Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

Summary: Will Microsoft allow enterprises to do on-premise hosting based on its cloud computing Azure platform? The latest -- and perhaps final -- answer is no.

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Will Microsoft allow enterprises to do on-premise hosting based on its cloud computing Azure platform? The latest -- and perhaps final -- answer is no.

Since Microsoft first rolled out its Azure cloud platform last fall, I've seen conflicting reports about whether or not the Redmondians will provide business users with some way to do private/on-premise cloud computing via Azure (i.e., host the Azure operating system and/or Azure services themselves in their own datacenters, instead of in Microsoft's Quincy, Wash., and/or San Antonio, Texas, ones).

But based on a related e-mail exchange I had recently with Julius Sinkevicius, Director of Product Management for Windows Server, however, I believe Microsoft has no intentions of allowing users to create private, Azure-based clouds. I was asking Sinkevicius for some clarification around Microsoft's recent announcement with Cisco, via which Cisco will offer Windows Server and Hyper-V to Cisco customers who purchase its recently unveiled Unified Computing System blade servers.

Here are a couple of the relevant Q's and A's between  Sinkevicius and me.

MJF: Did Cisco ask Microsoft about licensing Azure? Will Microsoft license all of the components of Azure to any other company?

Sinkevicius: No, Microsoft is not offering Windows Azure for on premise deployment. Windows Azure runs only in Microsoft datacenters. Enterprise customers who wish to deploy a highly scalable and flexible OS in their datacenter should leverage Hyper-V and license Windows Server Datacenter Edition, which has unlimited virtualization rights, and System Center for management.

MJF: What does Microsoft see as the difference between Red Dog (Windows Azure) and the OS stack that Cisco announced?

Sinkevicius: Windows Azure is Microsoft's runtime designed specifically for the Microsoft datacenter. Windows Azure is designed for new applications and allows ISVs and Enterprises to get geo-scale without geo-cost.  The OS stack that Cisco announced is for customers who wish to deploy on-premise servers, and thus leverages Windows Server Datacenter and System Center.

The source of the on-premise Azure hosting confusion appears to be this: All apps developed for Azure will be able to run on Windows Server, according to the Softies. However -- at present -- the inverse is not true: Existing Windows Server apps ultimately may be able to run on Azure. For now only some can do so, and only with a fairly substantial amount of tweaking.

Microsoft's cloud pitch to enterprises who are skittish about putting their data in the Microsoft basket isn't "We'll let you host your own data using our cloud platform." Instead, it's more like: "You can take some/all of your data out of our datacenters and run it on-premise if/when you want -- and you can do the reverse and put some/all of your data in our cloud if you so desire."

Will Microsoft's data-portability promise be enough to get nervous enterprise users to give Microsoft's Azure platform a chance?

Topics: Servers, Cisco, Data Centers, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Storage, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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7 comments
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  • That ends any chance it ever had, way to go MS.

    They must take their time to make certain they have their foot in their sights before pulling the trigger...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Sorta wonder what was going through your head

    when you came up with these questions.

    <b>Did Cisco ask Microsoft about licensing Azure? Will Microsoft license all of the components of Azure to any other company?</b>

    They are trying to get into the SaaS space, this is typically (almost always) a hosted on-line service. Other examples include: <a href=http://www.salesforce.com/>SalesForce</a>, <a href=http://nohold.com/>NoHold</a>, <a href=http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html>Google Apps for business</a> and <a href=http://aws.amazon.com/>Amazon Web Services</a>. These are all hosted services that are used by several companies to offload the problems of infrastructure and staffing (both are cost centers).

    <b>What does Microsoft see as the difference between Red Dog (Windows Azure) and the OS stack that Cisco announced?</b>

    What were you thinking when you asked this question? Cisco is selling a consolidated (blade based) data center solution. The company that purchases this solution has to staff and manage the physical and virtual infrastructure. The Microsoft offering is managed and off site. It is basically a managed service provider like Verizon Business, this meaning that they monitor and manage your infrastructure and only alert you if there is something that is above their service contract (out of contract scope).
    B.O.F.H.
  • RE: Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

    I think you obviously are missing the point of Azure by your article here. Enterprises already have the ability to host their own apps. Azure is MS's way of hosting enterprise apps for those who can't/won't host their own. Who would want to license Azure? Duh!!
    thebeefman
    • Who would want to license Azure?

      Enterprises are fully capable of hosting thier own applications. But the ability to dynamically re-configure the VM's and datacenter in real time, as well as the failover and redundancy capabilities are enticing.

      Yes, they could build it themselves. But any organization of sufficient size that has seen the costs associated with delivering the kind of functionally Azure promises would be interested.

      Am I disappointed they're not making it available? Heck yeah.

      Will it be a killer for Azure? maybe, but I don't believe so.

      Will we never see Azure on-premise? I don't know. I can see a day when you can purchase pre-configured Azure server cabinets that can be installed in your datacenter.
      bstineman
      • RE: Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

        "Will we never see Azure on-premise". Looks like your question has been answered. MS will offer on-premise support but is only currently doing a 'limited production release" - http://ddkonline.blogspot.com/2010/08/microsoft-windows-azure-platform-will.html
        ddkonline
  • RE: Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

    if they are planning to move their on-premise and azure software stack closer and closer to each other, perhaps it is not necessary. as long as they make sure that in the future we can build applications that will ron both on premise as in the cloud without big modifications
    leeprovoost
  • RE: Microsoft: No on-premise Azure hosting for business users

    So Microsoft only was able to announce and name their cloud computing Azure product after settling a lawsuit and licensing with VCSy on the patent infringed upon. Now that Stevie B can't or won't give in and licence the VCSy XML Enabler patent, it looks as if Azure is just a shell of what it could be. What's th matter Stevie B?
    hion