Microsoft's plan to bridge its infrastructure and platform cloud services is unfolding

Microsoft is bringing more of its Azure PaaS capabilities to its IaaS customers this year. First up: Support for larger VM Scale Sets and Managed Disks.

Two years ago, Microsoft officials began talking up the company's plan to bring a bunch of Azure platform-as-a-service capabilities to the infrastructure-as-a-service side of the Microsoft Azure cloud.

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In March 2016, Microsoft rolled out one piece of this strategy via its delivery of Virtual Machine Scale Sets. Virtual Machine Scale Sets allow users to create thousands of identical virtual machines so as to be able to scale big compute and big data applications quickly.

Microsoft's motto for Virtual Machine Scale Sets: "Control it like IaaS, scale it like PaaS."

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Last week, Microsoft added a couple more pieces to its "PaaS bridge on its IaaS VMs" strategy with the announcement of support for larger Virtual Machine Scale Sets. Officials also announced general availability of Managed Disks, which bring PaaS-like storage management to those running Azure VMs.

These services are just the start of Microsoft's plans to "bring the agility of PaaS to the comfort of IaaS."

Next of the list of Azure PaaS technologies that Microsoft will make available to Azure users with Windows and Linux VMs: OS patching support, application lifecycle integration, application health monitoring and load-balancer app-health integration. Officials said last week these capabilities would be coming "later this year."

Although Microsoft initially launched Azure as a PaaS offering, focused on bringing developed-from-scratch apps to the cloud, the company later added an IaaS capability to its platform to try to increase its appeal. Thanks to IaaS, users could take their existing Windows Server and Linux apps and run them in VMs on Azure.

Last year, Microsoft officials said nearly one of every three VMs on Azure was running Linux.

Microsoft wants AI to help, not replace humans:

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