Today we continue our blog series “Learning from Cloud”. If you missed our first post in the series “Learning from cloud: insights to inform your strategy”, we invite you to read it.  In today’s post, we will go into what makes Microsoft’s approach towards datacenter innovation unique in the industry.

We can all agree that it’s an exciting time to be working with innovative technologies, but the agile nature of today’s business environment and the magnitude of frequent changes in technology can complicate the process of choosing what’s right for your business. With countless vendors jumping in to the fray, the noise level is extremely high. In a situation like this, how does one determine the best way to take advantage of cloud and datacenter advancements? Should you move everything to a cloud provider’s datacenter? Should you try to optimize your own datacenter? How do you make sure you don’t get stuck with an inflexible strategy that doesn’t meet the needs of your business tomorrow?

While there is no lack of opinions on the matter, many of the options presented by vendors seem to forget that the there is no “one-size-fits-all” cloud roadmap for every company. While a startup may see tremendous value in setting up all its infrastructure in a cloud provider’s datacenter, a pharmaceutical company may still choose to continue investing in its own datacenters due to regulatory requirements. To complicate matters, the business environment that a company operates in is constantly changing, which means that these roadmaps will need to be adjusted frequently. For example, a change in regulations or a malicious attack could force a company to move all its workloads into its own datacenters. Or a sudden explosion in data may make cloud storage seem a lot more attractive. In such an environment, companies want to partner with a vendor that can provide them solutions that are flexible enough to meet the needs of their business today, and adaptable enough to adjust to the needs of tomorrow. 

Microsoft’s approach to datacenter innovation embodies the need for freedom of choice and adaptability. With System Center 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure, Microsoft provides a unique set of capabilities to help customers provision and manage their infrastructure now, whether it is on-premises, in a Microsoft datacenter, or delivered by a hosting service provider. Our approach also provides options and flexibility to grow as your business matures.

Let’s start with your own datacenter. By adopting Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, you can take advantage of features that are a direct result of Microsoft’s lessons from running over 200 public cloud services –for e.g., storage capabilities that can greatly reduce your storage costs, or software defined-networking capabilities that can help IT be more agile. Not only are these features included in the box at no extra-charge, but they are also built to leverage your existing investments in hardware. Microsoft is unique in its approach here. Public cloud providers like AWS don’t offer solutions to help you optimize your own datacenters. On the other hand, traditional IT vendors like VMware are offering such capabilities as expensive add-ons.

Our commitment to support customers in their transition to the cloud also makes us stand out. Microsoft has unparalleled experience running massive, global public services, which means that you can run your workloads on Microsoft Azure or your local Microsoft service provider with the same confidence that you would in your own datacenter. This experience is something that vendors like VMware cannot claim. Additionally, unlike pure-play public cloud vendors, with Microsoft you can also take advantage of hybrid scenarios, allowing you to supplement your datacenter’s resources when the situation demands it. For example, the ExpressRoute service helps securely extend your company’s network to the cloud, enabling you to build hybrid applications that span your datacenter and Azure’s datacenters. StorSimple offers a hybrid cloud storage option that can optimize your storage costs and data protection.

The point here is not to defend an exclusively on-premises or exclusively public cloud as the best choice for customers, because doing so implies that Microsoft (or any other cloud vendor) knows your businesses and your needs better than you do, which is just not true. It’s also why Microsoft believes in providing you with choice, and letting you decide the path that meets your needs best. Customers around the world are seeing the value of this approach. So while Aston Martin decided to invest in Microsoft’s on-premises solution based on Windows Server and System Center for its own datacenters, Trek chose a public cloud solution based on Windows Azure as its best fit. Yet another customer, Telefónica, has chosen to implement a public-private hybrid solution to meet its unique needs.

We look forward to continuing to share our thoughts in our next blog post. In the meantime, we invite you to explore additional learning opportunities:

Learn more about Transform the Datacenter by visiting our webpage

Registering for episode two of our Hybrid Cloud webinar series