The position of Microsoft in the modern landscape has been unsure that some time. The software giant has been the largest seller of computer software for many years, and its position is not likely to be threatened in the immediate future. However, in a world in which the cloud is to some degree forcing Microsoft’s traditional business model to evolve – based as it is around providing software for users with their own expensive hardware – it is clear that the corporation needs to adapt in order to retain its prominent status.
With this in mind, Microsoft recently appointed a new CEO that very much reflected the changing times for the company. Satya Nadella, an Indian by birth, was drafted in a move which indicated the importance of the newly developing economies, particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as a new cloud-based focus. Nadella instantly spoke of the coming years being a challenging period for Microsoft, and one of transition.
In accordance with this basic theme, Microsoft has recently announced that it will be putting a huge amount of resources into the hybrid cloud. Just last week, the software producer unveiled an on-premises system that syncs up with Azure public cloud services. This new Azure cloud-in-a-box offering will apparently be powered by the same software that currently operates the Microsoft Azure public cloud.
Microsoft originally launched this new application during a press event held in San Francisco. The importance of this was clear, as it was attended by Nadella, and also Scott Guthrie, the company’s executive vice president for its cloud and enterprise group.
While Microsoft is making plans for the future, many businesses continue to bide their time with regard to the cloud. Companies are typically not rushing to move all of their resources and operations to the public cloud, and the CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovich, stated after the San Francisco event that many companies possess legacy infrastructure and sensitive information that they may wish to keep on their own premises for security purposes.
Additionally, moving operations to the public cloud immediately can pose logistical difficulties for businesses. This can be particularly complex for SMEs, who have the issue of maintaining their day-to-day operations, while also modernising their internal systems and networks to include cloud functionality. It certainly seems that Microsoft Azure is at least partially motivated by the intention of making this process as easy as possible, with Microsoft CPS enabling users to continue to operate their on-premises cloud with the same management tools as the Azure public cloud.
Analysts which have looked at Microsoft’s desire to offer CBS as an on-premises component to the hybrid cloud consider it to be a significant move by the software giant. In particular, it is proposed that this will be particularly beneficial for organisations that want a consistent management platform between their existing setup and the public cloud. Effectively, Microsoft is guiding companies on the most effective and efficient way to implement the Azure public cloud functionality.
With Microsoft setting the cloud agenda, and very much focusing on the benefits of the hybrid cloud, there will be an onus on the likes of Amazon and Google to respond to this business strategy. Previously, Google has placed a significant emphasis on the public cloud, while Amazon has been the industry leader, but will increasingly find this position coming under threat. It was only this week that Amazon announced that it had made another significant financial loss, so this is a critical period for the retail giant in many ways. Amazon has recently spoken positively about hybrid cloud connectivity.
Meanwhile, Nadella has stated that Microsoft is investing no less than $4.5 billion in capital expenditures to build up its cloud on an annual basis. It is quite clear that Microsoft sees its future in participating in this medium, and also that the hybrid cloud is essential to its philosophy and policy. In accordance with this, Nadella also claims that 80 percent of Fortune 500 businesses use Microsoft’s cloud in some capacity, and it is clear that the capital expenditure Microsoft is investing is intended to enhance its growing reputation in this field.
In addition to its existing portfolio of hybrid club features, Microsoft is also launching a new marketplace of partners and services that run on top of Azure. At the San Francisco event, the corporation was particularly keen to highlight Cloudera, which offers a Hadoop big data processing tool in addition to the basic functionality delivered by Azure.
Nadella was also keen to emphasise the high-profile enterprise customers which are currently using Azure hybrid cloud. Names such as AccuWeather, NBC and Heineken were mentioned, while it was also stated that Microsoft is intending to build up its public cloud portfolio in the near future as well.
Microsoft has already been the major player in computer software, and its backing for the hybrid cloud will be a big deal for the technology.