Hello from Las Vegas, where we just kicked off the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2010. This year’s theme is Manage the Future: Desktop to Cloud. This theme really reflects where IT systems management is headed right now. During customers conversations the past 6 months, and conversations at MMS so far, there’s a keen interest to understand how the economics, scalability and time to market of cloud services are being applied to desktop and datacenter management. These people want to understand the pros and cons of cloud services, and what we’re doing to ease the transition to cloud services.

We started the event today with a keynote from Bob Muglia, president of the Microsoft Server and Tools Business. Bob’s keynote discussed the transition that is occurring in datacenters as the focus shifts from servers to services, from manually operated to fully automated, all with a choice of models: traditional datacenter, virtualized, private and public clouds.

Bob showed how over the last seven years our investments to make IT more dynamic have resulted in products and a product roadmap that let customers transition to cloud computing on their terms. He also discussed the need to “mind the gap” when organizations look at cloud computing – the gap that exists between traditional on-premises datacenters and public and partner clouds. This is shown through customers concerns about the gap between their existing applications and those designed for the cloud, and about how they secure and manage their services or data across clouds. I believe that with all of Microsoft technologies and solutions, from the operations system, to the development environment, to our application and management capabilities, Microsoft is best equipped to help you bridge that gap.

Bob outlined how the Microsoft assets you have in your IT environment today—one platform, one development approach, one management solution—will be consistent with those in the public cloud. This bridging of the gap between on-premises IT and public clouds is something that only Microsoft can offer. For example, through customers’ upcoming ability to use System Center Operations Manager onsite to monitoring applications deployed within Windows Azure, there is a lot more to IT management than simply moving a VM to the cloud!

Bob also made some exciting product announcements for cloud and datacenter management capabilities, including System Center Virtual Machine Manager V-next, and System Center Operations Manager V-next, both of which are planned to be available in 2011. Check out the demos.

Tomorrow, with my fantastic demo team, I’ll deliver the day 2 keynote. I’ll share the progress we’ve made against the user-centric computing vision that I discussed at MMS 2009. In particular, I’ll demo the next version of System Center Configuration Manager, which will be available in 2011. This release will support new approaches to managing the end-user experience and will unify infrastructures to drive lowering costs while improving control for IT.

I will also discuss the following new products:

  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3, which includes power management capabilities that could reduce your power bills by tens of dollars per PC, per year – a capability we’re already using internally at Microsoft.
  • The RTM versions of System Center Data Protection Manager 2010, System Center Service Manager and the new Compliance Pack for Service Manager—all designed to enable you to manage your complete IT environment in a more cost-effective way.
  • Windows Intune, a new desktop infrastructure solution that delivers security and management from the cloud. This is the evolution of the System Center Online concept I shared at last year’s MMS. Using Windows cloud services and Windows 7, Intune is designed for mid-sized businesses, who want to operate at great performance, from anywhere.

We are exploring the ability to deliver new business and operations models using the technology we have today and the new products in the years to come. We remain committed to delivering customers the tools that will enable them to lower the cost of their operations while delivering a more dynamic IT environment, from the desktop to cloud. I hope you can join the keynote tomorrow or view the recordings of the event online.

Brad