Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

Summary: Microsoft is readying new server and management products to help the company shore up its private-to-public cloud-migration story.


Microsoft is close to announcing some new migration tools and strategies designed to help customers to move from the private cloud to the public cloud.

Company officials have been hinting for months that changes around Active Directory were on tap. On November 15, Robert Youngjohns, President of Microsoft North America Sales, made it even clearer that something big is in the works during his recent appearance at the UBS Global Technology & Services Conference. From a transcript of Youngjohns remarks:

"I think our emerging strategy on how we migrate from private cloud to public cloud is the thing you should watch over the coming weeks and months.

"Satya Nadella, who is the president of the Server and Tools Business, is making some pretty fundamental changes there. He's announced his direction on that. But I think the full roadmap will come out over the coming weeks. And I think that's an exciting move.

"So, going head-to-head on who has the better piece of virtualization software is probably not the winning play here. The winning play here is to focus on systems management, and to focus on how you bridge from private cloud into public cloud going forward.  And I think we're well placed on those."

On the management front, Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on the 10 or so different systems management products that comprise the System Center 2012 suite. Microsoft is looking to launch the entire suite in March April 2012 at the Microsoft Management Summit, I'm hearing.

One of the new System Center 2012 point products is System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012. SCVMM is the "private cloud" piece of Microsoft's server application virtualization story. Microsoft officials also reconfirmed earlier this year that the company is planning to add VM role functionality to its public-cloud platform, Windows Azure.

Server App-V technology is of potential interest to both private- and public-cloud customers because it could help in moving legacy applications into the cloud. Server application virtualization would be like Microsoft’s existing client-side App-V product; it would allow customers to package applications into virtual containers, each of which would be storable and maintainable as a self-contained stateless environment.

There also could be a component of Microsoft's coming private-to-public cloud migration plans that involves work the Server and Tools unit is doing around identity and access synchronization. A Microsoft job description mentions new "synchronization services" that the company is building to move more customers of all sizes to Microsoft-hosted public-cloud services like Office 365 and Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. From that recent post:

"We are building synchronization services that can easily scale from very small customers buying services for a few hundred employees, to world-wide enterprises and governments with millions of accounts. This service will provide seamless account migration, and ongoing synchronization for customers that wish to continue operating some services locally, while taking advantage of the Microsoft service offerings in the cloud."

In the longer term, Microsoft is making changes to Active Directory in Windows Server 8. As Nadella noted in an October 21 interview with LeJournalduNet, Microsoft is aiming to make Windows Server a better foundational piece for private cloud datacenters. From that interview (English translation), Nadella said:

"(Active Directory) is a standard deployed by almost all companies to manage rights and policies for access to the information system. We are changing this brick to reflect the Cloud. This is to allow companies to manage through this policy and access rights, both on the perimeter of the internal information system, but also on the Cloud both public and private sectors."

Microsoft's goal is to manage all access, privilege management and security policies from a single directory, Nadella said. Users can do this already with Active Directory and the integrated identity management functionality in Office 365, Nadella told LeJournalduNet.

Nadella also hinted that some of the coming functionality in Windows Server 8 may allow customers to run their own public clouds in their own datacenters. (I'm wondering if this strategy is meant to replace Microsoft's Windows Azure Appliance offering which is still largely missing in action -- except for Fujitsu's implementation.) In the LeJournalduNet interview, Nadella said:

"With Windows Server 8, we will provide all the capabilities of Windows Azure to allow an operator or a company to deploy its own public cloud. Example, you can get the latest enhancements we have made ​​in the management of Hyper-V instances, particularly in terms of resource consumption processors. But also through the virtualization management plans for disaster recovery activities, and access to opportunities for network virtualization that are fundamental in the management operations of a data center."

Here's to hoping Microsoft will start talking roadmaps again around its public-cloud platform. It's been more than a year since the Softies shared the company's latest planned feature list for Azure....

Topics: Servers, CXO, Virtualization, Storage, Software, Operating Systems, Microsoft, Hardware, Enterprise Software, Cloud, Windows


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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    But will it let me play Monkey Island in the cloud?
    x I'm tc
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    Super - all the government information will be on MSs' cloud
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      @sfeder - couldn't agree more. Given the issues of ......... it isn't surprising really. Is this good or bad?
      That depends on how evolved your value system is. [Clare Graves - Spiral Dynamics]
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    Lets see, we went from the mainframe and dumb terminals (IBM), to distributed interactive system (DEC), to a huge jump in personal computing (Microsoft with the innovative push and help of Apple).<br>Now Microsoft is leading us back to the Mainframe architecture with the dumb terminal and computing in the cloud!?<br>If the North East major power Outages and subsequent Comcast Internet, Phone and CATV outages that lagged the power company recovering for over 4 days for many doesnt give great pause to prudent CEOs and consumers, then how about the archaic idea of the media industry intending to stream HD everything over the way to inadequate backbone (in the US especially) . Not only is the cloud woefully dependent on the pipe that connects it but how secure is it when the most secret government agencies have been hacked using some of the most prominent Clouds.<br>No, more power to portable PCs (all platforms) and the hopefully soon to be productivity designed /oriented Tablets (as soon as the rest of the world stops trying to imitate the iPad (which has never been focused on productivity but is a star for wow, entertainment and mostly read watch activities). Ill continue to think of the cloud as convenience (never mission critical) with the reliability and security of Wireless and cellular technology.
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      @ePractical <br>Right on. While I teach my students about the Cloud, I also teach them to never rely upon it for critical and sensititive material. I teach making sure you have a real backup on a real personal computer.
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      I don't understand how having data on your own PC will help you in the event of a power failure. Should everyone keep their data on paper unless they have their own generators? What about hard drive failure or fire damage -- are the majority of personal computer users protected there?

      I also don't see personal PCs as anything close to a secure data storage location, if they have an internet connection. Besides the pervasive data theft that we hear about daily, people are constantly sending personal data via unsecure email, or downloading un-hardened apps and giving them full access to their PCs.

      Nit-picking the cloud is easy... you can nit-pick anything. Let's stop complaining and start answering the questions about reliability, security and permanence.
      • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

        Right on!! Of all the security incidents I have had, the number one is stolen laptops, including their data. Despite all warnings: all employees dumb enough to have their laptops stolen were also dumb enough to carry data they should not carry.
        I did not know that so many IT professionals are still staring at their belly-button. Already 2006 we were asking MS to open up Active Directory for what we called Internet Computing (aka Cloud Computing). We had so many external partners, suppliers and outsourced business processes that the "private cloud" was hopelessly restricting and insufficient and was hampering operations as well as our mergers and acquisition process. Now, well 2012, MS finally announces major progress in this area. It took them 6 years to finally read and understand the needs of international operating companies.
        Pull your heads out of the sand guys! Look forward at what the cloud can offer you and don't secure your companies out of business!
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      @ePractical Except, the dumb terminals aren't so dumb this time. For example App-V uses a local cache and local processing power. This model is likely where they are heading. It provides connected/disconnected scenarios and ensures that local computers with operating systems and software continue to add value.
      • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

        @Skippy99 I agree. Cloud apps need to go this route, simply because this scenario provides the best of both worlds. It also enables software providers to provide highly custom based apps for their clients, it enables integration in the cloud and at the app level, and above all it provides connected apps and devices while not loosing anything in terms of user experience (I am sorry but HTML 5 falls down here over native apps that can leverage hardware in many ways, including isolated storage), and flexibility to the client...

        People keep thinking the cloud is to replace the PC or the internal network, to move back towards dumb terminal type scenarios (maybe Google wants this but MSoft doesnt see it that way). To be blunt, the cloud enables the PC to be extended and provide the ability of having highly connected devices and experiences.
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    No thank you MS I'll just keep my feet planted right here on my Tera-forma ;-)
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    Microsoft's offerings don't need to be perfect in order for them to be profitable, and gain market share.
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    Don't know that "the cloud" is a reasonable solution for the bottom 50%+ of the American people...get rid of the PC, put all your data on "the cloud", can't pay the cloud storage/access bill for some reason, and...b-bye digital [i]you[/i]. And b-bye to your favorite PC-related diversions, too - playing games, watching movies, reading e-books, or whatever. With local storage and processing power, the scope of the disruption and data loss is vastly least until the next time your job is offshored.

    May seem trivial to folks who buy iPads, Android devices, and Windows Mobile devices like candy, but it is something that those who must survive in the real America where the only thing that happens faster than offshoring is being made "redundant" instead of within the safely insular confines of executive suites and Wall Street will be forced to bear in mind - whether in advance, or when they are shocked by discovering that it is too late.
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      @ibsteve2u - then the cloud will have to win the price war in order to succeed for that population. If the cloud makes devices and software cheaper for Joe, then it will probably expand access. Of course, if the utilities (incl. ISP) go down, or if Joe can't pay his utility bill, then that's a problem to be sure. I would also like to see reputable third-party cloud data backup services -- to get some peace of mind in case Google or Microsoft or Amazon or Apple or ... encounter a huge failure.
    • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

      @ibsteve2u The cloud is not an alternitive to the PC as we know it, rather an extension of services and capabilities. Unfortunately many people dont understand what the "cloud" is trying to be used for. All to often people listen to Google view of the cloud, and lets face it, they want us all to be on their servers doing everything with a dumb terminal running a chrome browser and thats it (not the real world).

      Microsoft vision of the cloud is the right one, an extension of services available to us PC users and the ability to actually connect our devices, content and state across all of them, PC, Phone, Laptop, Tablet, XBOX the lot...
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    We know Microsoft, Google, facebook, et al, have no scruples when it comes to collecting private data. Common knowledge. Duh. Big Brother advances. So put everything in the cloud. Forest Gumps words of wisdom, "Stupid is as stupid does."
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    i will not use the cloud it is unsafe and they all know it and if any one put my info in the cloud i will sue they big time
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    microsoft can stick the cloud up thier butts
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    Good to see a balanced debate here <img border="0" src="" alt="sad"> If you read the article, a big part of what MS is doing is ensuring that the private cloud side of things is well positioned and as capable (in terms of the manageability, fast provisioning, flexibility, etc.) as the "public" cloud, which is something very different from the google/amazon approach which is everything in the cloud...... <br><br>Personally, I would trust MS with my data far more than google - just base this on the evidence of what google has managed to do with everyone's personal data and their general approach to that of Microsoft, who have had so much bad press in the past that they actually think about how to protect your data. And given some of the comments, obviously any form of outsourcing of the running of systems is not sensible in case they do something with your data.... As for the "disaster strikes" thinking, I assume that your company therefore not only has generators in the data centre for power outages, but also a completely power and other failure resilient physical network between the data centre and all your other locations?<br><br>Yes, cloud is not the answer to everything, but where you have a commodity service (email anyone?) or where you need to be able to scale up to stupid sizes for maybe a week or two a year (and I know of plenty of systems that have this need) then why would you spend the extra money on managing these services and potentially keeping loads of machines sitting idle for 52 weeks a year.<br><br>By developing a full featured hybrid model, where you can e.g. run Exchange internally for the board and in the cloud for the normal workforce - or an app can use the cloud to scale up on demand, provides a model that really can take businesses forward and balance the many conflicting needs that they have. This is the direction Microsoft are heading, and personally I think that this is by far the most mature view of what is really needed for cloud to deliver the benefits it claims.
  • RE: Microsoft ready to unveil new public-private cloud-migration tools, strategy

    The Microsoft Management Summit is April 16th thru 20th (not "March"). I just got the invitation in my inbox today.
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