June 11, 2013] when HP delivered its Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track v3 validated (medium) solution based on HP VirtualSystem VS3

    Alain Inugai and Joe Sullivan from HP discuss HP VirtualSystem [VS3] for Microsoft – a pre-integrated solution that includes HP Converged Infrastructure with Microsoft Hyper V delivering simplified management across both physical and virtual environments.

    All about HP VirtualSystem VS3 for Microsoft [CCEN] [CoffeeCoaching YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]

    Let’s understand the key elements that make HP VirtualSystem VS3 for Microsoft the ideal platform for your journey from virtualization to a Microsoft-based private cloud solution.

    HP AppSystem for PDW [solution] [HP Enterprise Business YouTube channel, June 11, 2013]

    HP’s Steve Tramack discussed the HP AppSystem for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse, jointly engineered, built and supported with Microsoft, is for customers who realize limitations and inefficiencies of their legacy data warehouse infrastructure.

      Hitachi

      Huawei

      IBM

      NEC

        NetApp

        Nimble Storage


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