Microsoft is banking on Windows Server 2012 to drive uptake of its Hyper-V hypervisor product and expand its virtualisation footprint in Australia, according to Microsoft server and tools business head Philip Goldie.
Goldie was speaking at the Australian Windows Server 2012 launch at Microsoft TechEd 2012 in the Gold Coast, Queensland.
Two decades ago, Windows NT Server was released. Since then, Microsoft has become the dominant player in the server OS space.
"In that time, we have pretty much gone from zero in a standing start to now 75 percent of x86 servers in Australia running Windows Server OS in some variation of release," Goldie said.
He noted that one new Windows server is deployed in the country every five minutes.
On September 4, 2012, Microsoft made the final release-to-manufacturing version of Windows Server 2012, previously known as Windows Server 8, available to customers. The vendor has added roughly 300 new features in Server 2012.
Windows Server 2012 will be key for customers using a range of technologies from Microsoft, including SharePoint, Exchange, SQL servers, and the vendor's hypervisor-based virtualisation system, Hyper-V.
The vendor has been targeting the virtualisation market. VMware is currently the top dog in this space, but Microsoft is making decent headway.
"In Australia, we gained nine points of share in the hypervisor market in the last calendar year," Goldie said. "So VMware currently sits at about 50 percent, and Microsoft Hyper-V is now 25 percent share in the local market.
"That's pretty impressive in terms of customer adoption and the belief the customers are starting to have in the quality of Hyper-V — and that was even before the general availability of Windows Server 2012."
Microsoft expects further growth in the hypervisor market after the release of Windows Server 2012.
Hyper-V was first shipped as a beta product with Windows Server 2008, with the final version released in mid-2008. It is currently available as a standalone product.
Windows Server 2012 includes the new release of Hyper-V, with a swathe of new features, including Cloud backup, as well as expanding support for host processors and memory.
What's in it for SMBs?
The majority of businesses in Australia are small and medium sized (SMBs), which include "mum-and-dad operations" in a home office.
How Microsoft caters to this market segment will undeniably weigh on the adoption of Windows Server 2012 in Australia.
Smaller businesses are starting to move a lot of their services, such as emails and ISV applications, which may all have been stored in a single on-premise server, into the Cloud. This is where Microsoft saw an entry point.
"Small businesses may have a bunch of stuff on that server, and a lot of those services are moving to the cloud, to datacentres of services providers, etc.," Goldie said. "One of the new features in the essentials version of Windows Server 2012 is to be aware of those cloud services.
"One of the value propositions is that servers now, if you want to, can do a lot less because you can move a lot of those services up to servers and you can have a product that is aware of how to connect there."
But Windows Server 2012 will be more beneficial for smaller service providers that look after SMBs. These service providers can currently white label cloud services from larger providers, and can use the new Windows Server to offer services such as Hyper-V replication to their SMB customers.
"Agility for our service provider partners is a lot better," Goldie said. "They don't have to worry about the infrastructure to run that service for their customers; they can just be the trusted adviser they have always been."
Spandas Lui travelled to TechEd as a guest of Microsoft.