For years, Amazon officials referred to private cloud as the "false cloud," claiming that any and every workload should be in the public cloud. For just as long, Microsoft officials have made the case that users should be able to decide which of their workloads belonged on premises, in the public cloud and/or in some type of hybrid configuration.
More than a few Microsoft watchers have insisted that Microsoft's hybrid-cloud messaging has been one of convenience. Because Microsoft still makes and sells lots of on-premises enterprise software -- SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, Windows Server, SQL Server, etc. -- of course Redmond can't advocate that its customers go all cloud, the pundits pundify.
However, many Microsoft customers don't see things that way. Like a number of Amazon's business customers, they don't feel every workload could and should be moved to the cloud and want ways to run some applications entirely or at least partially on-premises.
The on-premises complement to each cloud service will not offer as robust or up-to-date sets of features, but the company's goal is to keep the pairs aligned to the extent possible. Microsoft is planning to continue to develop and release more versions of on-premises SharePoint Server, Windows Server, and other variants of its on-premises enterprise software, officials have said. (Exactly how many more and for how much longer, I don't know.)
All this hybrid talk aside, make no mistake that Microsoft is continuing to try to get more users on Azure.
Just yesterday, Microsoft announced Azure Active Directory Domain Services hit general availability. The idea of Azure AD Domain Services -- which provides managed domain services like domain join, group policy, LDAP and Kerberos/NTLM authentication that are fully compatible with Windows Server Active Directory -- is to help customers "lift-and-shift" their on-premises apps to Azure.