Microsoft is beating the cloud-computing drum at its Tech-Ed North America conference and pointing to strong examples of companies using its cloud and development platforms. Industry analysts said Microsoft has one of the better cloud stories to tell at the Atlanta meeting.
Microsoft Vice Presidents Robert Wahbe and Jason Zander delivered a keynote address that highlighted the success HSBC and Travelocity have had using Microsoft's virtualization and public and private cloud solutions to slash costs and hasten innovation. Microsoft also announced that NetApp and Cisco Systems have come aboard as partners in the Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program, which works to streamline private cloud delivery.
"Microsoft clearly recognizes that the cloud is the near-term future. That's the buzzword that's carrying the industry. Tech-Ed is where they get the developers focused on where the company is going," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "So it's no surprise that the rhetoric is tying the different elements together in a way that would get developers and IT folks focused on that future and recognizing that Microsoft is a player and consider them in the process."
The HSBC story goes like this: The worldwide financial services firm needs to allow for shifts in demand for internal systems while also simplifying infrastructure management. HSBC announced it will use Microsoft Hyper-V in combination with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager to support a virtual desktop infrastructure and help reduce the cost of desktop management.
Travelocity, meanwhile, explained how it used Windows Azure, Microsoft's public cloud solution, to deploy its Java-based analytics system in just two months.
As Enderle sees it, Microsoft is being consistent with other vendors by pushing the cloud at its tech conferences. It's a move to make sure the software giant remains consistent and relevant to the market. What's more, he added, Azure has been well received. "Microsoft has one of the better cloud stories on this cycle," Enderle said. "Now it's just a question of making sure they get the word out, which is, I guess, what they are trying to do here."
The Next Step
In the Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program, NetApp has teamed with Cisco to develop a private cloud solution, the NetApp Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track with Cisco data-center architecture.
"By creating a solution with Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track, NetApp with Cisco is simplifying private cloud deployment and operations," said Phil Brotherton, vice president and general manager of the Microsoft Business Unit at NetApp. "Customers will be able to reduce deployment time from days to hours, and they will gain greater utilization."
Finally, Zander announced what he called a key pillar of the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio: Application Lifecycle Management technologies. ALM aims to help organizations ease application development and management. Zander described how Microsoft's ALM offering builds on previous Visual Studio releases, working to help improve the flow of information between key stakeholders involved in planning, building and managing applications.
Zander also demonstrated a connector that links Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 to improve the interaction between the development and operations teams. The connector enables an operations team to send application performance monitoring and diagnostic information immediately to the engineering team.