Microsoft increases the pace of their cloud offerings

Microsoft have realised for a while that they cannot be left behind by the cloud and have put a lot of efforts into areas such as Azure. Today they went further with the announcing of Aurora and further updates on other projects.

Steve Ballmer came out and said that partners shouldn't find this and enable their customers to move to the cloud. He is absolutely right here as Google Apps becomes increasingly viable to many firms.

Aurora is a version of Microsoft Small Business Server which allows services such as Exchange and Sharepoint to be run in the cloud. This makes a lot of sense as running a mail server or Sharepoint server is a lot of work and causes the most problems. Essentially Aurora will just be an Active Directory logon server with local storage which appears to be backed up in the cloud, and this provides authentication onto Microsoft hosted servers. I believe that in 5 years about 30-40% of organisations run their mail in the cloud and in 10 years it will be about 90%. Mail has become a commodity and there really is no need for most organisations to do it themselves any more.

Next on the list of items today was a second beta of InTune. InTune basically provides a management server for the PCs in your SME organisation. Again this is a pain point for this size organisation so it is a brilliant idea. Not so brilliant is that it only supports Windows 7, but hopefully this is a temporary limitation.

Microsoft have also announced other vendors such as HP, Dell, Fujitsu hosting Azure servers and the ability for firms to create their own private clouds (but not Azure). Personally I think there is more strength in Microsoft doing it themselves but this gives them quick reach and enables partners to build clouds such as for the government or tied to geographies that Microsoft may not otherwise cover.

To reflect all of this I have also updated my State of the Cloud page at Next Gen IT website.

It's good to see that Microsoft haven't lost focus with the cloud and my personal opinion is that they have timed it about right to make a run.


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