Tomorrow morning I have the privilege of keynoting our annual Hosting Summit conference here in Seattle with over 400 of the world’s most influential hosting service providers.  As I’ve been preparing for that talk, I thought it would also be a good time to share a few thoughts more broadly about the key role hosting partner organizations play in our Server & Tools strategy here at Microsoft.

A disruptive technology shift such as cloud computing typically causes a lot of churn in the marketplace.  There are great economic benefits for customers and plenty of opportunities for vendors who are agile enough to embrace the transition in a thoughtful way.  At Microsoft, this transition sets the underpinnings for our Cloud OS initiative, where customers have the flexibility to deploy their infrastructure and applications in the location that best suits their needs – be it their own datacenter, Windows Azure or in a hosted datacenter – and simply have it all work together.  This simple, but powerful concept has been actively embraced by companies around the world since we debuted it last year.  A couple of great recent examples include Hitachi and Lufthansa.

With over 20,000 partners and a business growing four times faster than our on-premises business, the hosting business, and more specifically the partners who deliver these solutions, are an indispensable part of our strategy in the Server & Tools group.  These organizations are the trusted technology providers to customers of all sizes from around the world.  As such, much of how we’re now designing our products is meant to cater directly to the needs of these partners. 

Other large technology vendors have confused both customers and their distribution channel by either mandating all enterprise computing should be done in their datacenter, or by launching new and untested solutions that may compete with their current partner ecosystem.  At Microsoft we’ve been clear from the start about the importance of these partners and about the valuable services they provide to customers. 

This message has resonated well with our partners as we see more and more service providers standing up infrastructures built on Hyper-V and System Center and decommissioning their environments built on other hypervisors and management tools.  Two recent examples are Global Micro and TeleComputing who each saw significant performance improvements, as well as the dramatic cost savings associated with Hyper-V and System Center, and consequently moved their entire infrastructure over to the Microsoft solution stack.  This means thousands and thousands of VMs from these two organizations migrated and are now running at lower cost and higher performance on Microsoft technology.

There is no doubt that Cloud Computing is a disruptive technology and working through transitions like this is part of why I love being a part of the software industry.  I also firmly believe that Microsoft has a vision for the future that offers the most comprehensive solutions to our customers.  But most importantly, I believe our hosting service provider partners are in a great position to deliver these solutions and really help customers realize the benefits this massive transformation will provide.

For more information, I’d encourage you to go to our website at www.microsoft.com/server to learn more about our latest products and how hosting service providers can deliver the solutions that meet your business needs.

Eugene Saburi
General Manager – Server and Tools Hosting