Where Microsoft stands on cloud computing

Forecast for Microsoft? Increasing cloudiness

Microsoft is betting on the cloud to provide the next wave of innovation and opportunities for technologists, business and consumers. But what progress has it made so far?

Microsoft is betting on the cloud to provide the next wave of innovation and opportunities for technologists, businesses and consumers. CEO Steve Ballmer has said that the vendor is “all in” for the cloud, which potentially represents a $3.3 trillion. But where does its cloud computing platform stand today? To gauge Microsoft’s cloud momentum, check out our latest news stories, product reports and user adoption stories.

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Executive commitments

Microsoft emphasizes hybrid cloud at TechEd

As the technology industry moves toward the cloud, users can ease the transition by adopting a hybrid computing model, said Bob Muglia, Microsoft's president of servers and tools. "We're creating the precursors for the cloud. Today there is a lot of work you're doing inside your environment that could be delivered as a service.”

Microsoft exec: We and users win with cloud

Microsoft is firmly on the cloud-computing bandwagon and with good reason -- it can make more money by doing so, even as it helps customers cut costs, said business division head Stephen Elop. Microsoft is not only selling applications via the cloud, but raw computing power and a development platform with its Azure service. "We're going after more of the pot."

Microsoft's Ballmer: 'For the cloud, we're all in'

Microsoft has 40,000 people employed building software around the globe, and about 70% of those folks are doing something for the cloud, Steve Ballmer said during a March address at the University of Washington.

Microsoft ‘all in’ the cloud, customers not as much

While the benefits of cloud computing are demonstrable -- lower costs, greater flexibility, scalability and the like -- not all software applications are suitable for being delivered in the cloud and it will take a while for cloud computing to become mainstream, said Tim O'Brien, senior director of the Platform Strategy Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Muglia: Cloud revenue to hit in a couple years

Microsoft plans to invest heavily in its cloud platform, but expects to see little revenue for two to three years, as businesses to resume spending on client and server software. “[The cloud] is not what will drive financial growth in server and tools. It is essentially zero percent of our current operating revenue."

Product progress

Microsoft: Features still missing in Azure

Due to an early emphasis on getting the right architecture for its Azure cloud platform, which went live in February, Microsoft's cloud service is still missing key features that are available in the company's standalone products, said Microsoft executives at the company's 2010 Tech Ed conference.

Microsoft's cloud-based Exchange, SharePoint still stuck in 2007

Microsoft has begun upgrading cloud-based Exchange and SharePoint services to its 2010 offerings, but the migration is expected to last all year and many customers may see only a "preview" version of the technology in 2010. Exchange 2010 shipped last November, and SharePoint 2010 was released in May of this year, but the cloud-based versions of Exchange and SharePoint are still running on the 2007 versions.

Microsoft weaves management technology into cloud vision

Microsoft's plans for cloud computing don't stop with infrastructure and applications. Company executives say Microsoft will also provide the heterogeneous management layer that customers will need to optimize application performance on-premises or in hosted environments. 

Microsoft's 2010 task: Make the cloud clear

For Microsoft, 2010 is a platform building and marketing year with no less than the future success of its cloud strategy hanging in the balance, according to observers. Experts say Microsoft's charge is not only to begin developing and delivering technology that will define its external, internal and hybrid cloud environments, but also to clearly articulate to an overwhelming majority of corporate IT pros just how and why they want to live in a cloud.

Microsoft rolls out cloud for U.S. federal users

Microsoft announced a suite of hosted cloud services that will be delivered from a facility dedicated to U.S. federal government users. The services available include Exchange, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications.

Microsoft buys Opalis to strengthen cloud management capabilities

Moving to strengthen its management tools related to virtual environments, Microsoft purchased IT process automation vendor Opalis for an undisclosed sum. 

Microsoft creates new server and cloud division

Microsoft in December created a new division designed to brings its cloud and on-premises software development together and provide a consistent platform for corporate customers. The Server and Cloud Division (SCD) will be part of the Server and Tools business unit and is a combination of the Windows Server and solutions group and the Windows Azure group. 

Customer adoption

Microsoft wins 18,000-seat cloud contract with University of Arizona

Score one for Microsoft in the cloud. The University of Arizona is moving 18,000 faculty and staff members to Microsoft’s online e-mail and collaboration system.

Microsoft cloud service deployed by Kentucky schools

The Kentucky Department of Education is replacing its e-mail servers with a free cloud-based offering from Microsoft, one that will supply 700,000 students, faculty and staff with e-mail and other information-sharing tools. By going with a free, cloud-based offering, the state expects to save $6.3 million in IT-related costs over the next four years.

City of Carlsbad connects to the cloud

The city of Carlsbad, Calif., recently signed on for Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite, a cloud-based service in which Microsoft hosts the city's e-mail and collaboration services, including SharePoint, Live Meeting and instant messaging.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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