Microsoft: We're adding 7,000 Azure IaaS users per week

Microsoft: We're adding 7,000 Azure IaaS users per week

Summary: The new Linux and Windows Server virtual machines on Windows Azure are attracting more customers to Microsoft's public cloud.

TOPICS: Cloud, Microsoft, Windows

Microsoft's Windows Azure team has typically held its momentum and sales numbers fairly close to the vest. But this week at the TechEd conference, execs did share a couple of interesting data points.

First things, first. There's a new Windows Azure General Manager (GM) at Microsoft as of a couple of weeks ago. Steven Martin is the new GM on the business, all up, Microsoft officials told me this week. (Martin previously was GM of Azure Business Operations. He is now also GM of Product Management.)


Bill Hilf, the former GM for Azure Product Management -- who also served previously as the GM of Technical Computing, Windows Server and Open Source and Platform Strategy --  left Microsoft rather abruptly to join HP's Cloud Product Management Group, I've heard from several of my sources. Microsoft isn't commenting about where Hilf went or reasons for his departure, but are confirming he left the company at the end of May 2013.

I met with Martin at TechEd this week in New Orleans about Azure's growth trajectory. He said Microsoft is adding about 1,000 new Azure customers a day.

Microsoft officials said back in April 2013 that it has 200,000 customers for Windows Azure. Company officials have declined to say how many of these customers are part of Microsoft's own various divisions and/or how many of these customers are paying customers.

Here's where things get more interesting: Martin said that before Microsoft added a infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) components to Azure, it was adding about 3,000 customers a week. But since mid-April, when it made generally available persistent virtual machines for hosting Linux and Windows Server on Azure, Microsoft is adding 7,000 per week. Since April 2013, Microsoft has added a total of 30,000 Azure IaaS users (again, with no word on how many of these are Microsoft users and how many are paying customers), officials said.


When Microsoft first rolled out Windows Azure, it was almost entirely a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) play. To better compete with Amazon, Microsoft then decided to add IaaS elements to Azure, hoping to use IaaS as an onramp to PaaS.

Martin also said Microsoft plans to add 25 new datacenters in calendar year 2013. Some of these will be additional datacenters in existing locations; others will be brand-new locations, Martin said. Microsoft recently announced expansion plans for Azure coverage in China, Japan and Australia.

Another new development on the Windows Azure front which didn't get a lot of play this week -- but which current and potential customers may find useful -- is the addition to the Web site of real pricing and licensing information about all the different Azure services. This isn't just a pricing calculator. It's the actual prices for individual components, all in one place.


Microsoft also announced this week a preview of an Azure-hosted version of its BizTalk enterprise-integration product. BizTalk Services 

BizTalk is Microsoft's enterprise integration server. The latest version, BizTalk Server 2013, was made generally available in March 2013. BizTalk Services is its cloud counterpart. Users can use the on-premises and cloud versions of BizTalk in tandem for hybrid scenarios.

 "B2B has been moving to the cloud for a while," said Martin. "But EAI (enterprise application integration) is getting bigger as we feed apps like CRM on the front end."

 There's no word from Microsoft as to when users should expect BizTalk Services to be generally available.

(First two images courtesy of Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich from his Azure internals talk at Microsoft TechEd this week.)

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, 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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  • Microsoft and PT Barnum

    There's a sucker born every day!
    • I guess you're playing the PT Barnum part

      because you've shown us at every chance that only a sucker would believe anything that comes out of your mouth.

      Too bad for you.
      William Farrel
  • Steve's a great guy ...

    ... with a smart head on his shoulders. I look forward to seeing him drive Azure to the success it now truly deserves.
    • nobody believes M$ fudged numbers

      we all know beeter that people demand LAMP only.
      LlNUX Geek
      • If it's a lie

        then do point out exactly what the real numbers are.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • You know more about fudge then anyone here

        since "fudge" is the only things that comes out of your mouth. :)
        William Farrel
        • just relax

          guys relax, lets just sit back and see what happens
      • All four...

        ...of those make me want to drive into a brick wall. Especially Apache.
  • Wow, a comic, an actor, a playwrite, a banjo-player and now an Azure GM

    That Steve Martin sure is a versatile guy
  • Darth Vader, in a server room, you've got to be kidding.

    "(First two images courtesy of Microsoft..."

    Seriously? Microsoft provided a photo of Darth Vader, in a server room?

    As a long time user of Microsoft products, and a share holder, I'm offended (and, at the same time, somewhat amused).
    • ...

      "A long time ago in a datacenter far, far away...." :)
    • I guess you can say

      that "The Empire Strikes Back" with Azure. ;)
      William Farrel
    • Darth in the server room

      As Russinovich explained in his talk, just a tongue in cheek photo. MS uses a circular datacenter shot on the page. But no such MS datacenter exists. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • Microsoft: We're adding 7,000 Azure IaaS users per week

    I bet this is surprising to Microsoft as well. Microsoft Azure has been a bigger hit than anyone could have imagined.
    • I don't know - Microsoft never thinks small

      When they set out to do things, they usually plan on wide/successful adoption. About the only time (that I remember) that they got caught without the capacity they needed was when SharePoint was initially widely successful - they didn't have enough support resources available.
  • Incorrect acronyms

    IaaS=Infrastructure as a Service
    EAI=Enterprise Application Integration
    • acronym madness

      Ugh. I knew these. Long week. Fixing now. Thanks! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • Azure supports Linux

    Must be some demand for it, then. But that's not what we're being told by some low-credibility MS fanbois in this forum.
    • I don't see a single instance....

      Of anyone saying that none of the virtual servers running in Microsoft's cloud are Linux servers. Microsoft would be fools to give up that large a revenue stream. Especially when it's competitors support it.
    • Whats the down side to supporting it?

      Even if it was at something like 5%, that's still 5% more customers paying you to use your product.

      Since their competitors like Amazon support it, why send people their way?
      William Farrel