Remember those "private cloud in a box" Windows Azure appliances that Microsoft announced a year ago? There's finally a ship date slated for the first of them.
Fujitsu, one of three OEMs that announced initial support for the Azure Appliance concept, is going to deliver its first Azure Appliance in August 2011, Fujitsu and Microsoft announced on June 7. Fujitsu's offering is known as the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform, FGCP/A5, and will be running in Fujitsu's datacenter in Japan. Fujitsu has been running a trial of the service since April 21, 2011, with 20 companies, according to the press release.
Microsoft officials had no further updates on the whereabouts of appliances from Dell or Hewlett-Packard. Originally, Microsoft told customers to expect Azure Appliances to be in production and available for sale by the end of 2010.
Windows Azure Appliances, as initially described, were designed to be preconfigured containers with between hundreds and thousands of servers running the Windows Azure platform. These containers will be housed, at first, at Dell’s, HP’s and Fujitsu’s datacenters, with Microsoft providing the Azure infrastructure and services for these containers.
In the longer term, Microsoft officials said they expected some large enterprises, like eBay, to house the containers in their own datacenters on site — in other words, to run their own “customer-hosted clouds.” Over time, smaller service providers also will be authorized to make Azure Appliances available to their customers, as well, Microsoft officials have said in previous interviews.
Fujitsu's goal with the new Azure-based offering is to sign up 400 enterprise companies, plus 5,000 small/medium enterprise customers and ISVs, in the five-year period following launch, today's press release says.