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

The new Linux and Windows Server virtual machines on Windows Azure are attracting more customers to Microsoft's public cloud.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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 Azure.com 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.)

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