Microsoft adds muscle to Azure

Microsoft has made it clear the company won’t be left behind in the race to provide on-premise as well as virtual cloud services to enterprises.

The announced the G-series of virtual machines for its Azure cloud service, saying they will be the largest virtual machines available in the public cloud to date. To go along with it,  Azure Premium Storage “will provide incredible performance per virtual machine.”

“Together they will deliver the enterprise-grade scale and performance that enterprises and developers need to run the most demanding workloads in the cloud,” the company said.

There will also be an expanded Azure Marketplace where customers can search for and deploy an operating system, service or application with just a couple of clicks. New applications will include Cloudera Enterprise, an analytics and data management platform, coming by the end of the year; and CoreOS, a container-based Linux operating system, available now.

For those who want a hybrid system, Microsoft has partnered with Dell to create the Cloud Platform System, a server bundled with Azure, Windows Server and Microsoft System Center to deliver an “Azure-consistent cloud in a box.” CPS will be available for purchase on Nov. 3.

Finally, Microsoft said there will be an Azure date centre in Australia next week, the 19th region the service will be in. That’s at least double the number of any other public cloud provider, Microsoft said.

“The enterprises of today and tomorrow demand a cloud platform that is reliable, scalable and flexible,” CEO Satya Nadella said. “With more than 80 per cent of the Fortune 500 on the Microsoft cloud, we are delivering the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography.”

An industry analyst told Computerworld U.S. that Microsoft is making the right move.  “This helps get Microsoft onto an equal footing with Amazon and Google, who are the most talked about cloud players today,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. “It’s a smart move. It gives Microsoft a unique offering that can’t easily be matched by its competitors right now.”

Jack Gold, an independent analyst, told the publication that by adding a server component to its offering, Microsoft could find a way around the so-called price wars going on between Google and Amazon. “I see this as a smart move for Microsoft to stay out of the low-end commodity fray, and be a solid provider of business cloud services, no matter what flavor you want,” he said.

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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