Microsoft has announced its Cloud OS Network, which it says will make it easier for businesses to focus on their work, rather than datacentre management, while providing the network partners with increased business opportunities.
The network itself consists of over 25 cloud service providers, each offering services with Microsoft's cloud platform as their foundation. These services are primarily hybrid cloud offerings, which Microsoft believes provide greater flexibility and choice.
The approach to a unified platform will help businesses with building or using hybrid cloud-based products or services, according to Microsoft. Customers would be able to deploy in their own datacentre, in Windows Azure, or through one of the partner service providers.
The benefits for partners in the network include going to market with new services faster, attracting new customers and increasing revenue, Microsoft said.
The network spans over 425 datacentres in 90 countries, and the resulting 2.4 million servers provide services to over 3 million customers.
Although claiming to have over 25 partners, Microsoft has listed the following 23 companies so far:
Capita IT Services
Triple C Cloud Computing
With Windows Server with Hyper-V in competition with VMware, Microsoft's strategy to steal more market share from VMware has included publicly criticising its competitor. Microsoft says that VMware "lacks a clear vision and road map", and has accused it of having no direct experience running large public cloud services. VMware is currently building out its similar vCloud Hybrid Service in the United States, with Australia due to have local partners and datacentres onboard by the middle of 2014.
Microsoft totes its own experience in running services such as Xbox Live, Bing, and Office 365 as its advantage over VMware in these areas.