Hello again. I'm posting this from San Francisco where I'm attending the VMworld 2010 U.S. conference. It may surprise some but Microsoft has been exhibiting at this conference since 2005, talking virtualization with customers and partners who are running Microsoft servers, desktops and applications. During this timeframe we've helped customers consolidate servers, modernize IT and optimize desktops. In some instances, customers chose to migrate away from their previous virtualization technology to Microsoft. 

As you may recall from my previous post, virtualization is no longer the destination. Virtualization clearly plays a role in enabling this move toward more agile IT services by simplifying the deployment and management of desktops and datacenters. It's a stepping stone to the cloud.  Imagine never having to set up a server, update an operating system, or build a database system. That's the promise of cloud computing and the point of our 'open letter' advertisement to VMware customers today. As the advertisement says, "If you liked the efficiencies and cost savings of virtualization, you'll love the cloud."

So at this year's VMworld, we are demoing the cloud solution that Outback Steakhouse created using Windows Azure Platform. Working with a partner, Outback Steakhouse developed and deployed an online marketing campaign in less than eight weeks - the flexibility and scalability of the cloud allowed them to support overwhelming customer response.  The marketing campaign met its goal of 500,000 fans in only 18 days. It's a great example of IT being able to satisfy business and marketing demands with a fast, cost-effective solution.

We will also demo how we're helping customers use the same tools to control and manage Windows Azure-based applications, as they would applications running on Windows Server. Customers can use System Center Operations Manager to monitor the health of applications, whether the apps are on-premises or on Windows Azure, and in return get a complete view of how well all their IT services are running. We showed this demo at Microsoft Management Summit 2010. This solution provides the critical capability to manage your applications regardless of the infrastructure they may run on, whether it be your datacenter or the public cloud with Windows Azure.

Finally, we'll talk about how we're helping customers create private cloud environments for greater collaboration. To help IT manage and account for these environments most effectively, the tools exist today so customers can create highly scalable and flexible IT environments with flexible compute capacity which can be billed back in units.

Your path to cloud computing is real and it's here today.  I'm at VMworld this week and if you are too, please stop by the Microsoft booth and say hi.

Edwin Yuen