Microsoft combines Windows Server and Azure to form new Server & Cloud unit

It's not a surprising move, but as of December 8, it is an official one: Microsoft has moved its Windows Azure business by moving it into the company's Server and Tools Business (STB) Unit. The move sets the stage for Microsoft to strengthen its story that it will offer customers a range of solutions, ranging from private cloud to public cloud ones.

It's not a surprising move, but as of December 8, it is an official one: Microsoft has moved its Windows Azure business by moving it into the company's Server and Tools Business (STB) Unit.

The move sets the stage for Microsoft to strengthen its story that it will offer customers a range of solutions, ranging from private cloud to public cloud ones. The actual private-cloud offerings from Microsoft are still not publicly available, but sound like they're coming together slowly, based on some early info company officials shared in November at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

Prior to today, the Azure team reported directly to Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

Now, while Microsoft President Bob Muglia will continue to run STB, Microsoft's Windows Azure chief Amitabh Srivastava will be reporting directly to Muglia. Srivastava will be running a new unit that combines Windows Server and Windows Azure (codenamed RedDog) into the newly minted Server & Cloud Division. Windows Server Corporate Vice President Bill Laing will be reporting to Srivastava and will work on the newly combined unit. SQL Azure -- the other main component of Microsoft's cloud offering -- already is under STB, according to Microsoft officials.

On the marketing side, Windows Azure Business and Marketing will continue to be led by Doug Hauger. Hauger will join the STB Marketing Group, headed by Corporate Vice President Robert Wahbe, reporting in to Corporate Vice President Bob Kelly, who also oversees System Center and Forefront, in addition to Windows Server and Windows Azure.

On the Microsoft Windows Azure blog, company officials explained the changes in a blog post today. From that post:

"This move better aligns our resources with our strategy – creating a single organization focused on delivering solutions for customers that span on-premises data centers and the cloud."

Update: Here is a bit more background info from a spokesperson who answered a few questions I posed earlier today:

After today's reorg, STB is now composed of the following groups:

1. Business Online Services Division (led by David Thompson) (*NOTE: development only) 2. Business Platform Division (led by Ted Kummert) 3. Developer Division (led by S. Somagasar) 4. Identity and Security Division (led by Lee Nackman) 5. Management and Services Division (led by Brad Anderson) 6. Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE, led by Walid Abu-Hadba) 7. Server and Tools Marketing Group (STMG, led by Robert Wahbe) 8. Server and Cloud Division (led by Amitabh Srivastava)

I also asked whether today's reorg would result in any changes to the Windows Server or Azure products/services. Here's the response from the aforementioned spokesperson:

"No immediate changes. Microsoft’s strategy and roadmap for Windows Server reflects its broader strategy of bringing its learning from the cloud into its on-premises solutions. The creation of the Server & Cloud Division and integration of its on-premises and cloud teams further supports this strategy and roadmap. While there won’t be changes to Microsoft’s roadmap as it prepares for GA of Windows Azure in February, Microsoft will develop a longer-term strategy for the combined Server & Cloud Division, which it believes will only strengthen its strategy and roadmap for Windows Azure. "

If you (like me) are wondering what happens to Dave Cutler, the father of NT and one of the key contributors to Windows Azure, in the reshuffling, I was told Cutler "still will be contributing (to Azure) and working closely with (Srivastava)," but will continue reporting directly to Ozzie.