A Real Cloud OS for the Enterprise Cloud Era

A Real Cloud OS for the Enterprise Cloud Era

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Over the last few years I’ve had, in one meeting or another, countless discussions with my teams and colleagues about the size, shape, and impact of the Cloud.  If you’ve been to a Microsoft event like TechEd or MMS, you’ve heard us talk about the Cloud OS and the promises we feel the Cloud OS delivers. 

What can get lost in so much of the discussion, however, is a simple question:  What is the Cloud OS?

This calls to mind an important point made by Server & Tools President, Satya Nadella, at last year’s TechEd Conference.  He noted:

“At the most basic level, any operating system has two “jobs”: it needs to manage the underlying hardware, and it needs to provide a platform for applications. The fundamental role of an operating system has not changed, but the scale at which servers are deployed and the type of applications now available or in development are changing massively.”

This is a critical concept we focus on as we build the tools for private/public/hybrid clouds, and lead the charge to create a new cloud operating system for a new cloud-based era of business.

The Cloud OS has three key pieces that address the operating system “jobs” that Satya noted:  Windows Server 2012 (a cloud-optimized server OS that can support workloads of any size), System Center 2012 (for ops, management, and governance of the datacenter), and Windows Azure (for application development, deployment, and administration).

We deeply understand that customers do not want to feel locked in to any specific cloud, and this is why our promise of consistency across Clouds is such a critical factor for everyone to understand.  Windows Server is the foundation of what we deliver for building Private Clouds, Clouds hosted by Service Providers around the world, and it is also the foundation of Windows Azure. 

When you deploy the Microsoft Cloud OS, you have the flexibility to choose which cloud is best for your business and for the specific application.  There’s no lock-in; you make the choice about what’s best for you.  This promise makes us truly unique in the industry. 

Another thing that sets us apart is the fact that we are the only organization in the world that is taking all the knowledge gained from operating our own massive public cloud, and then packing those learnings for use in enterprise and service provider datacenters.  To further support our community, in January we released, as a free download, Windows Azure Services for Windows Server.  This download is software that we initially developed for use in Windows Azure for scenarios like high-density web hosting.  This is a great example of how we are able to prove and exhaustively test capabilities like this in Azure at a massive scale and then release it for use on Windows Server.  Our on-premises products continually get better from the innovative work we do in Azure.  I think that is pretty cool!

This is a simply amazing advancement in how we think about and execute IT Management.

Microsoft’s ability to provide the Cloud OS is the result of having genuinely battle-tested this software throughout our 16 major data centers around the globe – where we manage hundreds of petabytes and hundreds of distinct workloads.  To really grasp what a major leap forward this is, it helps to stop thinking about IT deployments in terms of the individual servers, and instead think about an OS that runs a datacenter.  This operating system is what provides the intelligence, automation, and orchestration necessary to manage workloads that are increasingly large, complex, and diverse.

As you work to modernize your own data center, keep in mind the “four promises” of the Cloud OS:

  1. You can transform your datacenter by thinking above and beyond servers and nodes, and instead focus on managing datacenters and clouds in a comprehensive, scalable, and elastic environment.
  2. This scalability and elasticity enables modern apps to be rapidly developed, functional across devices, and manageable in multiple environments.  This means a dynamic, new approach to application lifecycle management, app availability, and IT productivity.
  3. Unlock insights on any data thanks to lower storage costs, ever-increasing volumes of available data, cloud-based processing power, and the simple and easy BI solutions currently available from Microsoft.
  4. Enable your workforce to be productive anywhere on any device by empowering people-centric IT – and manage these devices and their apps from a single pane of glass.

These are big promises – and they are promises I believe Microsoft is uniquely able to deliver.  In future posts, I’ll continue to talk a lot more about these promises and how we are doing to deliver on them for you.

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  • It is great post. But I have a thing which can' t understand. It is about "There’s no lock-in".  I'd like to know what you mean by this. Microsoft mainly supports Windows operating system. But I knew Windows azure supports Linux OS. Did you write it because of this or have anything to mean?

  • When I mention the “no cloud lock-in,” I am thinking of our customers being able to deploy their workload/app to the cloud of their choice and to the cloud that makes the most sense for their business.  That cloud could be their own cloud running in their datacenter, it could be a trusted service provider, or it could be a public cloud.  

    Customers may chose different clouds for different workloads for reasons such as costs, security and compliance requirements, and sovereignty requirements (the list continues).  Others cloud providers in the industry either do not offer solutions for private, hosted and public clouds – or they have published APIs that, when used, lock the customer to that cloud.  We are building our capabilities into Windows Server.

    Windows Server is the foundation of our private, hosted and public clouds.  We are also bringing the innovations we are rapidly making in Azure to Windows Server for use in any datacenter where a customer wants to deploy Windows Server.  In the future, the litmus test should be:  “Can I write an application and deploy it in a public cloud, and then move the application to my private cloud and vice versa?”  The app should run without modification and the operations experience should be consistent.  

    Regarding your second question about Linux:  

    Linux is richly supported on our Cloud OS – both in the public cloud and a Microsoft Cloud deployed in your data centers, or in that of a service provider.  We always hope we deliver the value and capabilities in Windows that make it the OS of choice for developers around the world, and we will work hard and continue to innovate to earn that, but we also understand that Windows will not be the only operating system used to host applications and we want to make sure Linux is a great guest on our host.  There are lots of customers hosting Linux both in Hyper-V and in Azure.  

  • One word: Awesome!

    I have one question related to careers. what should I focus on in order to empower my IT career as a cloud expert?

    and I don't mean certifications track, I mean the stuff I need to know if I want to talk to my boss or a client about the Cloud OS or Cloud Computing in general. I am very confused when it comes to that, I know the System Center suite and the Windows Server but I not clear how can I put all this together for the Cloud.

    Hope I'm clear with my question. Thanks.

    Great Blog.

  • One word: Awesome!

    I have one question related to careers. what should I focus on in order to empower my IT career as a cloud expert?

    and I don't mean certifications track, I mean the stuff I need to know if I want to talk to my boss or a client about the Cloud OS or Cloud Computing in general. I am very confused when it comes to that, I know the System Center suite and the Windows Server but I not clear how can I put all this together for the Cloud.

    Hope I'm clear with my question. Thanks.

    Great Blog.

    (I had to re-post the question after signing in)