Microsoft and Service Providers Deliver on the Cloud OS Vision Together

Last summer Microsoft introduced our Cloud OS vision. Simply, our strategy is to provide the most comprehensive approach to cloud computing such that our customers can decide the rate and pace at which they can move to the cloud. The intent is to provide a common set of technologies that they can invest in today for long term value, regardless of how fast they decide to move to this new paradigm called cloud computing.

The Cloud OS is a consistent platform for infrastructure, apps and data., and that can reside in any datacenter, a customer's datacenter building a private cloud, your (hosting service providers’) datacenters offering public or private cloud services, whether those be dedicated or shared, or in a Microsoft datacenter.

Michael Park, corporate vice president of Server and Tools Marketing, announced that Microsoft continues to deliver on this vision with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which allows customers to manage at scale the breadth of technology enhancements brought to market with Windows Server 2012.

With our engineering focus on enabling highly scalable and efficient datacenters, a primary beneficiary of this entire release wave of products is the hosting service provider. Of all our partners, you should see the largest amount of platform improvements and I want to take this opportunity to reflect on three key innovations that you should find most compelling.

Management of Windows Server 2012 – There was such an enormous amount of innovation delivered in Windows Server 2012 that most hosting service providers will simply be very excited to see a release of System Center that can now allow them to capitalize on these new technologies. We categorize these enhancements into two broad categories:

  • Pervasive virtualization, which can drive down cost
  • New features which can be monetized and drive up revenue 

On the virtualization side, we spent the last several years building extensive new capabilities to virtualize the traditional compute layer, as well as networking and storage. For hosting service providers, this means a few things:

  • Virtual machines that can scale to 64 virtual processors and a terabyte of memory
  • Multi-tenancy and isolation while removing cost associated with VLAN management
  • Enterprise-class storage performance from low cost, industry-standard hardware

There are also several new features that can be used to create new services or could be incorporated into current services to optimize performance. This includes technologies such as Hyper-V Replica, which allows for asynchronous replication of VMs for the purposes of business continuity. It also includes features such as Resource Throttling and Resource Metering to constrain resource utilization by a single tenant as well as tracking overall usage. If you haven’t yet fully reviewed all the innovations in Windows Server 2012 and how System Center 2012 lights them up, I’d highly encourage you to download the evaluation versions of the products today.

Introduction of Service Provider Foundation – The System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 also introduces a new API layer for System Center which is called the Service Provider Foundation. This is one of those great examples where feedback from hosting service providers directly influenced product development. This resulted in an OData API over a REST web interface that allows the service provider to design and implement multi-tenant, self-service portals that integrate IaaS capabilities through System Center. This set of technologies is available as part of the download of the Orchestrator component of System Center 2012 with SP1.

Bringing Services from Windows Azure to Windows Server – One of the promises of the Cloud OS vision is that customers can decide where to deploy their datacenter assets – in their datacenter, in a service provider’s datacenter, or in Windows Azure. Customers should have consistent experiences across these environments in whatever combination is most optimal for them. We’re able to do this by adhering to consistent technologies (such as virtualization, identity, and development platforms) across environments. As a part of this promise, as we develop new and innovative customer experiences in Windows Azure, we are rapidly working to enable those same experiences in Windows Server-based environments so that our hosting service provider partners can provide similar experiences to their customers. This is just what we’ve done with the Virtual Machines and Web Sites services available on Windows Azure. These two Windows Azure services were unveiled last summer, along with the modern new portal experience, and we are now enabling hosting service providers to deploy these experiences to their customers. We’ve had great interest from our hosting service provider partner community, working with many of them to ensure a successful release of these technologies. A great example is Applied Innovations. If you’re not yet up to speed on this great new set of software, I’d encourage you to take a look at it today.


Marco Limena

Vice President Hosting Service Providers

Worldwide SMS&P