New Microsoft Hyper-V cloud offerings

I recently received a note from Microsoft's PR agency that offered a short teaser concerning Microsoft's new private cloud offerings.Here's what Microsoft had to say about the new private cloud offeringsKeeping you in the loop on the latest virtualization/cloud news from Microsoft, TechEd Europe 2010 kicks off today in Berlin, Germany with a keynote by Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, CVP, Management & Security Division.

I recently received a note from Microsoft's PR agency that offered a short teaser concerning Microsoft's new private cloud offerings.

Here's what Microsoft had to say about the new private cloud offerings

Keeping you in the loop on the latest virtualization/cloud news from Microsoft, TechEd Europe 2010 kicks off today in Berlin, Germany with a keynote by Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, CVP, Management & Security Division. You can watch today’s keynote live, beginning at 7:00 a.m. (PST), on Microsoft’s TechEd Europe site.

Building on the company’s recent enhancements to its platform-as-a-service offering, the Windows Azure platform (announced at PDC10), Microsoft talked in more detail today about how its comprehensive cloud strategy – spanning the public and private cloud - can help organizations meet their unique business needs.

In particular, Microsoft talked about how it is helping customers and partners use the Windows Server platform to deploy their own cloud infrastructure. As part of this, the company today announced Hyper-V Cloud, a set of programs and initiatives that accelerate the deployment of private clouds. There are multiple elements to Hyper-V Cloud, including:

  • Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track: Microsoft is collaborating with Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM and NEC to deliver a broad choice of pre-defined, validated configurations for private cloud deployments.
  • Hyper-V Cloud Service Provider Program: A group of more than 70 service providers around the world offering infrastructure as a finished, fully-hosted service built on Microsoft’s technology that customers can use to implement a private cloud.
  • Hyper-V Cloud Deployment Guides: Allows customers to build their own private clouds on top of existing infrastructure investments through new tools and guidance.
  • Hyper-V Cloud Accelerate: To tie it all together, Microsoft is making significant investments to help customers and partners fund assessments, proofs-of-concept, and production deployments.

Hyper-V Cloud is one more example of how Microsoft has embraced virtualization as not an endpoint, but a stepping stone to the world of cloud computing. While other competitors have only partially executed on their cloud strategies, Microsoft is delivering on its comprehensive cloud offerings today, providing customers and partners with the opportunity to move toward the cloud on their own terms.

Snapshot analysis

Quite a number of suppliers of system software, application frameworks, database software and applications are rushing to grab the high ground and direct the industry in its move towards using cloud-like approaches and architectures to create an in-house self-provisioning, self-managing, pay-as-you go environment. Like the others I've seen, Microsoft appears to be working with a "Microsoft-only" view of clouds when, in reality, most datacenters today could be viewed as a multi-vendor, multi-platform, multi-decade computer of IT's finest thoughts about application design and platforms.

My questions revolve around such ideas as:

  • Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track: This is nice, but will it include assistance to help users of mainframe or midrange systems that do not run Windows and yet are essential to corporations? I would suspect that the goal there is to get companies to migrate to something new.
  • Hyper-V Cloud Service Provider Program: Will this also support UNIX and Linux-based applications?
  • Hyper-V Cloud Deployment Guides: Let me guess, these guides will only show how to use Windows in a cloud-like environment even though cloud is a much broader environment.
  • Hyper-V Cloud Accelerate: Once again this is a nice concept, but is it also designed as a way to get people to abandon investments in other operating systems, development tools, database software and the like?

We'll only know the anwers to these and other questions when Microsoft and its partners roll out their services in the wild.  If history is a guide, these services will be very interesting to Microsoft-only customers, but of less interest to others.

As an hypothetical question, what will customers do when faced with a complex set of competing cloud on-ramp services from many vendors?  They're doing their best to manage complexity and what is likely to be seen in the near future is simply more complexity at a new level.