Microsoft on Monday announced a wave of new enterprise products and services to help companies seize the opportunities of cloud computing.
Satya Nadella, Cloud and Enterprise executive vice president, said, "As enterprises move to the cloud they are going to bet on vendors that have best-in-class software as a service applications, operate a global public cloud that supports a broad ecosystem of third party services, and deliver multi-cloud mobility through true hybrid solutions. If you look across the vendor landscape, you can see that only Microsoft is truly delivering in all of those areas."
On Oct. 18 Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2. Together, these new products empower companies to create datacenters without boundaries using Hyper-V for high-scale virtualization; storage at lower costs; built-in, software-defined networking; and hybrid business continuity. The new Windows Azure Pack runs on top of Windows Server and System Center, enabling enterprises and service providers to deliver self-service infrastructure and platforms from their datacenters.
Visual Studio 2013 and the new .NET 4.5.1, also available Oct. 18, will offer tools for the creation of modern applications for devices and services.
Most enterprises will take a hybrid approach to cloud. On Nov. 1, Microsoft will offer its Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers access to discounted Windows Azure prices, regardless of upfront commitment, without overuse penalties and with the flexibility of annual payments.
As another part of this effort to reduce cloud adoption barriers, Microsoft on Monday announced a strategic partnership with Equinix. Building on recently announced partnerships with AT&T and others, this alliance will provide Microsoft's customers with even more options for private and fast connections to the cloud. Customers will be able to connect their networks with Windows Azure at Equinix exchange locations for greater throughput, availability and security features.
To help U.S. federal, state and local government agencies realize the benefits of public cloud computing, Microsoft is also introducing its Windows Azure US Government Cloud. This will offer U.S. government customers a dedicated community cloud for data, applications and infrastructure, hosted in the continental U.S. and managed by U.S. personnel. Windows Azure has been granted FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board Provisional Authority to Operate, making it the first public cloud of its kind to achieve this level of government authorization.
Microsoft next week will also release a second preview of SQL Server 2014. The new version offers in-memory technologies at no additional cost, promising to give 10 times to 30 times performance improvements without application rewrites or new hardware. SQL Server 2014 also works with Windows Azure to give built-in cloud backup and disaster recovery.
For big data analytics, later this month Microsoft will release Windows Azure HDInsight Service, an Apache Hadoop-based service that works with SQL Server and existing business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel and Power BI for Office 365.
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.
The next major version of the company's CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall '13 will be available later this month. The on-premises version is expected to be available later in the fall for deployment either in-house or hosted by a partner. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 is now available, offering small and midsize businesses interoperability with Office 365, full multitenant support, and a range of tools designed to support large-scale hosting of the application on Windows Azure.